Advertisement Upgrade to remove ads

Chapter 38: The Stormy Sixties

Robert F. Kennedy

younger brother of JFK who entered public life as U.S. Attorney General during the Kennedy Administration. Later elected senator from New York, he became an anti-war, pro-civil rights presidental canidate in 1968, launching a popular challange to incumbent President Johnson. Amid that campaign, he was assasinated in California on June 6, 1968

Malcom X

black militant, radical minister, and spokesman for the Nation of Islam until 1964. Having eschewed his family name "Little," he preached of doctrine of no compromise with white society. He was assasinated in New York City in 1965

Eugene McCarthy

Liberal anti-war senator from Minnesota who rallied a lrage youth movement behind his presidental campaign in 1968. Challenging sitting president Johnson in the New Hampshire primary, he captured 41% of the vote and helped ensure that Johnson would quit the race

Robert S. McNamara

Businessman turned secretary of defense from 1961-1968, he was the author of the "flexible response" doctrine, which created a variety of military options and avoided a stark choice between nuclear warfare and none at all. As defense secretary, he was the chief architect of the Vietnam War.

James Meredith

in 1962 became the first black American to attend the Univesity of Mississippi after beign blocked several times by segregationist politicians. An icon of the Civil Rights Movement, Meredith receded from public view following his brace steps toward educational integration

Ngo Dinh Diem

first president of South Vietnam, where he took power following the Geneva Accords in 1954. He was propped up by the United States unti lhe was overthrown and assassinated by a coup in 1963

Lee Harvey Oswald

Ex-Marine and communist and communist sympathizer who assassianted JFK in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. He was murdered two days later as he was being transferred from one jail to another

George C. Wallace

Southern populist and and segregationist, as governor of Alabama, he famously defended his state's policies of racial segregation. He ran for president several times as a Democrat, but achieved his greatest influence when he ran as a third-party canidate in 1968, winning five states

affirmative action

program designed to redress historic racial and gender imbalances in jobs and education, the term grew from an executive order issued by JFK in 1961 mandating that projects paid for with federal funds could not discriminate based on race in their hiring practices. In the 1960s, President Nixon's Philadelphia Plan changed the meaning of addirmative action to require attention to certain groups, rather protect indivudals against discrimination

Apollo (1961-1975)

program of manned space flights run by American's National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); the project's highest achievement was the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon of July 20, 1969

Bay of Pigs invasion (1961)

CIA plot in 1961 to overthrow Fidel Castro by training Cuban exiles to invade and supporting them with American air power; the mission failed and became a public relations disaster early in JFK's presidency

Berlin Wall

fortified and guarded barrier between East and West Berlin erected on orders from Soviet Permier Nikita Khrushchev in 1961 to stop the flow of people to the West; until its destruction in 1989, the wall was a vivid symbol of the divide between the communist and capitalist worlds

Black Panther party

organization of armed black militants formed in Oakland, California, in 1966 to protect black rights. They represented a growing dissatisfaction with the non-violent wing of the civil rights movement, and signaled a new direction to that movement after the legislative victories of 1964-1965

Black Power

doctrine of militancy and separatism that rose in prominence after 1965, its activists rejected Martin Luther King's pacifism and desire for integration. Rather, they promoted pride in African heritage and an often militant position in defense of their rights

Civil Rights Act of 1964

federal law that banned racial discrimination in public facilities and strengthened the federal government's power to fight segregation in schools. Title VII of the act prohibited employers from discriminating based on race in their hiring practices, and empowered the Equal Employment Oppurtunity Commission (EEOC) to regulate fair employment

Cuban missile crisis (1962)

standoff between JFK and Khrushchev in October 1962 over Soviet plans to install nuclear weapons in Cuba. Although the crisis was ultimately settled in American's favor and represented a foreign policy triumph for Kennedy, it brough the world's superowers perilously close to brink of nuclear confrontation

European Economic Community (EEC)

free trade zone in Western Europe created by Treaty of Rome in 1957, often referred to as the "Common Market," this collection of countries originally included France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxemourg. The body eventually expanded to become the European Uion, which by 2005 included 27 member states

Freedom Riders (1961)

organized mixed-race groups who rode interstate buses deep into the South to draw attention to and protest racial segregation, beginning in 1961. This effort by northern young people to challenge racism proved a political and public relations success for the Civil Rights Movement

Freedom Summer (1964)

a voter registration drive in Mississippi spearheaded by the collaboration of civil rights groups, the campaign drew the activism of thousands of black and white civil rights workers, many of whom were students from the north, and was marred by the abduction and murder of three such workers at the hands of white racists

Great Society (1964-1968)

President Lyndon Johnson's term for his domestic agenda that was billed as a successor to the New Deal, it aimed to extend the postwar prosperity to all people in American society by promoting civil rights and fighting poverty, including programs such as the War on Poverty (expanded the Social Security system by creating Medicare and Medicaid to provide health care for the aged and poor). Johnson also signed laws protecting consumers and empowering community organizations to combat poverty at grassroots level

March on Washington (1963)

massive civil rights demonstration in August 1963 in support of Kennedy-backed legislation to secure legal proections for American blacks. One of the most visually impressive manifestations of the Civil Rights Movement, it was the occasion of Martin Luther King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech

Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (1964)

political party organized by civil rights activists to challenge Mississippi's delegation to the Democratic National Convention, who opposed the civil rights planks in the party's platform. Claiming a mandate to represent the true voice of Mississippi, where almost no black citizens could vote, it demanded to be seated at the convention but were denied by party bosses. The effort was both a setback to civil rights activism in the south and a motivation to continue to struggle for black voting rights

New Frontier (1961-1963)

President Kennedy's nickname for his domestic policy agenda. Buoyed by youthful optimism, the program included proposals for the Peace Corps and efforts to improve education and health care

Peace Corps

a federal agency created by President Kennedy in 1961 to promote voluntary service by Americans in foreign countries, it provides labor power to help developing countries improve their infrastructire, health care, educational systems, and other aspects of their societies. Part of Kennedy's New Frontier vision, the organization represented an effort by postwar liberals to promote American values and influence through productive exchanges across the world

Six-Day War (1967)

military conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors, the war ended with an Israeli victory and territorial expansion into the Sinai Peninsula, the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, and the West Banks. This war was a humiliation for several Arab states, and the territorial disputes it created formed the basis for continued conflict in the region

Stonewall Rebellion (1969)

uprising in support of equal rights for gay people sparked by an assault by off-duty police officers at a gay bar in New York. The rebellion led to rise in activism and miltiancy within the gay community and furthered the sexual revolution of the late 1960s

Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)

a campus-based political organization founded in 1961 by Tom Hayden that became an iconic representation of the New Left. Originally geared toward the intellectual promise of "participatory democracy," SDS emerged at the forefront of the civil rights, antipoverty, and anitwar movements during the 1960s

Voter Education Project (1962-1968)

effort by SNCC and other groups to register the South's historically disenfranchised black population. The project typified a common strategy of the civil rights movement, which sought to counter racial discrimination by empowering people at grassroots levels to exercise their civic rights through voting

Voting Rights Act of 1965

legislation pushed through Congress by President Johnson that prohibited ballot-denying tactics, such as literacy tests and intimidation. It was a successor to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and sought to make racil disenfranchisement explicitly illegal

Please allow access to your computer’s microphone to use Voice Recording.

Having trouble? Click here for help.

We can’t access your microphone!

Click the icon above to update your browser permissions above and try again

Example:

Reload the page to try again!

Reload

Press Cmd-0 to reset your zoom

Press Ctrl-0 to reset your zoom

It looks like your browser might be zoomed in or out. Your browser needs to be zoomed to a normal size to record audio.

Please upgrade Flash or install Chrome
to use Voice Recording.

For more help, see our troubleshooting page.

Your microphone is muted

For help fixing this issue, see this FAQ.

Star this term

You can study starred terms together

NEW! Voice Recording

Create Set