The '60s at 50


Wednesday-Thursday, March 24-25, 1965: Teach-in, University of Michigan

The first teach-in was almost an afterthought. The original plan, formulated by thirteen Michigan professors opposed to United States policy in Vietnam, was to cancel classes on March 24 as a protest measure. Their idea was roundly denounced by the University administration, Governor George Romney, and the state senate, which expressed its displeasure in a resolution. As the date of the scheduled "work moratorium" approached, moderates on the faculty proposed a compromise and the teach-in was born. Some 200 members of the Michigan faculty supported it, and 2,000 students attended night-long rallies in four campus auditoriums. Encouraged by the response, Michigan professors called colleagues at other institutions, and the movement was under way.

     -- From "Revolt of the Professors" (Erwin Knoll, The Saturday Review, June 19, 1965): @
     -- Photo from "Teach Your Children Well: 50th Anniversary of U-M Teach-In" (Alumni Association of the University of Michigan): @

* Summary ("Encyclopedia of the Sixties," 2012): @
* Summary ("The Spirit of the Sixties: The Making of Postwar Radicalism," James J. Farrell, 1997): @
* Summary (Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan): @
* Summary (The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto): @
* "Origins of the Teach-In" (College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, University of Michigan): @
* "40 Years Ago, the First Teach-In" (Rabbi Arthur Waskow, The Shalom Center, March 2005): @
* "Reflections on Protest" (Kenneth E. Boulding, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, October 1965): @
* "Students in a Ferment Chew Out the Nation" (Life magazine, April 30, 1965): @ 


1965: The miniskirt

Sensitive to the youthful revolt against established values, two designers in particular produced clothes which epitomized the 1960s look for women: Courreges in France and Mary Quant in Britain. Both expressed the spirit of the age and its desire for physical and social freedom in deceptively simple, pared-down garments with abbreviated skirts (christened by the British press "the mini") and, in Courreges' case, pants suits. Both created a complete look, with tights (essential with the mini), shoes, boots, hairstyles and even sunglasses and make-up. Quant appealed directly to the very young; Courreges, possibly because he was in essence a couture designer (having worked with Balenciega for eleven years before opening his own house in 1961), to a slightly more mature woman.
     -- From "Fashion in Costume, 1200-2000" (Joan Nunn, 2000): @
     -- Image from an advertisement for an Indiana department store in August 1965, showing just how quickly the look took hold throughout the United States

* Mary Quant page (Victoria and Albert Museum): @
* "Why Mary Quant's Swinging Sixties London Look Still Holds Sway" (Vogue, 2015): @
* Andre Courreges article (Victoria and Albert Museum): @
* "Andre Courreges: The Couture's Space Captain" (House of Retro): @
* Jacques Tiffeau article (Fashion Designer Encyclopedia): @
* "Skirts for Fall To Be Shorter" (United Press International, July 1964): @
* "Up, Up, Up Go the Skirts: The new look is the knee look -- but there's controversy" (Life magazine, December 18, 1964): @
* "The Lord of the Space Ladies: Andres Courreges is the new powerhouse of Paris Fashion" (Life magazine, May 21, 1965): @
* "Negro Women have the prettiest knees" (Jet magazine, July 8, 1965): @
* "The man who launched the miniskirt remains aloof" (Sydney Morning Herald, August 1969): @
* "On June 4, 1965, Puritan Fashion Co. launched Youthquake" (On This Day in Fashion): @
* "On September 1, 1965, Mary Quant introduced the miniskirt" (On This Day in Fashion): @
* Excerpt from "Fifty Years of Fashion: New Look to Now" (Valerie Steele, 1997): @
* Excerpt from "Tim Gunn's Fashion Bible" (2012): @ 


Thursday, March 18, 1965: First spacewalk

A Soviet cosmonaut squeezed out of history's highest orbiting manned satellite today and took man's first slowly somersaulting, free-floating swim in outer space. Then he returned to the cabin of his two-man spacecraft, the Voskhod 2, as the Soviet Union took another giant stride in the race for the moon. ... It was the second Soviet team flight in one space capsule, following a three-man, 16-orbit trip last October. It came only five days before America's first planned attempt to orbit a spacecraft with more than one man aboard. ... Alexei Leonov, 30, a chunky lieutenant colonel and a gifted artist, became the first man in history to step into outer space. 
     -- Associated Press: @
     -- Photo from

* "Learning to Spacewalk" (Leonov, for Air & Space magazine, January 2005): @
* " 'Our Walk in Space': The Russian Cosmonauts' Story of their bold first step" (Life magazine, May 14): @
* "Alexei Leonov: The artistic spaceman" (European Space Agency): @
* Short biography (International Space Hall of Fame): @
* Russian news report: @
* Black-and-white footage (French audio): @
* Black-and-white footage (no sound; from @
* Color footage: @
* Universal Newsreel (from @ 


Monday, March 15, 1965: LBJ and MLK speeches

WASHINGTON -- President Johnson, invoking the Negro civil rights hymn "We Shall Overcome," urged Congress Monday night to pass a voting rights bill and go on to end racial bigotry and injustice. Johnson warned that by trying to "hold on to the past" America would risk losing the future. An unusual rising ovation that greeted his emotional call for "no compromise" was one of many indications that Johnson's speech was a landmark in the civil rights movement.
     -- The Milwaukee Journal: @
     -- Photo by Cecil Stoughton

* Video and transcript (from LBJ Library): @

At Brown Chapel AME in Selma, Alabama, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks at an interfaith service for the Rev. James Reeb, who died March 11 from a beating two days earlier.
     -- Photo by Flip Schulke

* Audio (from @
* Transcript ( @ 


March 1965: Vietnam

Tuesday, March 2: Rolling Thunder
     Operation Rolling Thunder was a 44-month-long aerial bombardment campaign carried out against North Vietnam by the U.S. Air Force and Navy and the South Vietnamese air force. The operation was initiated by President Johnson on 2 March 1965 as a continuation of Operation Flaming Dart. The principal aims, the relative significance of which shifted over time, were to improve the morale of the South Vietnamese, persuade North Vietnam to end its aid to the Viet Cong, destroy North Vietnam's industry and transportation, and cut off the flow of men and supplies from North to South.
     -- From "Historical Dictionary of U.S. Diplomacy during the Cold War" (Martin Folly, 2014): @

* The Air War in North Vietnam: Rolling Thunder Begins, February-June 1965" (The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, 1971): @
* "The Air War Against North Vietnam" (U.S. Air Force, 1984): @
* "Rolling Thunder 1965: Anatomy of a Failure" (Col Dennis M. Drew, Air University, 1986): @
* "An Uncommon War: The U.S. Air Force in Southeast Asia" (Bernard C. Nalty, Air Force Historical Studies Office, 2015): @

Monday, March 8: Combat troops
     DA NANG, South Viet Nam, Monday -- Two combat-trained battalions of U.S. Marines began moving ashore today to defend vital U.S. jet air bases at this strategic seaport 80 miles from Communist North Viet Nam. The force of 3,500 Marines began debarking from ships lying off the coast under strict security measures to discourage any Viet Cong interference. They came ashore through pounding surf 10 miles north of Da Nang. ... The landing operation began at 9 a.m. (8 p.m. EST) after a delay of about an hour because of rough seas offshore. The air was hot and humid. ... The Marines are the first American ground troops to be ordered into potential direct combat positions against Viet Cong guerrillas and troops infiltrating from North Viet Nam.
     -- From United Press International: @
     -- Photo from "U.S. Marines in Vietnam: The Landing and the Buildup" (History and Museums Division, U.S. Marine Corps, 1978): @

* "Marines Land in Vietnam" (The Age; Melbourne, Australia): @
* "American Troops Enter the Ground War, March-July 1965" (The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, 1971): @
* "The Third Division in Vietnam" (Third Marine Division Association): @
* "50 Years Ago: Boots on the Ground in Vietnam" (The Saturday Evening Post, 2015): @


1965: Selma, Alabama

Chronology from "Centers of the Southern Struggle" (University Publications of America, 1988): @

Portraits of Selma and Montgomery

Links to the work of some of the photographers who chronicled the events of March 1965 in Alabama.

Note: The photo above comes from the website of the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute in Selma. I'm trying to find out who took it. Any information would be appreciated.

* Bob Adelman: @
* Archie E. Allen: @
* James Barker: @
* Morton Broffman: @
* Dan Budnik: @ 
* Frank Dandridge (search Getty Images for his name): @
* Bruce Davidson: @ 
* Bob Fletcher: @
* Matt Herron: @ and @ and @ ( 
* Dennis Hopper: @
* James Karales: @
* John Kouns: @ and @ (Syndic Literary Journal) and @ (Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement)
* Spider Martin: @
* Ivan Massar: @
* Charles Moore: @ (Kodak) and @ (The Red List)
* John F. Phillips: @
* Steve Schapiro: @ (The New Yorker) and @ (Monroe Gallery) and @ (Schapiro's website)
* Flip Schulke: @
* Charles Shaw: @
* Robert Abbott Sengstacke: @
* Stephen Somerstein: @
* Allen Zak: @
* Alabama Department of Archives and History: @
* @
* Houston Chronicle (slideshow): @
* Getty Images (search for "Selma to Montgomery March" or similar terms): @
* Library of Congress: @ 


March 1965: 'The Negro Family: The Case for National Action'

Few pieces of social science research have stirred as much controversy or had as great an impact as 1965's "The Negro Family: The Case for National Action." The U.S. Department of Labor report, more commonly referred to as the Moynihan report after its author, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, focused on the deep roots of black poverty in the United States. Moynihan argued that the decline of the black nuclear family would significantly impede blacks' progress toward economic and social equality. Over the ensuing decades, the report has been hailed by some as prophetic and derided by others as a classic example of blaming the victim.
     -- "The Moynihan Report Revisited" (Urban Institute, June 2013): @

* Full text of report (U.S. Department of Labor): @
* PDF (Stanford University): @
* "Moynihan Report: The Negro Family Revisited" (project website): @
* "Moynihan of the Moynihan Report" (Thomas Meehan, New York Times, July 1966): @
* "A Troubled National Turns to Pat Moynihan: Idea Broker in the Race Crisis" (Life magazine, November 3, 1967, page 72): @
* "Freedom Is Not Enough: The Moynihan Report and America's Struggle over Black Family Life, from LBJ to Obama" (James T. Patterson, 2010): @
* "What the Left and Right Both Get Wrong About the Moynihan Report" (Peter-Christian Angier, The Atlantic magazine, 2014): @ 
* "Revisiting the Moynihan Report On Its 50th Anniversary" (EducationNext; 2015): @


Saturday, February 27, 1965: Vietnam 'white paper'

The United States published a new "white paper" on Viet Nam today that charged North Viet Nam with waging an aggressive war against South Viet Nam as if it were an open invasion. ... An evident purpose of the report, too, is to lend support to the Johnson administration's policy of striking against targets in North Viet Nam. These bombings, undertaken three weeks ago, are expected to continue. ... The white paper was designed to show with precise figures the extent to which Viet Cong guerrillas in the south are supported and controlled by North Viet Nam. Thereby it sought to refute any suggestion that it is simply a civil war being fought in South Viet Nam.
     -- Associated Press (link to story: @)

* "Aggression From the North: The Record of North Viet-Nam's Campaign to Conquer South-Vietnam" (complete report; from The Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech University): @ 


Thursday, February 18, 1965: 'Grave but by no means hopeless'

Presenting the military budget to Congress, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara states: "The present situation in South Viet Nam is grave but by no means hopeless." His words echo exactly those of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles in describing the situation in Indochina in 1954.

Dulles, June 4, 1954 (Associated Press story: @) 

* "The Threat of Direct Communist Chinese Intervention in Indochina" (Dulles, June 1954; from The Avalon Project, Yale Law School): @ 
* "The French Indochina War 1946-54" (Martin Windrow, 1998): @ 

McNamara, February 18, 1965 (Associated Press story: @)

* Full text of statement (from Department of Defense): @
* "Extracts of Statements by Robert S. McNamara on the Outlook in South Vietnam" (from The Harold Weisberg Archive): @
* "Leaders' Statements on Southeast Asia Examined" (Associated Press, February 21): @
* Excerpt from "Johnson's War/Johnson's Great Society: The Guns and Butter Trap" (Jeffrey W. Helsing, 2000): @ 


Saturday, February 13, 1965: Tiros-9

The Tiros-9 satellite (also known as Tiros IX) produces the first photomosaic of the world's cloud cover.

Caption: This global photomosaic was assembled from 450 individual pictures taken by Tiros IX during the 24 hours of February 13, 1965. The horizontal white line marks the equator. Special photographic processing was used to increase the contrast between major land areas, outlined in white, and the surrounding oceans. The brightest features on the photographs are clouds; ice in the Antarctic, and snow in the north are also very bright. The clouds are associated with many different types of weather patterns. The scalloping at the bottom shows how the Earth's horizon appears in individual pictures.

(Photo from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; link to larger image: @)

* "U.S. Has Big Wheel Satellite In Orbit" (Associated Press, January 22): @
* NASA summary of Tiros-9: @
* NASA summaries of all Tiros missions: @
* Tiros-9 summary (Florida State University): @
* "Catalogue of Meteorological Satellite Data -- Tiros IX" (Environmental Science Services Administration): @ and @
* "Observation of the Earth and Its Environment: Survey of Missions and Sensors" (Herbert J. Kramer, 2002): @
* "Earth Observations from Space" (National Academy of Sciences): @


Saturday, January 30, 1965: Billboard R&B charts

Billboard magazine resumes its listing of the nation's top rhythm-and-blues songs and also introduces a chart of the top R&B albums.

From the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: "The Billboard R&B chart was eliminated for 14 months between November 30, 1963 and January 23, 1965 owing to the regular crossover of titles between the R&B and pop singles charts. Billboard deemed the lists too similar to print both."

From the book "Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop" (Bob Stanley, 2013): "From November 30th 1963 to January 23 1965 there was no Billboard R&B singles chart. No reason was given, but the prevailing wisdom was that the chart methodology was in question, as Caucasian acts were scoring big hits. However, Cashbox, Billboard's main rival, continued to print R&B charts during 1964, and each of their number ones was by a black act.

From the book "Between Montmartre and the Mudd Club: Popular Music and the Avant-Garde" (Bernard Gendron, 2002): "Before the British Invasion, the pop and R&B charts had come to overlap so much that Billboard in December 1963 stopped publishing the R&B charts. White musicians were crossing over into the R&B charts apparently as frequently as black musicians into the pop charts. ... After the British Invasion -- the Beatles interestingly never crossed over -- the R&B charts were reconstituted by Billboard (January 1965), as black music went on separate trajectories from white rock music.

-- Image from January 30, 1965, issue of Billboard. Link (R&B charts on page 14): @ 


Wednesday, January 27, 1965: Vietnam memo

National security adviser McGeorge Bundy and defense secretary Robert McNamara send to President Johnson a memo titled "Basic Policy in Vietnam." They state:

What we want to say to you is that both of us are now pretty well convinced that our current policy can lead only to disastrous defeat. What we are doing now, essentially, is to wait and hope for a stable government. ... We see two alternatives. The first is to use our military power in the Far East and to force a change of Communist policy. The second is to deploy all our resources along a track of negotiation, aimed at salvaging what little can be preserved with no major addition to our military risks. Bob and I tend to favor the first course, but we believe that both should be carefully studied and that alternative programs should be argued out before you. ... the time has come for harder choices.

This came to be known as the "fork in the road" or "fork in the Y" memo, though neither phrase was used.

     -- Photo (cropped) from July 23, 1965; from left, Johnson, McNamara and Bundy. Original White House image: @

* Full text of memo (from "Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968): @
* Original document (from LBJ Library): @
* "Observations Re South Vietnam After Khanh's 'Re-Coup' " (January 27, by assistant secretary of defense J.T. McNaughton; from Pentagon Papers): @
* January 27 telegram from Johnson to Gen. Maxwell Taylor, U.S. ambassador to Vietnam (from FRUS): @
* "The War Council: McGeorge Bundy, the NSC, and Vietnam" (Andrew Preston, 2006): @
* "Argument Without End: In Search of Answers to the Vietnam Tragedy" (McNamara et al., 1999): @
* "American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson and the Origins of the Vietnam War" (David Kaiser, 2000): @
* "Choosing War: The Lost Chance for Peace and the Escalation of War in Vietnam" (Fredrik Logevall, 1999): @
* "The U.S. Government and the Vietnam War: Executive and Legislative Roles and Relationships, Part III" (William Conrad Gibbons, 1989): @
* "The Case for the Vietnam War" (W.W. Rostow, Times Literary Supplement, June 1995): @ 

Wednesday, January 27, 1965: Shelby GT350 Mustang

Car designer Carroll Shelby introduces his version of the Ford Mustang -- the high-performance GT350 -- at California's Riverside Raceway. Base prices: $4,547 (street) and $5,995 (racing).
     -- Photo from

* May 1965 review from Car and Driver: @
* "The Ford Mustang GT350: Carroll Shelby & the American Pony War" (from @
* "1965 Shelby GT350 Mustang: The Car That Defined Mustang Performance" (from @
* "Mustang: A Short Story of Two Special Shelby Mustangs" (from LeMay -- America's Car Museum): @
* Road test (from @
* "The difference between the Shelby G.T. 350 and the Mustang ... plenty!" (from Old Car Manuals Project): @
* @
* @ 
* Earlier post on Ford Mustang (April 17, 1964): @ 


January 1965: Planned Parenthood

An $8,500 federal grant for birth control -- including the distribution of oral contraceptive pills -- has been approved for the South Texas Planned Parenthood Clinic of Corpus Christi. It is believed the funds, given as a part of the Johnson administration's war on poverty, are the first authorized for such a clinic not under the direction of a state welfare agency. The $8,500 is part of a $295,200 package for the Corpus Christi area from the Office of Economic Opportunity. The bulk of the money will go for other health, education and welfare measures.
     -- "Federal Birth Control Plan Approved for Corpus Unit" (Associated Press, January 28, 1965)
     -- Image from Planned Parenthood brochure, 1965

* "Population Explosion Is Under Study" (AP, January 7): @
* "Texas Clinic Using Poverty War Aid For Birth Control" (AP, January 25): @
* "Texas City Gets Federal Funds" (Milwaukee Sentinel, January 28): @
* "Parenthood Center Needs Even Great" (Corpus Christi Times, February 19; subscription only): @
* "Let us act on the fact that less than 5 dollars invested in population control is worth a hundred dollars invested in economic growth." (speech by President Johnson, June 25; Miller Center): @
* "Birth Control Effective in Texas" (Milwaukee Sentinel, July 14): @
* "Mothers Ask For Help and Families Continue to Grow" (AP, September 28): @
* "Pills, Publicity Lift Birth Control Secrecy" (Gannett News Service, August 17, 1967): @
* "Birth Control Movement in Texas" (Texas State Historical Association): @
* "Family Planning and the Demographic Imperative" (from "The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History," 2008): @
* "Fifty Years of Family Planning: New Evidence on the Long-Run Effects of Increasing Access to Contraception" (Martha J. Bailey, Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, 2013): @
* Planned Parenthood Federation of America: @ 

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