Tuesday, January 31, 1961: The Friendship Nine

In Rock Hill, South Carolina, 10 black protesters -- 9 of them from Friendship Junior College -- stage a sit-in protest at the lunch counter of a downtown variety store. They are arrested and charged with trespassing and breach of peace. Under a new protest strategy called "jail, no bail," 9 of the 10 -- "The Friendship Nine" -- serve out a 30-day sentence at the York County Prison Camp.

* Summary (from Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement): @
* " 'Sing-In Negroes Eat Hearty; Say 'Jail-No Bail' " (Associated Press, February 20, 1961): @
* "54 Years Later, South Carolina Court Clears 'Friendship Nine' " (New York Times, January 28, 2015): @

Tuesday, January 31, 1961: First hominid in space

A chimpanzee named Ham is launched aboard a Redstone-Mercury 2 rocket, rising to 157 miles above the Earth during a 16-and-a-half minute flight while reaching a speed of 5,587 miles per hour. (The flight was longer, higher and faster than intended because of technical problems.) The capsule returns Ham safely, though more than 100 miles off-target.

* Summary (from California Science Center): @
* NASA report: @
* "The Nearest Thing" (Time magazine, February 10): @
* "A Happy End for Ham's First Flight": (Life magazine, February 10): @
* "Trailblazer in Space" (newsreel): @
* Photos (from NASA Life Sciences Data Archive): @


Monday, January 30, 1961: State of the Union

President John Kennedy gives his first State of the Union speech. In an assessment more realistic than optimistic, Kennedy says, "I speak today in an hour of national peril and national opportunity. Before my term has ended, we shall have to test anew whether a nation organized and governed such as ours can endure. The outcome is by no means certain. The answers are by no means clear." And later: "Life in 1961 will not be easy. Wishing it, predicting, even asking for it, will not make it so. There will be further setbacks before the tide is turned."

* Footage: @
* Transcript: @
* Copy of speech: @


Saturday, January 28, 1961: Louis Armstrong in Egypt

With his wife, Lucille, listening, jazz great Louis Armstrong plays the trumpet near the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. (Click on photo for a closer look.) Armstrong was on a tour of the Middle East and Africa, sponsored by the U.S. State Department, which sent a series of "jazz ambassadors" abroad to showcase America's image and to forge better relations with Eastern European and developing countries.

* "Jam Session: America's Jazz Ambassadors Embrace the World" (traveling exhibit): @
* "Jam Session" story and photos (from NPR): @
* Story and photos (from New York Times): @
* Story and video (from Voice of America): @
* "Satchmo Blows Up the World" (book by Penny M. Von Eschen): @
* "Jazz Diplomacy" (book by Lisa E. Davenport): @

Saturday, January 28, 1961: Malcolm X and the KKK

The Nation of Islam and the Ku Klux Klan have a mutually beneficial goal in mind when Malcolm X (left) and Jeremiah Shabazz secretly meet with KKK representatives in Atlanta, Georgia. The two groups discuss whether the Klan could help secure land in the South for a separate all-black state.

* February 15, 1965, speech by Malcolm X (from "Malcolm X: The Last Speeches"; scroll down to page 123): @
* Account from "On the Side of My People: A Religious Life of Malcolm X" (book by Louis A. Decaro Jr.): @
* Account from "In the name of Elijah Muhammad: Louis Farakkhan and the Nation of Islam" (book by Mattias Gardell): @
* Account from "Black Leadership" (book by Manning Marable): @
* Note from FBI about meeting (from "Malcolm X: The FBI File," 1991): @
* Short summary of Nation of Islam (from beliefnet.com): @
* Short summary of Ku Klux Klan (from Southern Poverty Law Center): @


Friday, January 27, 1961: 'Sing Along With Mitch'

Hosted by longtime music producer and executive Mitch Miller, "Sing Along With Mitch" premieres on NBC. Viewers are invited to join in on the songs, as lyrics appear on the bottom of the TV screen. (As for the fabled "bouncing ball" that appeared above the lyrics, Miller says in the interview linked below that his show never used one, and I can't find any footage that has it.)

* Watch an episode (in four parts): @ and @ and @ and @
* Show summary: @
* Miller biography: @
* New York Times obituary (Miller died on July 31, 2010): @
* 2004 interview with Miller: @
* "Television: Mail-Order Melody" (Time magazine, March 3, 1961): @
* Miller and his No. 1 hit, "The Yellow Rose of Texas": @


Wednesday, January 25, 1961: 'One Hundred and One Dalmatians'

Based on the book by British author Dodie Smith, Disney's 17th full-length animated movie premieres in St. Petersburg and Tampa, Florida. It introduces one of the screen's great villains: Cruella De Vil.

* Watch clip of song "Cruella de Vil": @
* Production facts: @

Wednesday, January 25, 1961: JFK news conference

In a first, President John F. Kennedy's news conference is televised live.

* Summary (from history.com): @
* Footage (from JFK library): @
* Transcript (from JFK library): @
* "What were JFK's fabled press conferences really like?" (2009 article from The New Republic): @


Tuesday, January 24, 1961: Bob Dylan

According to most accounts, a folk singer from Minnesota named Robert Allen Zimmerman, performing under the name Bob Dylan, arrives in New York on this date and within hours takes the stage on hootenanny night at Cafe Wha? in Greenwich Village. The photo shows Dylan, Karen Dalton and Fred Neil at Cafe Wha? in February 1961. A few days later, Dylan visits Woody Guthrie, his musical idol.

* Account from Rolling Stone magazine: @
* Account from "Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited" (book by Clinton Heylin): @
* "The Other Side of Greenwich Village '60s Folk Scene" (from fredneil.com): @
* Dylan meets Guthrie, from "Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan" (book by Howard Sounes): @
* Words to "Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie," a Dylan poem: @
* Listen to "Last Thoughts": @

Tuesday, January 24, 1961: Nuclear accident in North Carolina

Carrying two nuclear bombs, an Air Force B-52 explodes in midair and crashes near Goldsboro, North Carolina. Three crew members die in the explosion/crash; five survive. One of the bombs parachutes safely to the ground (photo at left); the other breaks apart on impact. Nearby areas are excavated, but some parts of the second bomb are never recovered, having sunk deep in the swampy fields. To this day there are conflicting accounts (official and unofficial) as to how close the second bomb came to detonating.

* Summary from The North Carolina Collection (UNC Chapel Hill): @
* Summary from sonicbomb.com: @
* "Broken Arrow: Goldsboro, North Carolina" (website devoted to incident): @
* "US nearly detonated atomic bomb over North Carolina -- secret document" (The Guardian, 2013): @
* "Broken Arrow -- The Declassified History of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Accidents" (James C. Oskins, Michael H. Maggelet, 2008): @
* "Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Incident, and the Illusion of Safety" (Eric Schlosser, 2013): @
* "The Story Behind the Pentagon's Broken Arrows" (Mother Jones magazine, April 1981): @
* "Major U.S. nuclear weapons-related accidents: A chronology of publicly reported events (1950-2009)" (from the book "The Technology Trap," Lloyd J. Dumas, 2010)" @
* "Missing H-Bomb is Buried in North Carolina Swamp!" (Weekly World News, May 20, 1997): @


Friday, January 20, 1961: JFK inauguration

John Fitzgerald Kennedy takes office as the 35th president of the United States. His inaugural speech is best remembered for its call to service:

"And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."

It was not the first time Kennedy had spoken of the commitment necessary of government and citizens alike. It echoed his words when he accepted the Democratic nomination for president (see entry of July 15, 1960):

"Woodrow Wilson's New Freedom promised our nation a new political and economic framework. Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal promised security and succor to those in need. But the New Frontier of which I speak is not a set of promises. It is a set of challenges. It sums up not what I intend to offer to the American people, but what I intend to ask of them. It appeals to their pride -- it appeals to our pride, not our security. It holds out the promise of more sacrifice instead of more security."

Another often-quoted passage: "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

* 68 minutes, from NBC: @
* 37 minutes, from c-spanvideo.org; speech begins at the 15-minute mark: @
* 15 minutes, from John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum): @

Audio and transcript (from americanrhetoric.com): @

* Page from hand-written draft of speech, including "ask not" passage (from archives.gov): @
* Various drafts (including hand-written) and press copies of speech (from JFK Library): @
* Front page of Los Angeles Mirror: @
* Front page of Cleveland Plain Dealer: @
* Photo with a "viewer," allowing a closer look at all parts of the picture (from jfklibrary.org): @
* Photos from life.com: @
* Photos from Los Angeles Times: @

* "Ask Not: The Inauguration of John F. Kennedy and the Speech That Changed America" (by Thurston Clarke): @
* "Sounding the Trumpet: The Making of John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address" (by Richard J. Tofel): @
* "Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History" (by Kennedy aide Theodore J. Sorensen): @

Inauguration Gala:
* Official program: @
* Footage (76 minutes, from JFK Library): @
* Footage (18 minutes, from Museum of Broadcast Communications; click on link -- Windows Media Player only): @

* Poet Robert Frost wrote "Dedication" for the occasion. He began reading it but could not finish because of the sun's glare. Instead he recited "The Gift Outright" from memory. Text of both poems: @
* The speech ranks second in a 1999 survey of scholars on the best political speeches of the 20th century. Full list: @
* Time magazine (January 27): @
* Life magazine (January 27): @
* Ebony magazine (March): @
* List of firsts: @
* Lesson plan for high schoolers (from jfklibrary.org): @
* "Inauguration Weather: The Case of Kennedy" (January 2009 article from The Washington Post): @


Undated: Coffee-mate

The Carnation Company begins selling Coffee-mate, the first non-dairy powdered creamer for coffee.

* www.coffee-mate.com: @
* Entry from the book "Better Than Homemade: Amazing Foods That Changed the Way We Eat": @
* Product website in Arabic (from www.nestle-family.com): @


Tuesday, January 17, 1961: Eisenhower's farewell address

Three days before leaving office, President Dwight D. Eisenhower gives a nationally televised speech. Eisenhower uses the occasion to sound a warning about the "military-industrial complex" (a phrase first used here) becoming the driving force behind the United States' domestic and foreign policy. The tone and message are somewhat surprising, coming as they do from the former Army general. "Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together," Eisenhower says.

* Video: @
* Transcript and audio: @
* Short summary (from ourdocuments.gov): @
* "The 'Military-Industrial Complex' Speech" (written by Kevin C. Murphy for "The American Century: A History of the United States since the 1890s"): @
* "Military-Industrial Complex, Fifty Years On" (from Council on Foreign Relations): @
* Story about recent discovery of speech materials (New Yorker magazine, December 20, 2010): @
* Links to various materials (from eisenhower.archives.gov): @
* militaryindustrialcomplex.com: @


Sunday, January 15, 1961: The Supremes

The newly formed Motown Records (see entry of April 14, 1960) signs the female singing group The Primettes to a recording contract. But it comes with a condition: the singers have to change their name, which they do, to The Supremes. The group consisted of, clockwise from left, Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard, Diane Ross (as she was called then) and Barbara Martin (who would leave the group in 1962). Their first single, "I Want A Guy" / "Never Again," would be released on March 9.

* Listen to "I Want A Guy": @
* Listen to "Never Again": @
* Short biography (from allmusic.com): @
* "The Supremes: A Saga of Motown Dreams, Success, and Betrayal" (book by Mark Ribowsky): @


January 1961: 'Spy vs. Spy'

The Cold War cartoon debuts in the January issue of Mad magazine. The artist, Antonio Prohias, was an editorial cartoonist who had fled Cuba after Fidel Castro came to power. Each cartoon contains a string of Morse code that stands for "by prohias."

* Summary (from www.toonopedia.com): @
* Original artwork for first strip: @
* Tribute websites: @ and @
* "Spy vs. Spy: The Complete Casebook" (2001): @
* National Public Radio report from 2001: @
* "Tales Calculated to Drive You Mad: The Debunking of Spies, Superheroes and Cold War Rhetoric in Mad magazine's 'Spy vs. Spy' " (2007 paper from Journal of Popular Culture): @


Wednesday, January 11, 1961: Integration of University of Georgia

Following a U.S. district judge's order, two black students -- Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes -- begin attending classes at the University of Georgia, two days after arriving in Athens. That night, violence breaks out on campus and on January 12, the two students are suspended "in the interest of your public safety and for the safety and welfare of more than 7,000 other students." The same district judge orders them reinstated, and they resume classes on January 16.

-- Summary:
* From Hargrett Library (University of Georgia): @

-- Videos:
* From the Civil Rights Digital Library -- go to "WSB-TV Newsfilm Collection" for a list of clips from the Atlanta television station: @
* You can also access WSB footage at the Brown Media Archive Newsfilm Database (search for "University of Georgia 1961"): @

-- Photos:
* Corbis Images: @

-- Books:
* "We Shall Not Be Moved: The Desegregation of the University of Georgia" (by Robert A. Pratt): @
* "An Education in Georgia" (by Calvin Trillin): @

-- Other:
* "Celebrating Courage" (University of Georgia commemorative website): @
* The Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies at the University of Georgia: @
* National Public Radio story featuring Charlayne Hunter-Gault: @
* "Shame in Georgia" (Time magazine, January 20, 1961; subscription required): @
* The Road to Integration (timeline from Our Georgia History website): @
* More about Athens (from Freedom on Film: Civil Rights in Georgia website): @


Tuesday, January 3, 1961: Nuclear accident in Idaho

Three workers are killed in a steam explosion at the U.S. National Reactor Testing Station outside Idaho Falls, Idaho. It is America's first fatal nuclear accident. All of the victims are buried in lead-lined caskets; one of them, Army Specialist Richard McKinley, is at Arlington National Cemetery. (At left is a photo of a nearby roadway being tested for radiation after the accident.)

* Summary (from System Failure Case Studies, a NASA publication): @
* U.S. Atomic Energy Commission video: @
* Federal documents relating to accident (from U.S. Department of Energy): @
* "Idaho Falls: The Untold Story of America's First Nuclear Accident" (book by William McKeown): @
* "Runaway reactor": (Time magazine, January 13, 1961): @
* "5 times we almost nuked ourselves by accident" (from io9 website): @
* "Proving the Principle: A History of the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory": @


Sunday, January 1, 1961: The farthing

By order of the British Treasury, the farthing -- at the time only equal to one-fourth of a penny -- stops being legal tender. They were first minted in 1279.

* "Fading Farthing" (Time magazine, Jan. 13, 1961): @
* About Farthings (website): @
* Coins of England and Great Britain (website): @
* Your Guide to British Coins (website): @

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