October 1962: 'Do You Hear What I Hear?'

Written by Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the song's plea for peace would make it a Christmas standard. It was first recorded by the Harry Simeone Chorale in late 1962, and would become a hit for Bing Crosby in 1963.

* Story from www.americancatholic.org (2007): @
* Noel Regney obituary (2002): @
* Gloria Shayne obituary (2008): @ 


October 1962: Cuban Missile Crisis

Note: With so many authoritative websites and resources dealing with the crisis (some of which are linked below), what follows is a very abbreviated timeline of the 13 days -- October 16 through October 28 -- that are regarded as the beginning and end of the nuclear showdown between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Tuesday, October 16: President John F. Kennedy is told that a missile site capable of firing nuclear weapons against the United States is under construction in Cuba. The evidence comes from aerial photographs taken October 14. The first meeting of what came to be called ExComm (the Executive Committee of the National Security Council) is held.

Wednesday, October 17: U.S. officials discuss a response, including an airstrike or naval blockade against Cuba.

Thursday, October 18: Kennedy meets with Soviet foreign minister Andrei Gromyko and ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin. Gromyko says the missiles are defensive; Kennedy knows otherwise but does not tell the Soviets.

Friday, October 19: The Joint Chiefs of Staff push their case for military action amid more photos of Soviet activity.

Saturday, October 20: The first Soviet missile is declared "combat-ready."

Sunday, October 21: Kennedy approves the quarantine option.

Monday, October 22: In a nationally televised address, Kennedy announces the quarantine against Cuba. Meanwhile, the United States' B-52 nuclear bomber force begins flights around the clock, with more nuclear-armed aircraft sent to U.S. bases.
* Video (from C-SPAN): @
* Audio, transcript (from JFK Library): @

Tuesday, October 23: The Organization of American States announces its support of the U.S. actions. Cuba's armed forces are placed on their highest alert. Kennedy signs authorization of the naval quarantine.

Wednesday, October 24: The quarantine goes into effect; Soviet ships hold their position or turn back. The Strategic Air Command announces the U.S. armed forces are on DEFCON 2 alert, one level below war.

Thursday, October 25: The countries face off at the United Nations, with the U.S. demanding the USSR confirm or deny the existence of the bases, then presenting photographic evidence of the sites.

Friday, October 26: Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev sends a letter to Kennedy saying he will order the removal of the missiles if Kennedy pledges not to invade Cuba.

Saturday, October 27: A U-2 aircraft is shot down while flying over Cuba. A second U.S. surveillance aircraft flying from Alaska accidentally strays into Soviet airspace. Kennedy replies to Khrushchev's letter, agreeing to its conditions.

Sunday, October 28: The crisis ends as Khrushchev announces the withdrawal of missiles under U.N. observation. (The U.S. also agrees to remove its missiles from Turkey, though that would not be revealed until years later.)

* John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum: @
* Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School: @
* National Security Archive: @
* Foreign Policy magazine: @
* www.nuclearfiles.org: @
* The Wilson Center: @

* www.history.com: @
* www.globalsecurity.org: @

* From National Security Archive: @

"Foreign Relations of the United States" (from U.S. Department of State)
* Volume X, Cuba, January 1961 - September 1962: @
* Microfiche Supplement: @
* Volume XI, Cuban Missile Crisis and Aftermath, 1961 - 1963: @

Media reports:
* From The New York Times: @
* October 25 newsreel: @
* Life magazine (November 2): @
* Life magazine (November 9): @

* "The Cuban Missile Crisis Revisited" (edited by James A. Nathan, 1992): @
* "Cuban Missile Crisis: The Essential Reference Guide" (edited by Priscilla Roberts, 2012): @
* "Thirteen Days" (Robert F. Kennedy, 1968): @
* "Cuba and the United States: A Chronological History" (Jane Franklin, 1997): @
* "President Kennedy: Profile of Power" (Richard Reeves, 1993): @

Other resources:
* Documents (from Avalon Project, Yale Law School): @
* Documents (from Mount Holyoke College): @
* CIA documents (from www.allworldwars.com): @
* Digital Archive, Cold War International History Project: @
* "Clouds Over Cuba" (documentary from JFK Library): @
* "The Armageddon Letters" (multimedia presentation): @
* "Learning from the Missile Crisis" (Smithsonian magazine, October 2002): @ 


Wednesday, October 24, 1964: 'Live at the Apollo'

Singer James Brown's performance at the Apollo Theater in New York is recorded for an album that would be released in May 1963. Not only would it be a commercial success, it would be regarded as one of the best live albums ever made.

Photo from Apollo Theater Foundation.

* Summary (from www.history.com): @
* Album review (from Rolling Stone magazine): @
* Album review (from Pitchfork): @
* More about the recording (Daily Telegraph, 2003, via www.rocksbackpages.com and The Guardian): @ 
* "James Brown's 'Live at the Apollo' " (Douglas Wolk, 2004): @


Thursday, October 18, 1962: DNA

From The Associated Press:

   STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Oct. 18 -- A young American biologist and two British scientists were jointly awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize for Medicine today for a major breakthrough into the mysteries of heredity.
   Among other things, their work gives clues to some of the fundamental secrets of life -- what makes a man a man, what are blue eyes blue. It also points toward new studies into the causes of such ailments as anemia.
   Sharing the award were Dr. James Dewey Watson, 34, of Harvard University; Dr. Francis Harry Compton Crick, 46, member of the Department of Molecular Biology at Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, England; and Dr. Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins, 46, deputy director of the Biophysics Laboratory at King's College, London.
   ... Scientists have hailed the unveiling of the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid -- which is commonly known as "DNA" -- as being as revolutionary for biology as the cracking of the atom was for physics.

Photo of Watson, left, and Crick in 1953 (from Science Photo Library).

* From www.nobelprize.org: @ and @
* From Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory: @ and @
* From National Human Genome Research Institute (National Institutes of Health): @
* From Genetics Home Reference (National Library of Medicine): @
* From Chemical Heritage Foundation: @
* Read entire Associated Press article: @ 


October 1962: Mr. ZIP

From the U.S. Postal Service website (about.usps.com):

The cartoon figure, Mr. ZIP, was adopted by the Postal Service as the trademark for the Zoning Improvement Plan or ZIP Code, which began on July 1, 1963. However, the figure originated several years earlier. It was designed ... for use by Chase Manhattan Bank in New York in a bank-by-mail campaign. ... The figure was used only a few times, then filed away. The American Telephone and Telegraph Company acquired the design and made it available to the Post Office Department without cost. The new figure, dubbed Mr. ZIP, was unveiled by the Post Office Department at a convention of postmasters in October 1962.

* "Mr. Zip and the ZIP Code Promotional Campaign" (from National Postal Museum): @
* "U.S. to ZIP mail through" (Scripps-Howard article, November 1962): @ 


October 1962: American Folk Blues Festival

The musical revue tours Europe, bringing such performers as John Lee Hooker, T-Bone Walker and Willie Dixon to appreciative audiences. Later festivals would include Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, among others. (Poster from October 18 show in Hamburg, Germany.)
* Listen to performances (from archive.org): @ 
* Discography: @ 
* From "Encyclopedia of the Blues" (1997): @ 
* From "Black, White and Blue: Racial Politics of Blues Music in the 196os" (Ulrich Adelt, 2007): @ 
* From "Blues Music in the Sixties: A Story in Black and White" (Adelt, 2010): @ 
* From "Changing the World, Changing Oneself: Political Protest and Collective Identities in West Germany and the U.S. in the 1960s and 1970s" (2010): @ 
* From "I Am the Blues: The Willie Dixon Story" (Willie Dixon, Don Snowden, 1990): @ 


October 1962: 'Fail-Safe'

The novel by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler is published. The story of what happens when America's nuclear safeguards falter is serialized in The Saturday Evening Post starting with the October 13 issue, on the eve of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The book's plot is similar to "Red Alert," published in 1958. (Both books would be made into movies in 1964, "Fail-Safe" and "Dr. Strangelove," respectively.)

* "The Day the Bombers Weren't Recalled" (book review, October 23): @
* "Fail-Safe" papers from John F. Kennedy library (includes Saturday Evening Post installments, book reviews): @
* "Nuclear Fear: A History of Images" (Spencer R. Weart, 1998): @
* Excerpt from "Hollywood's White House: The American Presidency in Film and History" (2003): @
* "Nuclear Peril Movies Coming" (Associated Press article, June 1963): @ 


Friday, October 5, 1962: 'Dr. No'

The first movie featuring British secret agent James Bond premieres in London. Based on the 1958 book by Ian Fleming, "Dr. No" Sean Connery stars as 007, a role he would play six more times.

From Associated Press writer Bob Thomas, in March 1963 (the movie was released in the United States in May 1963):

"Dr. No" introduces sleuth James Bond to the American market, and he is apt to be just as popular here as he is in his native England. Sean Connery makes a formidable figure of the Ian Fleming semihero, with his fondness for fine food, shapely dolls and danger, not necessarily in that order. This caper has Bond tracking down a demoniacal Chinese who is menacing an American moonshot from an atomic fortress in the Bahamas. It is unfortunate that the first Bond mystery should place so much emphasis on the space-age melodramatics on the mystery island. The result is more flavored with Flash Gordon or Fu Manchu. But the earlier portions of "Dr. No" display a fetching figure in Connery's bond, who will be welcome in future films of this series.

* Movie clips, including original trailer (from www.tcm.com): @

* www.007.com (official website): @
* www.007.info (James Bond International Fan Club): @
* Entry from www.screenonline.org.uk: @
* Entry from www.mi6-hq.com: @
* "The Birth of Bond" (Vanity Fair, October 2012): @
* "Licence to Thrill: A Cultural History of the James Bond Films" (James Chapman, 2000): @
* "The Politics of James Bond: From Fleming's Novels to the Big Screen" (Jeremy Black, 2005): @
* Earlier post on "From Russia With Love" (March 1961): @ 

Friday, October 5, 1962: 'Love Me Do'

The Beatles' first single is released in England, with "P.S. I Love You" as the B-side. Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it was recorded at three different sessions with three different drummers: Pete Best on June 6, Ringo Starr on September 4 (pictured), and Andy White on September 11. The version with Ringo on drums was used for the initial release on EMI's Parlophone label (which would reach No. 17 on the British music charts); later, the version with White on drums and Ringo on tambourine was used for the 45 and the band's first album.

* June 6 recording session (from www.beatlesbible.com): @ 
* September 4 session (beatlesbible.com): @ 
* September 11 session (beatlesbible.com): @ 
* Song entry from beatlesbible.com: @ 
* Entry from www.thebeatlesonline.com: @ 
* Entry from www.thebeatlesrarity.com: @ 
* Entry from thebeatles-collection.com: @ 
* Song analysis by Alan W. Pollack (from Soundscapes: Journal on Media Culture): @ 


Wednesday, October 3, 1962: Mars meteorite

A 40-pound meteorite falls to Earth, landing in a cornfield in Nigeria. In the 1990s it was determined that the meteorite had originated on Mars and was likely propelled into space when an asteroid or comet struck the planet millions of years earlier. (It remains the largest Mars meteorite to have been found on Earth.)

* More about the Zagami meteorite (from NASA's Astromaterials Acquisition & Curation Office): @ 
* NASA's Mars Meteorite Compendium: @ 
* Entry from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory: @ 
* Mars meteorite page (from JPL): @ 
* Entry from www.meteoritestudies.com: @ 
* Meteorites entry from "Encyclopedia of Space" (2009): @  
* "Rocks are hunks of Mars" (Associated Press story, 1995): @


September-October 1962: James Meredith at Ole Miss

On October 1, 1962, James Meredith enrolls as the first black student at the University of Mississippi.

Background: 1961

James Howard Meredith, a 27-year-old Air Force veteran and a student at Jackson State College, applies for admission to Ole Miss, hoping to complete his degree in political science.

January 21, 1961: Meredith writes the university's registrar, seeking an application for admission.
* Letter: @

January 26: Registrar Robert B. Ellis replies, enclosing an application.
* Letter: @

January 31: Meredith informs the school that he is black (top image). "I certainly hope that this matter will be handled in a manner that will be complimentary to the University and to the State of Mississippi," he writes.
* Letter: @

February 4: Ole Miss sends Meredith a telegram stating: "For your information and guidance it has been found necessary to discontinue consideration of all applications for admission or registration for the second semester which were received after January 25 1961. Your application was received subsequent to such date and thus we must advise you not to appear for registration."
* Telegram: @

May 25: After a series of letters between Meredith and the school about admission requirements, Meredith's application is denied. The letter states: "The University cannot recognize the transfer of credits from the institution which you are now attending since it is not a member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Our policy permits the transfer of credits only from member institutions of regional associations. Furthermore, students may not be accepted by the University from those institutions whose programs are not recognized. As I am sure you realize, your application does not meet other requirements for admission. Your letters of recommendation are not sufficient for either a resident or a nonresident applicant. I see no need for mentioning any other deficiencies."

May 31: Meredith files suit in U.S. District Court. A long legal battle ensues as the case moves through various courts, rulings and appeals.

* Chronology through September 26, 1962: @
* Meredith v. Fair (U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, June 25, 1962): @


September 10: The case reaches the U.S. Supreme Court. "Justice Hugo L. Black ruled today that the University of Mississippi must admit a Negro for the first time this fall. Justice Black nullified a series of orders by Judge Ben F. Cameron of the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that would have postponed the admission of James H. Meredith." (United Press International)

September 11: Meredith sends a telegram to Registrar Ellis stating, "I plan to enroll in Sept. Please advise when to report for registration."
* Telegram: @

September 13: In a speech carried over statewide television and radio, Mississippi Gov. Ross Barnett, left, responds to Black's order (as well as to a subsequent decision by U.S. District Judge Sidney Mize).  "I shall do everything in my power to prevent integration in our schools," he says, invoking the doctrine of interposition, in which states have authority superseding that of the federal government. "There is no case in history where the Caucasian race has survived social integration. We will not drink from the cup of genocide."
* Portion of speech: @
* Interposition declaration (begins on Page 8): @

September 15-30: A series of phone calls take place involving Barnett, President Kennedy and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. They are unable to reach agreement on Meredith's admittance.
* Audio and transcripts (from JFK Library): @

September 20: Meredith, having been transported to the Oxford campus, is physically prevented from enrolling by Gov. Barnett, who reads a declaration of interposition. The scene would be repeated in Jackson on September 25 and again in Oxford on September 26 (this time by Lt. Gov. Paul Johnson). A planned registration attempt on September 27 was canceled amid reports of a large, hostile crowd on campus.
* Daytona Beach Morning Journal (September 28): @

September 24: Ole Miss is featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated's college football preview issue. (The team would go 10-0 and finish 3rd in the AP and UPI football polls.)
* "Ghosts of Mississippi" (ESPN.com): @

September 29: President Kennedy sends a telegram to Gov. Barnett, citing "a breakdown of law and order" and asking whether Barnett intends to comply with the legal rulings and admit Meredith.
* Telegram: @

Gov. Barnett addresses the crowd during halftime of the Ole Miss-Kentucky game in Jackson. He says: "I love Mississippi. I love her people. Our customs. I love and I respect our heritage."
* Footage from speech: @

Sunday night, September 30, 1962

In the early evening, Gov. Barnett says in a speech carried statewide: "My heart still says 'never,' but my calm judgment abhors the bloodshed that would follow. ... Gentlemen, you are trampling on the sovereignty of this great state and depriving it of every vestige of honor and respect as a member of the United States."
* Text: @

About two hours later, President Kennedy goes on national television to say that Meredith has been moved to the Ole Miss campus. (Meredith was by that time inside a residence hall, guarded by federal marshals.) He expresses hopes for a peaceful outcome but announces he has placed the Mississippi National Guard under federal authority. "My obligation ... is to implement the orders of the court with whatever means are necessary, and with as little force and civil disorder as the circumstances permit."
* Video, transcript of President Kennedy speech: @
* Copy of speech: @
* Executive Order 11053 ("Providing Assistance for the Removal of Unlawful Obstructions of Justice in the State of Mississippi"): @

An hour later, Barnett again speaks, via statewide radio. "I will never yield a single inch in my determination to win the fight we are engaged in. I call on Mississippians to keep the faith and courage. We will never surrender."

Even before Barnett's first statement, the situation on the ground had started to unravel. After securing Meredith in his room, federal marshals, U.S. border patrolmen and prison guards -- more than 500 in all -- had assembled in front of the Lyceum, the administration building. By 6 p.m., a hostile crowd -- some of them students, but largely people from Mississippi and beyond -- had grown into a mob estimated at 2,000. The situation worsened through the night, despite the arrival of National Guard troops. The crowd threw rocks, bricks and Molotov cocktails; the federal forces responded with tear gas (they had been ordered not to use their guns on the crowd). Cars were set ablaze; snipers fired on the marshals. The Lyceum was turned into a makeshift field hospital. Two men -- French journalist Paul Guihard and Ray Gunter from Abbeville, Mississippi -- were shot dead, Guihard intentionally and Gunter apparently by a stray bullet. At least 250 people were injured. 

Only with the arrival of U.S. Army troops did the tide turn and the violence subside. By daybreak, what had been a war zone was relatively calm.

The photos above show the marshals ringing the Lyceum (photo by Associated Press); the building shrouded in tear gas (photo by Corbis Images); and the scene inside (photo by Charles Moore).

The top image shows the campus on September 30, with the Lyceum in the middle (photo by Time-Life). The map below it is from the book "Federal Military Forces in Domestic Disorders," linked below. The bottom map was drawn by Ole Miss student Curtis Wilkie, whose book "Dixie" is also linked below. This map is from the Integration Images and Documents Collection of the University of Mississippi Libraries, also linked below. (Click on images to enlarge.) 

Monday morning, October 1, 1962

James Meredith completes the paperwork to become a member of the Ole Miss student body. At right is Robert B. Ellis, Ole Miss registrar. 
(Photos by Corbis Images)

Troops continue to pour into the area; the total number deployed would reach 31,000, divided among Oxford, Memphis and Columbus, Miss. The last troops were pulled out in July 1963, though a few federal marshals remained until Meredith graduated in August 1963.

* "Lyceum - The Circle Historic District" (from National Park Service; the area was designated as a historic district in 2008): @
* "Integrating Ole Miss: A Civil Rights Milestone" (John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum): @
* "The U.S. Marshals and the Integration of the University of Mississippi" (from www.usmarshals.gov): @ / U.S. Marshals video: @
* From National Visionary Leadership Project: @
* From Civil Rights Movement Veterans website: @
* From BBC: @
* From UPI: @
* Excerpt from "Eyes on the Prize" (PBS documentary, 1987): @; / transcript: @

Media reports
* "U.S. vs Mississippi" (newsreel): @
* "Meredith attends classes, campus still 'fairly tense' " (newsreel): @
* ABC news report after Meredith's enrollment: @
* New York Times story (October 1): @
* The Miami News (October 1): @
* The Miami News (October 2): @
* The Milwaukee Journal (October 1): @
* United Press International stories: @
* The Guardian (October 1): @
* Life magazine (October 12; editorial, page 6; story and photos, page 32): @
* Ebony magazine (December): @

* "The Price of Defiance: James Meredith and the Integration of Ole Miss" (Charles W. Eagles, 2009): @
* "The Battle of Ole Miss: Civil Rights v. States' Rights" (Frank Lambert, 2009): @
* Excerpt from "American Insurrection" (William Doyle, 2001): @ / author's essay: @
* "James Meredith and the Ole Miss Riot: A Soldier's Story" (Henry T. Gallagher, 2012): @
* "The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission: Civil Rights and States' Rights" (Yasuhiro Katagiri, 2001): @
* "Dixie: A Personal Odyssey Through Events That Shaped the Modern South" (Curtis Wilkie, 2002): @
* "The Role of Federal Military Forces in Domestic Disorders, 1945-1992" (Paul J. Schieps, 1992): @
* Excerpt from "The Bystander: John F. Kennedy and the Struggle for Black Equality" (Nick Bryant, 2006): @
* Excerpt from "The Expanding Vista: American Television in the Kennedy Years" (Mary Ann Watson, 1994): @
* Excerpt from "Champion of Civil Rights: Judge John Minor Wisdom" (John William Friedman, 2009): @

Other resources
* James Howard Meredith Collection, University of Mississippi Libraries: @
* "50 Years of Intergration at the University of Mississippi" (50years.olemiss.edu): @
* Integration Images and Documents, University of Mississippi Libraries: @
* Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive, University of Southern Mississippi: @
* Desegregation of the University of Mississippi documents (U.S. Department of Justice): @
* Desegration of Schools documents (Department of Justice): @
* Sovereignty Commission Online (Mississippi Department of Archives and History): @
* " 'The Fight For Men's Minds': The Aftermath of the Ole Miss Riot of 1962" (Charles W. Eagles, The Journal of Mississippi History): @
* "A report concerning the occupation of the campus of the University of Mississippi" (General Legislative Investigating Committee, State of Mississippi, May 1963): @
* James Meredith's website: @
* "The Legacy of James Meredith" (University of Mississippi Media & Documentary Projects): @
* "State of Siege: Mississippi Whites and the Civil Rights Movement" (American RadioWorks): @
* "The Battle of Ole Miss" (from ABC journalist Ed Silverman): @
* More about Paul Guihard (from Syracuse University): @
* Other papers from JFK Library: @
* Resources from Civil Rights Digital Library: @
* Photos from Library of Congress: @
* Footage from CriticalPast (much of it without sound): @  

Blog archive


Follow: @