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60 photos that capture summer in the '60s

  • Fortepan // Wikicommons
    1/ Fortepan // Wikicommons

    60 photos that capture summer in the '60s

    A lot happened in the 1960s. The Vietnam War dominated the headlines, John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon both served in the Oval Office and Martin Luther King Jr. fought for civil rights. Before the organizational power of modern social media existed, a group of students protested segregation with the first-ever sit-in, and women’s rights activists created the Women’s Liberation Movement.

    War and protests may have marked the ‘60s, but it was also the era of Woodstock, miniskirts and rock ‘n’ roll. Snacks like Chips Ahoy! and Doritos made their debut, and athletes started fueling their games with Gatorade. The first man walked on the moon and innovations led to the the creation of the computer mouse and the modern internet.

    In honor of summer, Stacker looked back through news archives and historical sites to remember some of the most important months in an era that shaped the country’s political, cultural and technological landscape. Click through to see some of the most exciting events and trends from a decade that left a major mark on history.

    Related: Top 50 movies from the '60s.

  • Hulton Archive // Getty Images
    2/ Hulton Archive // Getty Images

    U.S. troops in Vietnam

    The U.S. Army 173rd Airborne Brigade was sent on a jungle ‘search and destroy’ patrol in Phuong Tuy Province, Vietnam in June of 1966. While conflict in Vietnam began in the 50s, President Lyndon B. Johnson escalated U.S. involvement by sending combat troops over in 1965.

  • Public Domain // Wikimedia Commons
    3/ Public Domain // Wikimedia Commons

    “I Have a Dream” speech

    Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. King was assassinated five years later on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.

  • Library of Congress // Wikimedia Commons
    4/ Library of Congress // Wikimedia Commons

    March on Washington

    Several hundred thousand Americans walk together for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom near the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. 

  • National Archives and Records Administration // Wikimedia Commons
    5/ National Archives and Records Administration // Wikimedia Commons

    Bob Dylan and Joan Baez

    Bob Dylan sings with Joan Baez during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28,1963. Dylan entered the music world shortly after dropping out of college in 1960, and signed a deal with Columbia Records in 1961.

  • William Lovelace // Getty Images
    6/ William Lovelace // Getty Images

    Rolling Stones

    Members of The Rolling Stones are photographed in New York in the summer of 1964. The British rock group formed in 1962 and scored their first #1 hit in Americawith “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” in June of 1965.

  • Evening Standard // Getty Images
    7/ Evening Standard // Getty Images

    Sammy Davis Jr.

    Sammy Davis Jr., American actor, dancer and singer, uses the “Jiffy-Gym,” an elastic chest expander, in June 1968. Davis was not only a popular performer of the ‘60s, he was active in the Civil Rights Movement and participated in the March on Washington in the summer of 1963.

  • Hulton Archive // Getty Images
    8/ Hulton Archive // Getty Images

    Woodstock Festival

    A crowd gathers at the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival in Bethel, N.Y., on the land of farm-owner Max Yasgur in August 1969. The festival organizers expected around 200,000 people, but close to half a million guests showed up for three days of music and mud.

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    9/ Three Lions // Getty Images

    Beetle nap

    Two Woodstock attendees nap on the roof of a Volkswagen Beetle.

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    10/ Washington Bureau // Getty Images

    Voting Rights Act

    U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson passes Martin Luther King Jr. a pen to sign the Voting Rights Act in Washington, D.C., on August 6, 1965.

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    11/ Harry Benson // Getty Images

    Young love

    A couple hugs one another in Greenville, Mississippi, on July 15, 1967. 

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    12/ Fox Photos // Getty Images

    Water carriers

    An August 6, 1960 photo shows girl guides from around the world at Mersham-le-Hatch, near Ashford in Kent, England. They display each culture's water-carrying methods to one another as part of an international educational camp. 

  • Potter/Express // Getty Images
    13/ Potter/Express // Getty Images

    Summer camp

    Two boys read comic books while attending a summer camp run by the National Association for Gifted Children on August 17, 1967. Summer camps were ushered into popular culture in 1961 with movies like “The Parent Trap.

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    14/ Orlando // Getty Images

    Hot dogs and baseball

    Two boys eat hot dogs at a baseball game. The 1960s is referred to as the “last decade of innocence of America's favorite pastime,” when children spent summers trading baseball cards and listening to baseball games broadcast on transistor radios, writes LA Times journalist Susan King.

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    15/ Susan Schiff Faludi // Getty Images


    Children smile as they jump rope during a visit from the Nassau County Division of Parks and Recreation Sportsmobile in 1966.

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    16/ Keystone // Getty Images

    Beach ensemble

    A woman models a floral-patterned beach jacket with matching bikini in 1965.

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    17/ Keystone // Getty Images

    Do "The Twist"

    Couples dance to “The Twist” on June 17, 1962, as another kiss onboard the steamer “Royal Daffodil II.” This trip across the English Channel featured 12 hours of music by 10 bands, and the resulting dance craze stormed the nation after Chubby Checker’s song by the same name appeared on Dick Clark's “American Bandstand” in 1960.

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    18/ rchappo2002 // Flickr

    Surf city

    Women model “young swimsuits” in an ad of the era. The song “Surf City,” which was co-written by Beach Boy Brian Wilson, hit #1 on the U.S. pop charts in 1963.

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    19/ Keystone // Getty Images

    Summer stunts

    Couples enjoy lake surfboarding in Cypress Gardens, Florida in 1965. Beach-themed movies like “Surf Party,” “Beach Blanket Bingo,” and “Muscle Beach Party” hit the silver screen in the ‘60s.

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    20/ Public Domain // Wikicommons

    Beach Party

    Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello starred in “Beach Party” in 1963. Funicello brought the two-piece bikini into the mainstream.

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    21/ State Library and Archives of Florida // Wikimedia Commons

    Bikini run

    Several models sport bikinis on a Pensacola, Florida beach in 1969. 

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    22/ Peter Keegan/Keystone // Getty Images

    Hippies in the park

    Young people gather in Washington Square Park, part of Greenwich Park, in New York City in 1968. The hippie movement developeds on college campuses in large part as an opposition to the Vietnam War. They advocated non-violence, and coined the enduring phrase “Make love, not war.” Hippies often referred to themselves as “flower children.”

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    23/ Keystone // Getty Images

    Summer in the city

    New York City Police Commissioner Stephen Kennedy sprays water after opening a fire hydrant on Manhattan's Hester Street, closed to traffic and designated for playing on a particularly hot July 13, 1960. 

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    24/ Public Domain // Wikicommons

    Life in color

    A woman poses in a two-piece bathing suit on a Florida beach in 1968. Polaroid introduced instant color film in 1963.

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    25/ Harry Benson // Getty Images

    Coney Island

    Brooklyn, New York's Coney Island Beach is filled with beach-goers in July of 1966.

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    26/ NASA

    Apollo 11 crew

    The Apollo 11 crew poses at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida during a hands-on test in preparation for the first manned lunar landing mission in July 1969. Pictured from left to right, Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, command module pilot; and Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot.

  • NASA
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    Space walk

    Before the first moonwalk took place, astronaut Edward White took the first-ever spacewalk on July 3, 1965. White was one of the three-man crew who later perished in the ill-fated Apollo 1 fire.

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    First man on the moon

    Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969. Armstrong, along with Buzz Aldrin, walked among the moon dirt and surface rock for three hours.

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    29/ Hulton Archive // Getty Images

    Women’s Liberation Movement

    Women in New York City hold up signs during a women's liberation demonstration in 1968. The National Organization for Women was founded on June 30, 1966.

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    30/ Bob Aylott // Keystone//Getty Images

    Equal pay conference

    The fight for women’s rights took place across the pond as well as Stateside. Ford Motors machinists stood with signs at a conference on equal rights in the industry at Friends House in Euston, London, on June 28, 1968.

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    31/ Powell // Getty Images

    Beauty pageant

    The crowd looks on as women take the stage in one-piece bathing suits and heels at the Roosevelt Raceway in Long Island, New York in the early ‘60s. In 1968, activists protested the largest of all beauty contests: the Miss America Pageant.

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    32/ Central Press//Getty Images

    Muhammad Ali

    Cassius Clayknown as Muhammad Alistands on the podium after winning the gold medal in light heavyweight boxing during the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome.

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    33/ Douglas Miller//Keystone // Getty Images

    Billie Jean King

    Billie Jean King, right, holds the trophy after defeating Maria Bueno. King won her first Wimbledon singles tennis match on July 2, 1966.

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    34/ Stan Meagher//Express // Getty Images


    English model Twiggy—whose real name is Lesley Hornby—poses for a shoot on June 12, 1966. While the model wasn’t American, she became a sixties icon and a major influence on fashion in the U.S. and abroad.

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    35/ Helmut Kretz // Getty Images

    Hugh Hefner and his bunnies

    Hugh Hefner poses with some of his bunnies at one of America’s Playboy Clubs on July 18, 1962. In the summer of 1963, Show magazine published Gloria Steinem’s “A Bunny’s Tale" in two parts. Steinem went undercover as Marie Catherine Ochs to give readers an inside look at the not-so-glamorous life of a bunny at a Playboy Club.

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    36/ Cecil W. Stoughon // Wikimedia Commons

    The Kennedys during summer

    President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and their children John, Jr. and Caroline, are pictured at their summer home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts on August 4, 1962. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.

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    37/ Classic Film // Flickr

    Summer fashion

    An ad in BuenHogar—Good Housekeeping, the Spanish language women's magazine, shows beach fashion for the summer of 1967.    

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    38/ Classic Film // Flickr

    Children’s fashion

    Young girls model pinafores by Simplicity in the June 1996 issue of Woman’s Day. 

  • Classic Film // Flickr
    39/ Classic Film // Flickr

    Men’s swimwear

    Two models show off belted swim trunks in a summer 1967 issue of Ebony magazine. 

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    40/ Three Lions // Getty Images

    Bathing beauties

    Women dressed in swimwear enjoy drinks at a bar in Las Vegas.

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    41/ L J Willinger // Getty Images

    Marilyn Monroe's death

    Marilyn Monroe has some fun on the beach while filming a movie. On August 5, 1962, Marilyn Monroe—born Norma Jeane Mortenson—was found dead in her hotel room.

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    42/ AFP // Getty Images

    Black students register

    Vivian Malone and James Hood, two black students, register at the University of Alabama on June 12, 1963, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. On June 10, 1963, President John F. Kennedy federalized the National Guard, deploying them to the school in order to force its desegregation.

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    43/ AFP // Getty Images

    George Wallace stands in the way

    Alabama governor George Wallace faces General Henry Graham in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on June 12, 1963, to block the enrollment of black students. Despite a federal order not to interfere with the enrollment, Wallace stood in the doorway of the administration building to prevent the students from registering. In response, President John. F. Kennedy federalized the Alabama National Guard. One hundred guardsman escorted the students to campus and Gen. Graham ordered Wallace to step aside.

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    44/ National Archive // Getty Images

    Civil Rights Act

    President John F. Kennedy meets with civil rights leaders at the White House on August 28, 1963. The Civil Rights Act passed the following year on July 2, 1964, ending segregation in public spaces and banning employers from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

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    45/ State Archives of North Carolina//Public Domain // Wikimedia Commons

    Woolworth desegregated

    Young African-American students perform sit-ins at the segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C. in 1960. Months of protests led to the desegregation of the counter on July 25th of that year.

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    46/ Warren Hammond // Getty Images

    Summer of Love

    San Francisco hippies encircle a tree at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. In the summer of 1967, close to one hundred thousand hippies gathered in the city's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood for the “Summer of Love.”

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    47/ Express//Express // Getty Images

    Jimi Hendrix

    Members of the Jimi Hendrix Experience are pictured on August 21, 1967. Hendrix took the stage during the “Summer of Love” at the Monterey Pop Festival in June of 1967.

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    48/ John Williams//BIPs // Getty Images

    George Harrison

    The Beatles’ George Harrison is pictured on June 30, 1967. Harrison played at the Monterey Pop Festival in addition to Jimi Hendrix. 

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    49/ John Pratt//Keystone // Getty Images

    The Beatles release Sgt. Pepper

    The Beatles celebrate the completion of their album, “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.” The LP was released on June 1, 1967.

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    50/ Hulton Archive // Getty Images

    Democratic National Convention

    A young female protester looks on at armed police officers at an anti-Vietnam War demonstration outside the the August 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. 

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    51/ Library of Congress // Wikimedia Commons

    Harlem riots

    Widespread disorder erupts in the streets during the 1964 Harlem neighborhood race riots in New York City. The riots lasted for six days, beginning July 16.

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    52/ Library of Congress // Wikimedia Commons

    Demonstrators in Harlem

    Demonstrators carry photographs of Lieutenant Thomas Gilligan as they march during the Harlem riots, which flared up after Gilligan, a white off-duty police officer, shot and killed an African-American teenager.

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    53/ Harry Benson//Express // Getty Images

    Watts riots

    A wounded man sits near an armed police guard during the Watts riots in Los Angeles during the summer of 1965. The riots started after a white police officer arrested a black man on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, and lasted from August 11-16.

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    54/ David Hoffman // Flickr

    Segregation in public pools

    The public swimming pool in Raleigh, N.C.'s Pullen Park was closed by the city on August 7, 1962 after four black men went swimming with two white companions. Other public pools in the city followed suit until the issue could be resolved. Swimming facilities had been segregated until then, and the city council felt the public would not accept their desegregation.

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    55/ AFP // GettyImages

    Beach jeers

    Two black people walk away from jeering white beach-goers on July 14, 1963 at a beach in Savannah, Georgia. While desegregation was implemented nationwide in the 19050s, many cities in the south resisted the change until long after.

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    56/ George Garrigues // Wikimedia Commons

    Lemonade stands

    Children sell lemonade in La Cañada, California, on July 31, 1961.

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    57/ Public Domain // Wikimedia Commons

    Shortened hemlines

    Women model dresses for Hess Brothers Department Store in 1965. The shortened hemline—like those of the miniskirt—began to gain popularity in the mid-1960s.

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    58/ Jamie // Flickr


    Jell-O marketed a vegetable-flavored gelatin dish in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine ad in August 1964, the same year the company released its slogan: “There’s Always Room for Jell-O.

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    59/ Schafer // Getty Images

    Summer heat wave

    A group of children play in the street on a hot July day in 1962.

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    60/ Roy Kemp // Getty Images

    Nun fun

    A nun visiting a low-income neighborhood in New York plays a skipping game with children in August 1965.

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    61/ McCarthy // Getty Images

    Marsha Hunt

    Actress, singer, model and activist Marsha Hunt dons an Afro—a popular hairstyle in the 60s—on August 21, 1969.

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