1960: 'Psycho,' 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' and birth control
Three notable events took place during the first summer of the swinging sixties. On June 23, the FDA approved the first contraceptive pill, Enovid, which was marketed as a drug that could be used to regulate menstruation. A few weeks later, on July 11, Harper Lee published her classic novel about racial inequality, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Finally, as the summer wrapped up, Alfred Hitchcock released his psychological horror film “Psycho.”
1961: Berlin Wall is built
The Cold War had been making headlines in the U.S. and around the world for years when news broke that a wall was being built between the communist regime of East Berlin and the free West Berlin. In the early morning of Aug. 13, 1961, temporary barriers and barbed wire were erected between the two districts, and armed militias drove away those who attempted to cross the border from either side. Versions of the wall would remain in place until November 1991.
1962: Marilyn Monroe dies
Blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe was found dead of an apparent suicide in her Los Angeles home Aug. 6, 1962. Just a few months earlier the actress made one of her final public appearances when she took the stage to sing a sultry version of “Happy Birthday” to then-President John F. Kennedy. The performance sparked rumors that the two were having an affair, and these rumors have fueled conspiracy theories surrounding her death ever since.
1963: 'I Have a Dream' speech
Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech Aug. 28, 1963, at the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” Standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial and speaking to thousands of attendees and fellow activists, King called for an end to racism in the U.S., saying “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.’”
1964: Freedom Summer and Civil Rights Act
On June 15, 1964, the first Freedom Summer volunteers, a group of several hundred mostly-white individuals recruited by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), arrived in Mississippi to begin their fight against voter intimidation and to fight for integration in the state’s very-segregated political system. Over the next few months, six volunteers were murdered; 29 were shot; 50 bombings were reported; 60 beatings took place, and 400 people were arrested. Although the event was much more tumultuous than organizers had anticipated, it’s been credited as being a major reason the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law July 2.
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1965: The Beatles play Shea Stadium
One of the most famous rock & roll concerts of all time took place on Aug. 14, 1965, when The Beatles played Shea Stadium in New York City for 55,600 screaming fans. Taking place at the height of Beatlemania, the show was the first to ever fill a stadium of that size—something that’s become a commonplace feat for artists today. The group performed a short 30-minute set, which included some of their greatest hits at the time, such as “Twist and Shout,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” and “Help!”
1966: The Beatles play their final concert
Just over a year later, Aug. 29, 1966, The Beatles played their final concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Running out of steam as a group and facing heavy criticism for recent antics, the decision to make the concert their last was unplanned before they took the stage, but it was completely unanimous, at least according to George Harrison. The last song the group ever played publicly was “Long Tall Sally,” a cover of the Little Richard track.
1967: 12th Street Riot
What began as a police raid on an unlicensed bar on July 23, 1967 turned into the largest, and one of the most violent, civil disturbances in the 20th century: the 12th Street Riot. Fed up with the racism they faced daily as well as the lack of integration in their city, Black Americans and their allies clashed with Detroit police, Michigan state police, Michigan’s National Guard, and the U.S. Army. Over the course of two days, Detroit essentially became an urban war zone, and by the time the crisis was over, 43 people were dead; hundreds were injured; 7,000 arrests were made; and 17,000 fires around the city had been started.
1968: Intel is founded
Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore founded the technology company Intel on July 18, 1968. An American financier named Arthur Rock gave the duo $2.5 million to finance their core chip, which has since become an integral part of modern computing.
1969: Moon landing
At 10:56 p.m. EDT on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to step foot on the moon. With half a billion people watching on TV, his partner Buzz Aldrin joined him, and the duo declared the event “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” After leaving behind an American flag, a commemorative plaque, and a patch honoring the fallen crew of Apollo 1, the team splashed back to earth in Hawaii on July 24th.
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