Beginning Year:       Ending Year:      
1947
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
Education: The Supreme Court upholds a state law permitting pupils attending parochial schools to ride on public school buses. This is the first of many cases on the separation of church and state in relation to schools.
Law
The Twenty-Second Amendment to the Constitution, limiting Presidents to two terms, is passed by Congress.
Government
McCarthy Era: Senator McCarthy (1908-1957) is assigned to the Government Operations Committee in Senate; Congressman Nixon is appointed to the House Un-American Activities Committee. Mr. Nixon is first lawyer on The Committee and is noteworthy for raising the level of "respectability" of the Committee's proceedings.
Government
McCarthy Era: Criticized for loose scrutiny of federal employees, President Truman (1884-1972) initiates a loyalty program for civil servants -- the Federal Loyalty Board Program.
Government
The Secretary of State proposes the European Recovery Program (The Marshall Plan) to give economic aid to certain war-torn European nations.
Government
Congress approves economic and military assistance for Greece and Turkey.
Government
Congress enacts the Labor Management Relations Act (Taft-Hartley Labor Act) over President Truman’s veto. It limits the power of labor unions and puts restrictions on strikes, closed shop, and political activities.
Government
President Truman (1884-1972) states the principle of Soviet Containment (Truman Doctrine).
Government
Britain nationalizes coalmines, cable and radio communications, and the electrical supply industry.
War
World War II: U.S. ratifies peace treaties with Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Rumania.
War
The National Security Act unifies all branches of the armed services into a new Department of Defense.
Science
Willard Frank Libby (1908-1980) develops radio-carbon dating (carbon-14) and uses this method to determine the age of several ancient artifacts.
Medicine
Heparin is synthesized.
Medicine
Bovet discovers synthetic drugs that produce a non-poisonous, curare-like effect.
Technology
Edwin Land (1906-1991) introduces the Polaroid camera for instant photographs.
Technology
Howard Aiken (1900-1973) produces an improved electromechanical calculator, the Mark II.
Technology
Personal Computers: Three scientists at Bell Telephone Laboratories, William Shockley (1910-1989), Walter Brattain (1902-1987), and John Bardeen (1908-1991) demonstrate their new invention of the point-contact transistor amplifier. The name transistor is short for "transfer resistance.”
Arts and Letters
Drama: Arthur Miller (1915-2005) publishes "All My Sons."
Arts and Letters
Drama: Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) publishes the Pulitzer Prize winning work, "A Streetcar Named Desire."
Arts and Letters
Literature: James Michener (1907-1997) publishes "Tales of the South Pacific," the basis for the Broadway show "South Pacific."
Arts and Letters
American Theatre: The principal approach to production (a theatricalized realism compounded of acting, which emphasized intense psychological truth, and of visual elements, which eliminated nonessentials but retained realistic outlines) is popularized. The method is made most renown by Elia Kazan (1909-2003) and Jo Mielziner (1901-1976) in the 1947 production of "Streetcar Named Desire" and the 1949 production of "Death of a Salesman."
Johnson, Lady Bird
Luci Baines Johnson Turpin (1947- ), daughter of Lyndon and Claudia Johnson, is born July 2.
Carter, Rosalynn
John William “Jack” Carter (1947- ), son of James “Jimmy” and Rosalynn Carter, is born July 3.
Daily Life
Congressional proceedings are televised for the first time.
Daily Life
The wartime draft ends.
Daily Life
Transportation: The first supersonic jet flight takes place.
Daily Life
Fashion: With wartime shortages over, Christian Dior introduces "The New Look" in women's fashions, featuring calf-lenth full skirts and large hats.
Sports
Black Athletes: Baseball: Jackie Robinson (1919-1972), the first black baseball player in the major leagues, makes his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and scores the game-winning run.
Sports
John Cobb (1899-1952) establishes a world ground speed record of 394.196 mph.
Popular Culture
Reports of “flying saucers” receive widespread publicity.
Reform
Women's Rights Movement: In the Fay v. New York case, the U.S. Supreme Court says women are equally qualified with men to serve on juries but are granted an exemption and may serve or not as women choose.
1948
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
Education: The Supreme Court rules that religious instruction in public schools violates the Constitution.
Politics
McCarthy Era: 1948 -- HUAC gets Whitaker Chambers to implicate Alger Hiss as a spy. Nixon destroys Hiss's reputation in the press, reveals "Pumpkin Papers" in conference.
Politics
Democratic President Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) is re-elected as President of the U.S. and Alben W. Barkley (1877-1956) is elected as the nation's 35th Vice President.
Politics
Communists take control of the government in Czechoslovakia.
Politics
Southern Democrats bolt the Democratic Party in opposition to the civil rights platform.
Government
President Harry Truman (1884-1972) signs the Marshall Plan, a major policy and financial commitment to aid in the recovery of Europe after World War II.
Government
The U.S. recognizes the new state of Israel.
Government
Burma (now called Myanmar) and Ceylon (now called Sri Lanka) gain their independence from Great Britain.
War
Cold War: Communist Party leaders in the U.S. are indicted and charged with instigating the overthrow of the U.S. government.
Science
Lovell determines that meteors are natural phenomenon of the solar system.
Science
Oak Ridge National Laboratory begins to develop peaceful uses for atomic energy.
Medicine
The U.S. Public Health Service devises a simple test for diabetes mellitus.
Medicine
Yale University scientists develop a nylon respirator to replace the iron lung.
Medicine
The World Health Organization (WHO) is organized. They first meet in Geneva, Switzerland.
Education
Public Education: The Educational Testing Service is formed, merging the College Entrance Examination Board, the Cooperative Test Service, the Graduate Records Office, the National Committee on Teachers Examinations and others, with huge grants from the Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations. These testing services continued the work of eugenicists like Carl Brigham (originator of the SAT) who did research "proving" that immigrants were feeble-minded.
Arts and Letters
Literature: William Faulkner (1897-1962) publishes "Intruder in the Dust."
Nixon, Pat
Julie Nixon Eisenhower (1948 - ), daughter of Richard and Patricia Nixon, is born July 5.
Daily Life
Women''s Firsts: The first female Army officer is sworn in.
Daily Life
Crayola: To help art teachers learn about the many ways to use the growing number of Crayola products, a teacher workshop program begins to offer in-school training across the country. It continues today.
Sports
Women in Sports: Black Athletes: The first woman to win an olympic gold medal is Alice Coachman (1923-…), who wins in the high jump.
Sports
Baseball: Stan Musial (1920-) of the St. Louis Cardinals wins the Most Valuable Player Award for the third time.
Sports
Women in Sports: The Roller Derby is broadcast live on television from New York City with women skaters.
Popular Culture
The first motion-picture newsreel in color is taken in Pasadena, California at the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl.
Popular Culture
Miles Davis (1926-1991) leads a nine piece combo that pioneers “cool” jazz.
Social Issues
Native Americans: Native Americans win the right to vote in state elections.
Social Issues
Immigration: The Supreme Court rules that California’s Alien Land Laws prohibiting the ownership of agricultural property violates the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.
Social Issues
Immigration: The United States admits persons fleeing persecution in their native lands; allowing 205,000 refugees to enter within two years.
Reform
Women''s Suffrage Movement: Women win the vote in Belgium.
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1949
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
President Truman (1884-1972) outlines his “Point Four” proposal for U.S. technical aid to underdevelopedcountries.
Government
President Truman (1884-1972) proposes a program of domestic litigation called the “Fair Deal.”
Government
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) agreement is signed.
Government
The country of Siam changes its name to Thailand.
Government
The German Federal Republic is established.
Government
Democratic President Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) is inaugurated as President of the U.S. and Alben W. Barkley (1877-1956) is inaugurated as the nation's 35th Vice President.
War
Cold War: Soviets explode Hydrogen Bomb. Mainland China becomes Communist.
Medicine
The American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute warn that cigarette smoking may cause cancer.
Medicine
Commercial production of ACTH begins. It is used to treat arthritis, rheumatic fever, and gout.
Medicine
Waksman (1888-1973) prepares neomycin, an antibiotic.
Medicine
Epidemic: 2,720 deaths occur from polio, and 42,173 cases are reported.
Medicine
First implant of intraocular lens used by Sir Harold Ridley (1906- 2001).
Inventions
The Atomic Energy Commission designs a breeder reactor that produces power by nuclear fusion, creating more fuel than it uses.
Technology
Computer Technology: Eckert (1919-1995) and Mauchly (1907-1980) build BINAC (Binary Automatic Computer), the first computer with self-checking devices.
Technology
The National Bureau of Standards builds an atomic clock that is accurate to within 1 second over the course of 3 million years.
Arts and Letters
American Theatre: There are only 150 legitimate professional theatres serving the entire U.S.
Arts and Letters
American Theatre: 70 TV stations are serving 2 million receivers in urban areas; this is same number as those attending the remaining theatres.
Ideas
Orwell (1903-1950) foresees a grim future in his satirical masterpiece "1984," a novel that introduces the “Big Brother” concept of totalitarian government.
Ideas
Maria Geoppert-Mayer (1906-1972) develops a nuclear shell theory.
Bush, Barbara
Pauline Robinson “Robin” Bush (1949-1953), daughter of George and Barbara Bush, is born December 20.
Daily Life
Transportation: The first non-stop around the world flight (23,452 miles) is completed by Captain James Gallagher in 94 hours, 1 minute.
Daily Life
Fashion: Bathing suits called “bikinis” are introduced to the American fashion scene.
Daily Life
The History of Toys: Ole Christiansen, a Danish toy maker, begins to manufacture toy blocks with a new twist. Christiansen creates a plastic brick that can be locked together in different configurations. The Lego, which comes from the Danish leg godt, meaning "play well," was born. The continuing popularity of the Lego brick probably stems from its ability to stimulate a child''s imagination-just six bricks fit together in 102,981,500 different ways.
Daily Life
The History of Toys: Eleanor Abbott designs Candy Land while recovering from polio in San Diego, California.
Sports
U.S. wins unofficial championship of the 14th Olympic games in London with a team score of 547 points.
Popular Culture
The first Emmy Awards are presented for excellence in television.
Popular Culture
The movie "Hamlet," starring Laurence Olivier (1907-1989), becomes the first British film to win an Oscar.
1950
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
Three years after gaining its independence from Great Britain, India formally becomes a republic.
Government
Senator Joseph McCarthy (1908-1957) claims he has evidence that there are card-carrying members of the Communist Party in the State Department.
War
Cold War: The Soviet Union announces its possession of the atomic bomb.
War
Korean War: President Truman (1884-1972) authorizes the use of U.S. forces in Korea, following the invasion of South Korea by North Korean troops. A naval blockade of Korea is ordered.
Science
President Truman (1884-1972) authorizes the Atomic Energy Commission to produce the hydrogen bomb (H-bomb).
Science
Congress establishes the National Science Foundation.
Medicine
Although Americans spend more than $100 million annually on antihistamines, research shows that the drugs neither prevent nor cure the common cold, but merely relieve some symptoms.
Medicine
Nobel Prize for the Physiology of Medicine goes to Phillip Hench (1896-1965) (American), Edward Kendall (1886-1972) (American), and T. Reichstein (1897-1996) (Swiss) for the discovery of cortisone and its medical uses.
Inventions
The History of Toys: Silly putty is invented.
Technology
The longest vehicular tunnel, the Brooklyn-Battery tunnel in New York City, opens to traffic.
Education
Libraries: First drive-through windows are established for book returns at Cincinnati's Public Library.
Arts and Letters
American Theatre: Children’s Theatres, College and University Theatres, Community Theatres, and Off-Broadway theatres experience some growth.
Ford, Betty
Michael Gerald Ford (1950- ), son of Gerald and Betty Ford, is born March 14.
Carter, Rosalynn
James Earl “Chip” Carter III (1950-), son of James “Jimmy” and Rosalynn Carter, is born April 12.
Truman, Bess
Assassination: Two Puerto Rican nationalists make unsuccessful attempts to kill President Truman (1884-1972).
Economics
U.S. bars trade shipments to Communist China.
Economics
The Ford Thunderbird is introduced.
Discovery
Archaeological discoveries in La Jolla, California, indicate that North America has been inhabited for at least 40,000 years.
Daily Life
Crime and Punishment: The FBI releases its “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list for the first time.
Sports
Richard Button (1929-), age 19, world figure skating champion is selected as top U.S. amateur athlete.
Sports
Women in Sports: Black Athletes: Althea Gibson becomes the first African-American— male or female—to play in a major United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) event.
Popular Culture
Leroy Anderson (1908-1975) writes the holiday song “Sleigh Ride.”
Popular Culture
Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) writes the score to "Peter Pan," which stars Mary Martin (1913-1990) in the title role.
Religion
The National Council of the Churches of Christ is formed; it unites 25 Protestant and 4 Eastern Orthodox groups. Membership is 32 million.
Religion
Pope Pius XII (1876-1958) proclaims the first Roman Catholic dogma since 1870-that the Virgin Mary, after her death, was assumed into Heaven physically and spiritually.
Social Issues
Immigration: Bureau of Indian Affairs terminates federal services for Native Americans in lieu of state supervision.
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1951
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, limiting presidents to two terms, is ratified by two-thirds of the states and added to the Constitution.
Law
The Supreme Court upholds the Smith Act, under which eleven Communists in the U.S. are convicted.
Politics
Winston Churchill (1874-1965) again becomes the British Prime Minister.
Government
The United Nations headquarters opens in New York City.
Government
A Selective Service Bill lowers draft age to 18.5 and lengthens military service to two years.
Government
The Mutual Security Agency is set up to offer U.S. economic, military, and technical aid to other countries.
War
Korean War: During the Korean War, North Korean and Communist Chinese forces captured the city of Seoul.
War
Korean War: President Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) fires General Douglas McArthur.
War
World War II: President Truman (1884-1972) declares that state of war with Germany is officially ended; the U.S.-Japanese treaty allows the U.S. to maintain military bases in Japan.
War
Korean War: North Korean and Communist Chinese forces captured the city of Seoul.
Science
The National Geographic Society estimates that there are 300 million stars in the Milky Way.
Medicine
Woodard synthesizes two steroids: cortisone and cholesterol.
Medicine
Fluoridated water is shown to reduce tooth decay by 2/3.
Medicine
Reuben L. Kahn (1887-1874) develops a “universal reaction” blood test for the early detection of several diseases.
Medicine
Antabuse, a drug that prevents alcoholics from drinking, is introduced.
Inventions
A video camera is developed that records both pictures and sound on magnetic tape.
Technology
The United States Air Force starts atomic testing in the Nevada desert.
Technology
Computer Technology: UNIVAC I is the first mass-produced computer.
Technology
An additional 70 broadcast frequencies are made available for TV in the ultra-high frequency (UHF) range.
Arts and Letters
Literature: J.D. Salinger (1919- ) publishes "The Catcher in the Rye."
Ideas
Rachel Carson (1907-1964) publishes "The Sea Around Us," which in effect launches the ecological movement.
Economics
The employment of women reaches the highest point-even more than during WWII.
Daily Life
Crime and Punishment: Julius (1918-1951) and Ethel (1915-1951) Rosenberg are found guilty of passing atomic secrets to the Russians and are sentenced to death as spies.
Sports
Horse Racing: The first horse to win $1 million dollars is “Citation.” Winning total $1,085,760.
Sports
Boxing: The world heavyweight championship is won by Jersey Joe Walcott when he knocks out Ezzard Charles. At 37, Walcott is the oldest man to win the title.
Popular Culture
The first commercial color telecast is presented by the Columbia Broadcasting Company (CBS) in New York City.
Popular Culture
Rodgers (1902-1979) and Hammerstein II (1895-1960) write the score for the King and I.
1952
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Politics
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) is elected the 34th President of the U.S. and Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994) is elected the 36th Vice President on the Republican ticket. Eisenhower is the first Republican President since Hoover’s election in 1928. Republicans gain control of Congress.
Government
England’s Princess Elizabeth becomes Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.
Government
Immigration: Congress passes the McCarran-Walter Act (Immigration and Nationality Act) over President Truman’s (1884-1972) veto. It abolishes race as a barrier to immigration but retains the national origins quota system.
Government
Immigration: The Immigration and Nationality Act allows individuals of all races to be eligible for naturalization. The act also reaffirms national origins quota system, limits immigration from the Eastern Hemisphere while leaving the Western Hemisphere unrestricted, establishes preferences for skilled workers and relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens; and tightens security and screening standards and procedures.
Government
Native Americans: The Bureau of Indian Affairs begins selling 1.6 million acres of Native American land to developers.
Government
Puerto Rico's constitution is proclaimed, establishing a commonwealth with autonomy in internal affairs.
War
Prime Minister Churchill (1874-1965) announces that Great Britain has made an atomic bomb.
Science
Edward Teller (1908-2003) successfully tests a hydrogen bomb, the world’s finest nuclear weapon.
Medicine
Research shows that the genetic material of viruses is DNA.
Medicine
Floyd Lewis uses hypothermia (lowing a patients body temperature) in open heart surgery.
Medicine
Epidemic: In the worst polio epidemic since 1916, polio takes 3,300 lives out of 57,628 cases reported.
Medicine
Vaccines: Jonas Salk (1914- 1995) develops the first polio vaccine.
Inventions
The History of Toys: Jack Odell invents the original Matchbox car when he makes a small brass model of a Road Roller and puts it into a matchbox so that his daughter could bring it to school. Today, 100 million Matchbox cars are sold each year.
Technology
More than 2000 new television broadcasting stations open; about 65 million people watch the presidential nomination conventions.
Arts and Letters
Literature: Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964) writes "Wise Blood," a novel about a religious fanatic.
Arts and Letters
Hemingway (1899-1961) publishes "The Old Man and the Sea."
Ford, Betty
John “Jack” Gardner Ford (1952- ), son of Gerald and Betty Ford, is born March 16.
Carter, Rosalynn
Donnell Jeffrey “Jeff” Carter (1952- ), son of James “Jimmy” and Rosalynn Carter, is born August 18.
Reagan, Nancy
Patricia “Patti Davis” Ann Reagan (1952- ), daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, is born October 22.
Economics
A complaint is filed against IBM, alleging monopolistic practices in its computer business, in violation of the Sherman Act.
Daily Life
The History of Toys: Banking on the idea that children like to play with their food, Hasbro introduces Mr. Potato Head.
Sports
Racecar driver John Cobb is killed while attempting to set the water speed-record in Scotland.
Sports
The NFL buys the New York Yankees.
Popular Culture
Panty raids take place on college campuses throughout the country.
Popular Culture
Hollywood develops three-dimensional movies. Natural Vision (3-D) films must be viewed through special glasses; after brief success, the novelty wears off.
Religion
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible for Protestants is publishes; it is edited by 32 scholars who have been at work since 1937.
Reform
Peace Corps: Since the end of the Second World War, various members of the United States Congress have proposed bills to establish volunteer organizations in the Third World. In 1952 Senator Brien McMahon (1903-1952) (Dem. Connecticut) proposed an "army" of young Americans to act as "missionaries of democracy". Privately funded non-religious organizations have been sending volunteers overseas since the 1950s.
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1953
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
Chief Justices: President Dwight D. Eisenhower nominates Earl Warren as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; the Senate confirms his nomination in 1954 and he serves for fifteen years until his retirement in 1969.
Politics
President Eisenhower (1890-1969) gets increasing pressure to take on McCarthy (1908-1957) from friends and advisors. Business leaders recognize that McCarthy is a danger to the party.
Government
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) is inaugurated as the 34th President of the U.S. and Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994) is inaugurated as the 36th Vice President.
Government
Immigration: Congress amends the 1948 refugee policy to allow for the admission of 200,000 more refugees.
Government
A new Cabinet-level Department of Health, Education, and Welfare is created.
Government
Native Americans: Congress proposes giving individual Indians the same civil status as U.S. citizens, thus ending all limitations on Indian tribes.
Government
Tito (1892-1980) is elected the first president of the Republic of Yugoslavia.
Government
Dag Hammarskjold (1905-1961) of Sweden becomes the Secretary General of the United Nations.
War
U.S blockade of Formosa is lifted, permitting attacks by Nationalists on China’s mainland.
War
Cold War: President Eisenhower (1890-1969) announces that the U.S. will not physically interfere in the affairs of countries behind the Iron Curtain.
War
Cold War: The U.S. Communist Party is ordered to register with the Department of Justice as an organization controlled and directed by the U.S.S.R.
War
Cold War: A federal jury in New York City convicts 13 Communists of conspiring to teach about how to overthrow the U.S. government.
Science
Francis H. Crick (1916-2004) and James Dewey Watson (1928- ) discover the structure of a DNA molecule; they call it the double helix.
Inventions
Transistorized hearing aids are introduced.
Technology
Harry Truman (1884-1972) announces that the U.S. has developed the hydrogen bomb.
Technology
A way of transmitting color TV signals that can be received by both color and black and white set is introduced.
Arts and Letters
Drama: Arthur Miller (1915-1005) publishes "The Crucible."
Arts and Letters
Literature: Richard Wright (1908-1961) publishes "The Outsider."
Bush, Barbara
John Ellis “Jeb” Bush (1953- ), son of George and Barbara Bush, is born February 11.
Bush, Barbara
Pauline Robinson “Robin” Bush (1949-1953), daughter of George and Barbara Bush, dies October 11 of leukemia.
Economics
Motor Company: Ford Motor Company celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Discovery
Women’s Firsts: Jerrie Cobb (1931- …) is the first woman in the U.S. to undergo astronaut testing. NASA, however, cancels the women''s program in 1963. It is not until 1983 that an American woman gets sent into space.
Daily Life
Fashion: Fashion designers become interested in men’s clothes. Bermuda shorts for the businessman are promoted and worn during the summer months.
Sports
Baseball: The New York Yankees defeat the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 50th annual World Series. The Yankees are the first team to win 5 consecutive series titles.
Sports
Golf: Golfer Ben Hogan (1912-1997) wins the Masters Tournament and the U.S. and British Open championships.
Sports
Maureen Connolly (1934-1969), age 19, is the first woman to win a “grand slam” in tennis.
Sports
Black Athletes: Football: Willie Thrower (1930-2002) becomes NFL''s first African-American quarterback.
Popular Culture
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) (1911-1989) gives birth to baby Ricky on the TV show, "I Love Lucy." More people turned in to watch the show than did to see the inauguration of President Dwight Eisenhower (1890-1969).
Popular Culture
The first three-D movie, "Bwana Devil," opens in New York.
Popular Culture
The Academy Awards are televised for the first time.
1954
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
Education: The Supreme Court rules in Brown v. Topeka Board of Education that “separate but equal” educational facilities are unconstitutional.
Government
The Senate censures Senator Joseph McCarthy (1908-1957) with a vote of 67-22, with 7 abstentions.
Government
The Communist Control Act deprives U.S. Communists of rights enjoyed by other U.S. citizens.
Government
U.S. signs pact with Nationalist China (now Taiwan).
War
America’s first nuclear-powered submarine, the U.S.S. Nautilus, is launched.
War
Senate approves U.S. South Korea Mutual Defense Treaty.
Medicine
The American Cancer Society reports higher death rates among cigarette smokers.
Inventions
Kurchatov (1903-1960) develops an icebreaker powered by nuclear energy.
Technology
U.S. and Canada announce the construction of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) line of radar stations across northern North America.
Technology
Battery Technology: RCA develops a flashlight-sized atomic battery.
Technology
The U.S. authorizes construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway in cooperation with Canada.
Education
Public Education: Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. The Supreme Court unanimously agrees that segregated schools are "inherently unequal" and must be abolished. Almost 45 years later in 1998, schools, especially in the north, are as segregated as ever.
Arts and Letters
Literature: J. R. R. Tolkien (1892-1973) publishes the epic fantasy trilogy "Lord of the Rings."
Arts and Letters
Literature: William Golding (1911-1993) publishes "Lord of the Flies."
Arts and Letters
Literature: Kingsley Amis (1922-1995) publishes "Lucky Jim."
Economics
The Atomic Energy Act allows for the development of peaceful atomic energy project by private companies, which are also allowed to own nuclear materials.
Discovery
Plant fossils are discovered in the Great Lakes.
Discovery
Temple of Mithras (Roman god, 3rd century B.C) is discovered during rebuilding in London.
Daily Life
26 comic book publishers adopt a voluntary code to eliminate obscene, vulgar, and horror comics.
Daily Life
The average American’s favorite meal is a fruit cup, vegetable soup, steak and potatoes, peas, rolls and butter, and pie a la mode.
Sports
Baseball: Hank Aaron (1934- ) hits the first of his 755 home runs.
Sports
Horse Racing: Gordon Richards (1904-1986) is the first professional jockey to be knighted.
Sports
British runner Diane Leather (1933-) is the first woman to run the mile in under 5 minutes.
Popular Culture
The first Newport Jazz festival takes place.
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1955
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
Winston Churchill (1874-1965) resigns as Prime Minister of England.
War
Congress authorizes the President to use force, if necessary, to protect Nationalist China against Communist attack.
War
Cold War: Federal employees who are “security risks” continue to be dismissed an ongoing policy since 1953.
Science
The National Geographic Society suggests that the blue-green areas on Mars are living plants.
Medicine
Vaccines: The polio vaccine created by Dr. Jonas Salk (1914-1995) is called “safe, effective and potent.”
Technology
Electricity for public use is produced on a limited and experimental basis at a nuclear reactor.
Education
Libraries: The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County opens a new main library.
Education
Public Education: Brown v. Board: In Brown II, the Court orders that desegregation should occur “with all deliberate speed.” Unfortunately, the vagueness of this phrase, combined with the unwillingness of many states to desegregate, meant that many states were able to postpone any desegregation. Anger over these delays and a growing frustration over the continued disenfranchisement of African-Americans helped launch the Civil Rights Movement.
Arts and Letters
Marian Anderson (1897-1993) makes her Metropolitan Opera debut.
Arts and Letters
Literature: Thomas Merton (1915-1968) publishes "No Man is an Island."
Arts and Letters
Drama: Tennesse Williams (1911-1983) writes "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."
Bush, Barbara
Neil Mallon Bush (1955- ), son of George and Barbara Bush, is born January 22.
Economics
The Labor Movement: American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) merge.
Economics
Commercial television broadcasting begins in Britain.
Daily Life
On July 17, Arco, Idaho, becomes the first town to have all its electrical needs generated by a nuclear power plant.
Daily Life
New York also draws power from a nuclear power plant.
Popular Culture
President Eisenhower (1890-1969) approves the first filming of a news conference for television.
Popular Culture
The first McDonald’s restaurant is opened by Ray Kroc (1902-1984) in Des Plaines, Illinois.
Popular Culture
Jim Henson (1936-1990) creates Kermit the frog.
Popular Culture
Rock ‘n’ roll music is attacked as “immoral” and is thought to contribute to juvenile delinquency.
Religion
Ordination of women ministers is approved by the Presbyterian Church.
Reform
Civil Rights Movement: Blacks boycott city bus lines in Montgomery, Alabama. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968), boycott leader, gains national prominence for advocating passive resistance to segregation in public places.
Reform
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) encourages and supports segregation movement throughout the country.
1956
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Politics
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) and Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994) are reelected as President and Vice President of the United States
Government
The Agriculture (Soil Bank) Act pays farmers to take cropland out of production in order to reduce crop surpluses.
Government
The Federal Aid Highway Act authorizes a 13-year intra and interstate highway building program to be funded by tolls paid by motorists.
Government
Morocco gains its independence from France.
Science
The neutrino, a subatomic particle with no charge, is observed.
Medicine
The National Cancer Institute proposes that increased rates of lung cancer may be due to air pollution.
Medicine
The National Academy of Science reports that any radiation, even small amounts, can cause genetic damage.
Inventions
The Hovercraft is invented.
Technology
England opens the world’s first major atomic power plant for the production of electricity.
Technology
Personal Computers: The first transistorized computer is completed, the TX-O (Transistorized Experimental computer), at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Ideas
Charles T.R. Wilson (1869-1959) proposes a theory of thunderstorm electricity.
Ford, Betty
Steven Meigs Ford (1956- ), son of Gerald and Betty Ford, is born May 19.
Bush, Barbara
Marvin Pierce Bush (1956- ), son of George and Barbara Bush, is born December 22.
Economics
The Ford Motor Company goes public and, on Feb. 24, 1956, they have about 350,000 new stockholders.
Economics
A U.S. District Court makes a final judgment on the complaint against IBM filed in January 1952 regarding monopolistic practices. A "consent decree" is signed by IBM, placing limitations on how IBM conducts business with respect to "electronic data processing machines.”
Discovery
The Palace of Emperor Diocletian (Roman Emperor A.D. 285-305) is excavated in Split, Yugoslavia
Daily Life
Barnum & Bailey Circus performs its last show under canvas.
Daily Life
The History of Toys: Play-doh enters the market as a wallpaper cleaner. Non-toxic and less messy than regular modeling clay, it is soon recognized that the cleaner makes an excellent toy.
Sports
Boxing: Rocky Marciano (1923-1969) retires as undefeated world heavyweight boxing champion.
Sports
Black Athletes: Mildred McDaniel's (1933-…) winning high jump in Melbourne, Australia, makes her the first African-American woman to win an Olympic gold medal.
Popular Culture
Elvis Presley’s (1935-1977) record, "Heartbreak Hotel," hits No. 1 on the pop charts.
Popular Culture
Movies and movie stars are allowed to appear on TV for the first time.
Popular Culture
The Broadway musical, "My Fair Lady" gains recognition.
Popular Culture
Dizzie Gillespie (1917-1993) and his band are sent by the U.S. State Department on a goodwill tour-the first jazz musicians to be subsidized by the U.S. government.
Social Issues
Segregation: Southern Congressman call on states to resist “by all lawful means” the Supreme Court ruling against segregation in the public schools.
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1957
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
The U.S. proposes a 10-month halt to nuclear testing as a first step toward disarmament.
Government
Stamps: The Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee is created to provide advice to the Postmaster General on the subject matter and design of US stamps.
War
World War II: U.S. occupation forces leave Japan.
War
A Senate subcommittee holds hearings on U.S. preparedness to withstand Soviet military attack.
Science
The Federation of American Scientists urges a worldwide ban on nuclear weapon testing.
Science
Space Race: In October, the Soviet Union successfully launches the first artificial satellite, called Sputnik I (the Russian word for "traveler"; in November, they launch Sputnik 2, which carries a small dog named Laika into orbit.
Medicine
Vaccines: Albert Sabin (1906-1993) begins human trials on his oral polio vaccine.
Medicine
Daniele Bovet (1896-1980) wins the Nobel Prize for his discovery of antihistamines and muscle relaxing drugs.
Medicine
Walter Grey Walter (1910-1977) invents the brain EEG topography (toposcope).
Technology
Perceptron, a bionic computer that prints, writes, and responds to spoken commands is developed.
Education
Public Education: A federal court orders integration of Little Rock, Arkansas public schools. Governor Orval Faubus sends his National Guard to physically prevent nine African American students from enrolling at all-white Central High School. Reluctantly, President Eisenhower sends federal troops to enforce the court order not because he supports desegregation, but because he can't let a state governor use military power to defy the U.S. federal government.
Kennedy, Jackie
Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg (1957-), daughter of John and Jacqueline Kennedy, is born November 27.
Ford, Betty
Susan Ford Vance Bales (1957- ), daughter of Gerald and Betty Ford, is born July 6.
Economics
America’s first large nuclear power plant opens in Shippingport, Pa.
Economics
American Money: Paper currency is first issued with "In God We Trust" as required by Congress in 1955.
Daily Life
Fashion: The sack dress, unfitted material that drapes the body, is the fashion of the year.
Sports
Baseball: The Dodgers leave Brooklyn for Los Angeles. The Giants leave New York for San Francisco. Major league baseball finally reaches the west coast.
Sports
Women in Sports: Black Athletes: Althea Gibson (1927-2003) becomes the first black person to play in and win Wimbledon and the United States national tennis championship. She won both tournaments twice, in 1957 and 1958.
Popular Culture
The Beatles: John Lennon (1940-1980) meets Paul McCartney (1942- ) on July 6, 1957.
1958
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
Nikita Khrushchev (1894-1971) becomes Soviet premier and first secretary of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union.
Government
The Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) is established to ensure air safety.
War
The Defense Reorganization Act centralizes defense structure so that the U.S. can respond more quickly to a nuclear attack by the U.S.S.R.
Science
Space Race: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is established.
Technology
Space Race: Explorer I, the first U.S. earth satellite, is launched; Explorer II is launched, but fails to make orbit; the Soviet Union launches Sputnit 3; the U.S. launches Vanguard 1, which functions for 3 years.
Technology
Stereo LPs are introduced.
Technology
There are 160 electronic computers in use in Europe (1000 in U.S.)
Technology
Personal Computers: At Texas Instruments, Jack Kilby (1923-2005) completes building the first integrated circuit, containing five components on a piece of germanium half an inch long and thinner than a toothpick.
Education
The Supreme Court orders states to not delay public school desegregation.
Education
The National Defense Education Act is signed; this authorizes low-interest, long-term tuition loans to college and graduate students.
Education
Crayola: Prussian blue, the first Crayola crayon color to get a new name, becomes "midnight blue." Teachers prompted the change, as children could no longer relate to Prussian history.
Arts and Letters
American Theatre: Television penetration reaches 85% of population.
Arts and Letters
Drama: Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) publishes "Suddenly Last Summer."
Ideas
Bionics is a word coined to describe artificial machines or systems that work and or look like living systems.
Reagan, Nancy
Ronald Prescott Reagan (1958- ), son of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, is born May 20.
Discovery
Sir Edmund Hillary (1919- ) reaches the South Pole overland.
Discovery
Explorer Sir Vivian Fuchs (1908-1999) completes the first crossing of Antarctica by land.
Daily Life
The first parking meters are used in London.
Daily Life
Crayola: The Crayola 64 Box with its signature built-in sharpener debuts, becoming the perennial favorite of Crayola colorers for more than 40 years.
Sports
Black Athletes: Willie O’Ree (1935-…) is one of the NHL hockey players in Boston Bruins.
Sports
Women in Sports: Women are admitted to the international cycling championships.
Popular Culture
At age 14, Bobby Fischer (1943- ) wins the U.S. Chess Championship for the first time.
Popular Culture
Rock ‘n’ roll star Elvis Presley (1935-1977) begins a two-year hitch in the U.S. army.
Popular Culture
Duke Ellington (1899-1974) composes the song "Satin Doll."
Religion
U.S. churches report large increases in membership since 1950.
Religion
Judaism: The Supreme Religious Center for World Jewry is dedicated in Jerusalem, Israel.
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1959
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
The Supreme Court rules that a person can be tried for the same offense in both state and federal courts (double jeopardy).
Government
New State: Alaska becomes the 49th state in the Union.
Government
Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970) becomes the first president of France’s Fifth Republic.
Government
Fidel Castro (1926- ) becomes the leader of Cuba after having ousted the right-wing dictator, Fulgencio Batista (1901-1973).
Government
American Flag: The Executive Order of President Eisenhower dated January 3, 1959 establishes the arrangement of the stars in seven rows of seven stars each, staggered horizontally and vertically.
Science
International Atomic Energy Agency is formed to explore peaceful uses of atomic energy.
Science
Heat produced in a nuclear reaction is converted directly into electricity via a plasma thermocouple.
Science
Space Race: NASA selects the first 7 astronauts.
Technology
Space Race: The first spacecraft to orbit the Sun, Mechta (Luna 1) is launched by the USSR in January; Luna 2 impacts the moon in September; Luna 3 orbits the moon in October, photographing 70% of its surface.
Technology
GE demonstrates a radio-optical telescope tracking station for following and monitoring space vehicles.
Technology
Personal Computers: At Fairchild Semiconductor, Robert Noyce (1927-1990) constructs an integrated circuit with components connected by aluminum lines on a silicon-oxide surface layer on a plane of silicon.
Technology
Space Race: The U.S. launches Pioneer 4, which passes within 37,000 miles of the moon.
Arts and Letters
American Theatre: The San Francisco Mime Troupe created by R. G. Davis is established.
Arts and Letters
American Theatre: The Ford Foundation funds the regional theatre program but it cannot continue because of a lack of subsequent investments.
Arts and Letters
Drama: Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965) publishes "Raisin in the Sun."
Arts and Letters
Drama: Eugene Ionesco (1912-1994) writes the play "Rhinoceros."
Bush, Barbara
Lives of the First Ladies: Dorothy “Doro” Bush Koch (1959- ), daughter of George and Barbara Bush, is born August 18.
Economics
The Ford Motor Company establishes what today is the industry’s largest automobile leasing company known as Ford Credit. More than 40 years later, it’s still helping make vehicle ownership a more affordable reality for many.
Daily Life
The History of Toys: The Barbie doll is introduced at the American Toy Fair in New York City by Elliot Handler, founder of Mattel Toys, and his wife, Ruth.
Sports
The largest fish ever hooked with a rod and reel is landed by Alfred Dean in South Australia; the fish is a white shark measuring 16 feet and 10 inches and weighed 2,664 pounds.
Sports
Football: The American Football League is formed.
Popular Culture
Richard Rodgers (1902-1979) and Oscar Hammerstein (1895-1960) compose the score for "The Sound of Music."
Religion
The Dalai Lama receives political asylum from India, after fleeing Chinese repression of a Tibetan revolt.
Religion
Pope John XXIII (1881-1963) calls for Vatican Council II, the first ecumenical council since 1870.
Social Issues
Immigration: Fidel Castro’s Cuban revolution prompts mass exodus of more than 200,000 people within three years.
Reform
Labor Movement: Nationwide steel strike lasts 116 days; this is the longest steel strike in U.S. history.
1960
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
The Twenty-third Amendment to the Constitution, enabling residents of the District of Columbia to vote for President and Vice President in national elections, is passed by Congress.
Politics
John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) is elected as the 35th President of the United States, and Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) is elected as the nation's 37th Vice President.
Politics
President Eisenhower (1890-1969) makes goodwill tours in the Far East and Latin America.
Government
Women’s Firsts: Oveta Culp Hobby (1905-1995) becomes the first woman to serve as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. She is also the first director of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), and the first woman to receive the U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal.
War
Cuban Missile Crisis: December 19, Cuba openly aligns itself with the Soviet Union and their policies.
War
Cold War: U-2 photographic reconnaissance plane is shot down over Soviet territory. Premier Khrushchev denounces U.S. spying missions.
War
U.S. warns North Vietnam and Communist China not to intervene militarily in Laos.
Science
Nobel Prize in chemistry goes to W. Libby (1908-1980) for developing radiocarbon dating.
Science
D. Glaser (1926-) is awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for inventing the bubble chamber.
Technology
Space Race: The world’s first meteorological satellite, Tiros I, is launched to provide pictures of cloud cover.
Technology
Airplanes: The X-15, an experimental rocket powered airplane, is flown at 2196 mph.
Technology
Personal Computers: Digital Equipment introduces the first minicomputer, the PDP-1, selling for $120,000. It is the first commercial computer equipped with a keyboard and monitor.
Technology
Space Race: The U.S. launches Discoverer XIV, its first camera-equipped spy satellite.
Arts and Letters
Literature: Harper Lee (1926- ) publishes "To Kill a Mockingbird."
Kennedy, Jackie
John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. (1960-1999), son of John and Jacqueline Kennedy, is born November 25.
Economics
Peace Corps: John F. Kennedy launches the idea of the Peace Corps at the University of Michigan during a campaign stop in his presidential bid. Critics of the program (including Kennedy''s opponent, Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994)) claim the program will be nothing but a haven for draft dodgers. Others doubt whether college-aged volunteers have the necessary skills.
Discovery
Women’s Firsts: Jacqueline Cochran (1906-1980) breaks the sound barrier by flying an F-86 over Rogers Dry Lake, California, at the speed of 652.337 miles per hour.
Daily Life
Disasters: A United Airlines plane collides with a Trans World Airlines plane in a fog over New York City; the crash kills a total of 134 people on board and on the ground.
Daily Life
Women’s transcontinental air race is won by Mrs. Aileen Saunders. She flies 2709 miles in 18 hours and 7 minutes.
Daily Life
The History of Toys: Ohio Art markets the first Etch-a-Sketch, invented by Arthur Granjean in the late 1950s, and originally called L'Ecran Magique.
Sports
Black Athletes: Rafer Johnson 91935-…) is named by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) to be the recipient of the James E. Sullivan Memorial Award in 1960, the highest award for an amateur athlete in the United States
Popular Culture
Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) releases the suspense thriller, "Psycho."
Popular Culture
The Beatles: Coming together as The Fabulous Silver Beatles, later shortened to The Beatles, the name of the band is a tribute to Buddy Holly's (1936-1959) band, The Crickets, combined with beat music, a common British term for rock and roll at the time.
Popular Culture
Chubby Checker (1941-) causes an international dance craze when he records "The Twist."
Popular Culture
Popular musicals include "The Fantasticks," "Bye, Bye Birdie," and "Camelot."
Religion
Three women are ordained as priests in the Swedish Lutheran Church.
Reform
Civil Rights Movement: Four black college students begin a series of sit-ins at a white-only lunch counter in Woolworth’s, Greensboro, South Carolina.
Reform
Peace Corps: John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) first announces his idea for a volunteer organization during the 1960 presidential campaign at a late-night speech at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on October 14.
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1961
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
The Twenty-third Amendment to the Constitution, enabling residents of the District of Columbia to vote for President and Vice President in national elections, is ratified by two-thirds of the states and added to the Constitution.
Government
John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) is inaugurated as the 35th President of the United States, and Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) is inaugurated as the nation's 37th Vice President.
Government
Space Race: President Kennedy (1917-1963) addresses Congress, challenging the nation to go to the moon before the end of the decade.
Government
Peace Corps: President Kennedy (1917-1963) signs an Executive Order which officially starts the Peace Corps, and names Sargent Shriver (1915-) to be the program's first director. Concerned with the growing tide of revolutionary sentiment in the Third World, Kennedy saw the Peace Corps as a means of countering the notions of the "Ugly American" and "Yankee imperialism," especially in the emerging nations of postcolonial Africa and Asia.
War
Cuban Missile Crisis: Fifteen hundred Cuban exiles unsuccessfully attempt to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs; U.S. support for the attack is equally unsuccessful; President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) accepts sole responsibility for the Bay of Pigs failure.
Science
The Institute for Space Studies holds a two-month seminar on the origin of the solar system.
Medicine
The Chicago Heart Association begins recording children’s heart sounds as a means of detecting defects.
Technology
Space Race: Soviet cosmonaut Yuri A. Gagarin becomes the first human in space and also the first human to orbit the earth in a spacecraft; later in the year, Gherman Titov spends a day in space aboard Vostok 2.
Technology
Transit 4A, a communications satellite, is the first spacecraft to use nuclear power.
Education
Civil Rights Movement: This year marks the beginning of the Freedom Rides, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s only visit to Seattle where he spoke at two assemblies at Garfield High School.
Arts and Letters
Literature: "Tropic of Cancer" and "Tropic of Capricorn," two novels by Henry Miller (1891-1980), are published in the U.S. after a 30- year ban for obscenity.
Arts and Letters
American Theatre: The Bread and Puppet Theatre is created; the form is expressionistic and propagandistic. It uses puppets and masked actors who ritually offer bread to the audience.
Ideas
Murray Gell-Mann (1929- ) develops the Eight-Fold Way, a method of grouping subatomic particles into families.
Economics
Peace Corps: President Kennedy (1917-1963) establishes the Peace Corps to give trained manpower and technical assistance to underdeveloped countries.
Discovery
Space Race: Alan B. Shepard becomes the first American in space; Gus Grissom is launched in a sub-orbital flight.
Daily Life
France and England connect their electrical grids with a cable submerged in the English Channel.
Daily Life
President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) holds the first presidential news conference carried live on radio and television.
Daily Life
Disasters: A fire in Bel Air-Brentwood destroys 447 homes, including some owned by well-known Hollywood figures.
Sports
Baseball: Roger Maris (1934-1985) of the New York Yankees hits his 60th home run and sets the record for a 162-game schedule.
Sports
Women in Sports: Black Athletes: Wilma Rudolph (1940-1994) is the first African-American woman to receive the Sullivan Award (1961), the highest award in U.S. amateur sports.
Popular Culture
The Beatles: Brian Epstein (1934-1967) agrees to become the band's full-time manager.
Popular Culture
The Beatles: The Beatles play their first gig at Liverpool's Cavern Club, return to Hamburg, record backing for the singer Tony Sheridan; the single, "My Bonnie", was released in Germany, and credited to Tony Sheridan and the Beat Boys. It was the Beatles' first commercial release.
Popular Culture
Pete Seeger (1919- ) composes “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.”
Religion
The American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America merge to form the Unitarian Universalists
Social Issues
Immigration: The Cuban Refugee Program handles influx of immigrants to Miami with 300,000 immigrants relocated across the U.S. during the next two decades.
Social Issues
Native Americans: Over 500 Native Americans gather for the American Indian Chicago Conference to support tribal sovereignty and survival.
Reform
Women's Rights Movement: In Hoyt v. Florida, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds rules adopted by the state of Florida that made it far less likely for women than men to be called for jury service on the grounds that a “woman is still regarded as the center of home and family life.”
1962
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
Education: The Supreme Court rules that public schools cannot require the recitation of prayers because it violates the First Amendment to the Constitution.
Law
The Twenty-Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, banning poll taxes, is passed by Congress.
Government
Stamps: The first U.S. Christmas stamp is issued.
Government
The Trade Expansion Act gives the President the right to reduce tariffs and to assist companies hurt by lower duties.
War
Cold War: The Soviet Union exchanges captured American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers (1929-1977) for Rudolph Abel, a Soviet spy held by the United States.
War
Vietnam War: U.S. troops on a training mission in Vietnam are ordered to fire if fired upon by enemy troops. A new military command, known as the Military Assistance Command (MAC) is set up in South Vietnam.
War
Cuban Missile Crisis: In a face-to-face standoff with Cuba over Russian missils on the island 90 miles from the continental United States, President Kennedy and Nikita Krushchev bring the world to the brink of war, the Kremlin ultimately agrees to remove the missiles.
Science
Marshall Nirenberg (1927- ) discovers the genetic code (DNA structure) for amino acid.
Science
Jacques Cousteau (1910-1997) publishes "The Living Sea," a work about underwater life.
Medicine
Cadrioversion, the use of electric shock to restore a regular heartbeat, is introduced.
Medicine
Vaccines: First Oral Polio Vaccine is used.
Technology
Space Race: John Glenn (1921- ) becomes the first American to orbit the Earth three times; Scott Carpenter repleats that feat; Walter Schirra orbits six times. Mariner 2 flies past Venus, and NASA selects its second group of astronauts.
Technology
Space Race: The Soviets launch two manned spacecrafts: Vostok 3 and Vostok 4.
Ideas
Jessica Mitford (1917-1996) publishes the controversial book "The American Way of Death;" it creates a great deal of interest in low cost yet very dignified burials.
Daily Life
The World’s Fair, Century 21 Exposition, opens in Seattle. The 600-ft Space Needle with a revolving restaurant on top is a popular attraction.
Daily Life
British weather reports give temperatures in Celsius as well as Fahrenheit.
Daily Life
History of Toys: Crayola: The Company renames the flesh crayon "peach" to recognize that not everyone’s skin color is the same.
Sports
Women in Sports: Black Athletes: Jackie Robinson (1919–1972) becomes the first African American to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Sports
Basketball: Philadelphia basketball star Wilt Chamberlain (1936-1999) scores an NBA-record 100 points in a single game.
Popular Culture
The Beatles: Brian Epstein arranges for the Beatles to audition for Decca Records, which rejects the band on the grounds that guitar music is "on the way out"; they are later signed by EMI.
Religion
Pope John XXIII (1881-1963) excommunicates Fidel Castro (1926).
Religion
The Vatican Council II opens in Rome, called by Pope John XXIII (in 1959) to promote Christian unity.
Reform
American Protest Music: “The Death of Emmett Till” is composed by Bob Dylan (1941-) during the Civil Rights Movement.
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1963
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
In "Gideon v. Wainwright," the Supreme Court holds that public defenders must be provided for indigent defendants in felony cases.
Government
George Wallace (1919-1998), sworn in as Alabama’s governor, promises “segregation forever.”
Government
Stamps: The Zone Improvement Plan (ZIP) code -- a five digit number -- began on July 1, 1963. The first number designates the state or area; the next two numbers, the area within that state or area; and the last two digits, the office itself.
Government
Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) is inaugurated as the nation's 36th President upon the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963). No new Vice President is selected.
War
The U.S. and the U.S.S.R. agree to set up a “hot-line,” a direct telephone link between Washington and Moscow, to prevent the start of nuclear war by accident.
Medicine
Dr. Michael E. DeBakey (1908-2008) develops a mechanical heart that is implanted in the chest to help the patient’s own heart pump.
Medicine
Vaccines: John F. Enders (1897-1985), T. H Weller (1915-2005), and Frederick C. Robbins (1916-2003) develop an effective measles vaccine.
Inventions
Computers: Douglas Engelbart (1925- ) invents the mouse pointing device for computers.
Technology
Polaroid introduces color film.
Technology
Color TV is relayed via satellite for the first time.
Education
An education report in Britain indicates that children should not be allowed to leave school before age 16.
Education
Libraries: Detroit Public Library issues skates to library student assistants so they can move quickly in the 230-foot-long stacks.
Arts and Letters
American Theatre: The Free Southern Theatre is formed with the intention of raisin cultural awareness of blacks through white tradition.
Arts and Letters
Literature: Susan Sontag (1933- ) publishes "The Benefactor," a novel about people who are unable to distinguish reality from fantasy.
Arts and Letters
Soviet authorities begin a campaign to suppress “artistic rebels.”
Kennedy, Jackie
Patrick Bouvier Kennedy (1963), son of John and Jacqueline Kennedy, is born prematurely on August 7 at Otis Air Force Base, Massachusetts and dies August 9 of the same year in Boston because his lungs were too undeveloped to sustain him.
Daily Life
Crime and Punishment: Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco Bay, is closed.
Daily Life
Winston Churchill (1874-1965) posthumously becomes the first honorary U.S. citizen.
Popular Culture
The first discotheque, the Whiskey-A-Go-Go, opens in Los Angeles.
Popular Culture
"General Hospital," the daytime soap opera, airs on ABC for the first time.
Popular Culture
"Cleopatra," the most expensive motion picture to date ($37 million), opens in New York City and in theatres nationwide.
Popular Culture
The Beatles: Beatlemania as a chaotic cultural phenomenon begins in Britain on October 13, 1963 with a televised appearance at the London Palladium.
Religion
The Catholic Church approves the use of vernacular languages- English in the U.S. - in place of Latin for parts of the Mass and for sacraments.
Reform
Civil Rights Movement: Civil rights demonstrations occur throughout the country. Medgar W. Evers (1925-1963), Field Secretary for the NAACP, is shot an killed in Jackson, Mississippi.
Reform
Women's Rights Movement: The Equal Pay Act is passed by Congress, promising equitable wages for the same work, regardless of the race, color, religion, national origin or sex of the worker.
1964
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
The 24th Amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting poll taxes, is ratified by two-thirds of the states and added to the Constitution.
Politics
Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) is elected President of the U.S. in his own right, and Hubert H. Humphrey (1911-1978) is elected the 38th Vice President.
Government
Stamps: The United States starts printing stamps of different designs on one sheet known as se-tenants. The Christmas issue of 1964 was the first year different designs were printed on the same pane of stamps.
Government
Women’s Firsts: Margaret Chase Smith (1897-1995), of Maine, becomes the first woman nominated for president of the United States by a major political party, at the Republican National Convention in San Francisco.
Government
Civil Rights Movement: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ensures voting rights and prohibits housing discrimination.
Government
Lyndon Johnson (1908-1973) announces his war on poverty.
Science
The U.S. Navy begins its Sealab experimental program to determine if people can live and work for extended periods of time at the bottom of the ocean.
Science
British scientists leave England in large numbers for the U.S. - the “Brain Drain.”
Medicine
The first government report regarding the dangers of cigarette smoking is issued by Luther Terry (1911-1985), the U.S. Surgeon General.
Medicine
Vaccines: First vaccine for Measles is used.
Inventions
Bullet train transportation is invented.
Technology
Personal Computers: At Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire, the BASIC programming language runs for the first time. Developed by professors John Kemeny (1926-1992) and Thomas Kurtz (1928 -), BASIC is an acronym for Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.
Education
Libraries: Twenty-five Freedom Libraries are established throughout Mississippi by a group of librarian volunteers in the civil rights movement.
Education
Public Education: Civil Rights Movement: In response to protests, and the often violent reaction to them, Congress passed several pieces of legislation seeking to end racial discrimination. These included the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Higher Education Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Bilingual Education Act.
Education
Public Education: Despite a number of Supreme Court cases and national legislation, less than 1 percent of all black children in the south went to a desegregated school.
Arts and Letters
American Theatre: The Black Arts Repertoire Theatre School is formed.
Arts and Letters
Architecture: Edward Durell Stone (1902-1978) designs the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. D.C.
Ideas
Walter R. Hess (1881-1973) publishes "The Biology of the Mind."
Economics
Ford introduces its Mustang at the New York World''s Fair.
Daily Life
Crime and Punishment: Jack Ruby (1911-1967) is found guilty of the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald (1939-1963), alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963).
Daily Life
Disasters: The most violent earthquake (8.3) in North America strikes Anchorage, Alaska.
Sports
Boxing: Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) (1942- ) becomes world heavyweight boxing champion for the first time by knocking out Sonny Liston (1932-1971) in Miami Beach.
Popular Culture
The Beatles: The Beatles arrive in the U.S. for the first time, appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show; they also release their first album, "Meet the Beatles."
Popular Culture
The Rolling Stones release their first album.
Popular Culture
"Mary Poppins," a film starring Dick van Dyke (1925- ) and Julie Andrews (1935- ) becomes the most successful Disney film to date.
Reform
Women's Rights Movement: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act passes including a prohibition against employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex.
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1965
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
The Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, establishing Presidential succession, is passed by Congress.
Government
Immigration: The Immigration Act of 1965 abolishes quota system in favor of quota systems with 20,000 immigrants per country limits. Preference is given to immediate families of immigrants and skilled workers.
Government
Women’s Firsts: Patsy Takemoto Mink (1927—2002), of Hawaii, is the first Asian-American woman elected to Congress. She served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 24 years.
Government
Capital Punishment: The death penalty is abolished in Britain.
Government
Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) is inaugurated President of the U.S. in his own right, and Hubert H. Humphrey (1911-1978) is inaugurated as the 38th Vice President.
Government
The Maple Leaf Flag officially becomes the new national flag of Canada.
Science
Nobel Prize for Chemistry goes to R. Woodard for developing methods of synthesizing organic substances.
Medicine
Frank Pantridge (1916- 2004) installs the first portable defibrillator.
Technology
Space Race: Soviet cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov becomes the first man to walk in space.
Education
Public Education: The U.S. spends more than $26.2 billion for public school education: $654 per student.
Arts and Letters
Poetry: "Ariel," a collection of poems by Sylvia Plath (1932-1963), is published posthumously by her husband, English poet, Ted Hughes (1930-1998).
Arts and Letters
Drama: Neil Simon (1927- ) writes the play "The Odd Couple."
Arts and Letters
American Theatre: The El Teatro Campesino is established by Luis Valdez for National Farm Workers Association; the purpose of the organization is to perform dramatizations that can educate farm laborers in California.
Arts and Letters
The National Endowment of the Arts is established and begins a period of development of federal public support for major regional arts institutions.
Discovery
Sandage (1926- ) discovers blue galaxies. They are similar to quasars, but do not give off radio waves.
Discovery
Space Exploration: France becomes the third country with space exploration capabilities when they launch their satellite A-1.
Daily Life
There are more than 5 million color television sets in the U.S.
Daily Life
The History of Toys: Stanley Weston creates a doll for boys--G.I. Joe--based on a new television show called "The Lieutenant."
Sports
Women in Sports: Golf: The Women''s Golf Open is televised nationally for the first time.
Popular Culture
The popular game show "Jeopardy" debuts on television.
Popular Culture
Sonny Bono (1935-1998) and his wife Cher (1946- ) achieve fame with their song “I Got You, Babe.”
Popular Culture
The Beatles: Queen Elizabeth II (1926- ) awards each of the four Beatles Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).
Popular Culture
The Beatles: The Beatles start their second North American tour at Shea Stadium, which is the first rock concert to be held in a venue of that size.
Social Issues
Immigration: “Freedom flight” airlifts begin for Cuban refugees assisting more than 260,000 people over the next eight years.
Reform
Civil Rights Movement: Peaceful civil rights marchers from Selma, Alabama, and brutally attacked with billy clubs and tear gas by police on the Edmund Pettus Bridge; the event becomes known as “Bloody Sunday.”
Reform
Civil Rights Movement: Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) again leads the start of a civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama; on March 25, the 25,000-person march ends its journey on the steps of the State Capitol in Montgomery.
Reform
Women's Rights Movement: Weeks v. Southern Bell, 408 F. 2d. 228 (5th Cir. 1969), marks a major triumph in the fight against restrictive labor laws and company regulations on the hours and conditions of women's work, opening many previously male-only jobs to women.
1966
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
Civil Rights Movement: The Supreme Court upholds the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Politics
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (1952- …), of Florida, becomes the first Hispanic woman elected to Congress. She serves in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Government
Immigration: The Cuban Refugee Act permits more than 400,000 people to enter the United States.
Government
Indira Gandhi (1917-1984) is elected prime minister of India.
Government
The Cabinet-level Department of Transportation is established.
War
Vietnam War: The U.S. increases its military strength in Vietnam and its bombing of the North.
Science
President Johnson’s (1908-1973) Science Advisory Committee publishes "Effective Use of the Sea."
Inventions
The History of Toys: Elliot Handler, one of the co-founders of Mattel, Inc., invents Hot Wheels when he decides to add axles and rotating wheels to small model cars.
Technology
Personal Computers: Steven Gray founds the Amateur Computer Society, and begins publishing the ACS Newsletter. (Some consider this to be the birth-date of personal computing).
Technology
Space Race: Neil Armstrong (1930- ) and David Scott (1932- ), astronauts on board Gemini 8, rendezvous and dock with an unmanned target vehicle.
Technology
Space Race: Survivor I achieves a soft landing on the Moon and sends back 11,237 photographs.
Arts and Letters
Drama: Elia Kazan (1909-2003) writes the play, "The Arrangement."
Ideas
Francis Crick (1916-2004) publishes "Of Molecules and Men."
Economics
Railroad History: The Interstate Commerce Commission approves the merger of the New York Central and the Pennsylvania railroads.
Economics
The Motor Vehicle Safety Act sets the standard for all American automobiles built after 1968.
Daily Life
The Uniform Time Act establishes that daylight savings time is to be observed throughout the country from the last Sunday in April until the last Sunday in October.
Daily Life
The Salvation Army celebrates its 100th anniversary.
Daily Life
Fashion: Miniskirts come into fashion.
Daily Life
Congress enacts the truth and packaging law, which requires that clear and correct statements about the ingredients in about 8000 drug, cosmetic, and food products are printed for the consumer.
Sports
Soccer: England defeats West Germany to win the World Cup in soccer.
Sports
Baseball: Astroturf, the first artificial sports surface, is installed in the Houston Astrodome.
Popular Culture
The Beatles: On July 2, 1966, The Beatles became the first musical group to perform at the Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo. The performance ignited a lot of protest from local citizens who felt that it was inappropriate for a rock-and-roll band to play at Budokan.
Popular Culture
"Batman" debuts on television.
Popular Culture
Tolkien’s "The Lord of the Rings" enjoys cultish popularity in the U.S.
Social Issues
Hate Groups: Ku Klux Klan makes attacks against blacks and civil rights workers in the South.
Reform
Civil Rights Movement: Race riots occur in slum areas of Chicago, Cleveland, and other cities. Congress authorizes funds to assist rebuilding programs.
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1967
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
The 25th Amendment to the Constitution, establishing presidential succession, is ratified by two-thirds of the states and added to the Constitution.
Law
Appointed by President Lyndon Johnson 1905-1973), Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) becomes the first African American to sit on the Supreme Court.
Government
The first African-American senator elected by popular vote, Edward Brooke (1919- ) of Massachusetts, takes his seat.
Government
Peace Corps: Until about 1967, applicants to the Peace Corps had to pass a placement test that tested "general aptitude" (knowledge of various skills needed for various Peace Corps assignments) and language aptitude.
Science
Kornberg (1918- ) synthesizes biologically active DNA.
Medicine
Electroencephalographs (EEG) are teamed with computers to test the hearing of infants.
Medicine
10 million children are vaccinated against measles.
Medicine
Aspirin is found to be a possible cause of ulcers.
Medicine
High blood cholesterol is determined to be a factor in heart disease.
Technology
Space Race: A fire on the launching pad kills astronauts Grissom (1926-1967), White (1930-1967), and Chaffee (1935-1967), and destroys the Apollo 1 spacecraft during a simulated launch at Cape Canaveral.
Technology
3-D holographic movies are developed, and computers are used to create music electronically.
Education
Evolution: Tennessee formally repeals the 1925 law banning the teaching of evolution made famous in the Scopes Trial
Arts and Letters
American Theatre: The New Lafayette Company is formed.
Johnson, Lady Bird
White House Wedding: Lynda Bird Johnson (1944-), daughter of Lady Bird (1912 -) and Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973), marries Charles S. Robb (1939 -) in the White House.
Carter, Rosalynn
Amy Carter Wentzel (1967- ), daughter of James “Jimmy” and Rosalynn Carter, is born October 19.
Economics
The establishment of Ford of Europe takes place.
Economics
Women’s Firsts: Muriel "Mickey" Siebert (1932- …) becomes the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange and the first woman to head one of its member firms.
Daily Life
Disasters: An oil tanker, the Torrey Canyon, is wrecked off the coast of Cornwall in England, spilling 919,000 barrels of oil into the sea.
Sports
Football: The first Super Bowl is played: Green Bay Packers 35, Kansas City Chiefs 10.
Sports
Baseball: Mickey Mantle (1931-1995) of the New York Yankees hits his 500th career homerun.
Sports
Women’s Firsts: Women in Sports: Black Athletes: Althea Gibson (1927-2003) is the first African-American tennis player to win a singles title at Wimbledon.
Popular Culture
The Beatles: On June 25, 1967 The Beatles performed "All You Need Is Love" for the Our World television special. It was the first television special to air worldwide. Singing backup for the Beatles were a number of artists including Eric Clapton (1945- ), and members of the Rolling Stones and The Who.
Popular Culture
Ira Levin (1929-2007) publishes "Rosemary’s Baby."
Popular Culture
Twiggy (1949- ), a British model, takes world fashion by storm.
Reform
Civil Rights Movement: Riots occur in black areas of Cleveland, Detroit, Newark, Boston, New Haven, and other cities.
1968
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Politics
Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994), a Republican, narrowly defeats Democrat Hubert Humphrey (1911-1978) to become the 37th President of the United States; Spiro T. Agnew (1918-1996) is elected as the nation's 39th Vice President.
Government
Civil Rights Movement: President Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) signs the 1968 Civil Rights Law.
Government
Native Americans: Title II of the Civil Rights Act gives full civil rights to individuals living under tribal law.
War
North Korea seizes the U.S. Navy ship Pueblo (the crew is released 11 months later).
War
Vietnam War: Viet Cong guerillas and North Vietnamese soldiers launch the Tet (New York) offensive.
War
Vietnam War: The My Lai massacre occurs in Vietnam.
Science
Geneticists reveal that some male criminals have an extra Y chromosome.
Science
James Watson (1928- ) publishes "The Double Helix," describing the DNA molecule.
Science
The discovery of a pulsar is announced.
Medicine
Surgeons experiment with animal hearts for transplants to human beings.
Medicine
Vaccines: The mumps vaccine, developed in 1966, is improved for human use.
Inventions
Computers: Hewlett-Packard introduces the first programmable scientific desktop calculator, called "the new Hewlett-Packard 911A personal computer". (This is claimed as coining the term "personal computer").
Inventions
Computers: Dr. Robert Dennard, of the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center patents a one-transistor DRAM cell and the basic idea in the three-transistor cell, which will become the standard short-term storage medium for programs and data during processing (RAM).
Technology
Space Race: Surveyor 7, the last of America’s unmanned lunar probes, lands on the moon.
Education
Higher Education: Student unrest because of the Vietnam War and other social causes creates wide confusion and changes in university life.
Education
Public Education: African American Education: African American parents and white teachers clash in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville area of New York City, over the issue of community control of the schools. Teachers go on strike, and the community organizes freedom schools while the public schools are closed.
Arts and Letters
American Theatre: The Negro Ensemble Company is formed.
Arts and Letters
Literature: Kurt Vonnegut (1922- ) publishes "Welcome to the Monkey House."
Discovery
The skull of a 28 million year old ape is discovered in Egypt.
Daily Life
The nation’s first 911-phone system goes into service in Haleyville, Alabama.
Daily Life
London Bridge is sold to an American, who rebuilds it in Arizona.
Daily Life
Crime and Punishment: Violent crimes have increased 57% since 1960.
Sports
Hugh Porter of Britain wins the world cycling championship in Rome.
Sports
Black Athletes: The first black male champion in tennis tournament is Arthur Ashe (1943-1993) who won the 1968 U.S. Open, the 1970 Australian Open, and the 1975 Wimbledon championship.
Popular Culture
The classification of movies by “G,” “PG,” “PG-13,” and “R” begins.
Popular Culture
Mike Nichols (1931- ) directs the film "The Graduate," starring Dustin Hoffman (1937- ) and Anne Bancroft (1931-2005).
Popular Culture
The Beatles: The Beatles release a full-length musical cartoon, "Yellow Submarine."
Popular Culture
Disney’s Mickey Mouse celebrates his 40th birthday.
Religion
The foundation of the Temple of Herod is found in Israel.
Reform
Women's Rights Movement: Executive Order 11246 prohibits sex discriminationby government contractors and requires affirmative action plans for hiring women.
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1969
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
Chief Justices: President Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994) nominates Warren E. Burger (1907-1995) as Chief Justice of the United States; he is confirmed by the Senate two weeks later and serves in that position for seventeen years until his retirement in 1986.
Politics
Large antiwar demonstrations take place, including Vietnam Moratorium Days in Washington, D.C.
Politics
Vice President Agnew (1918-1996) accuses network television and the press of biased news coverage.
Government
The Palestine National Congress appoints Yasser Arafat (1929-2004) as head of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Government
Women's Firsts: Golda Meir (1898-1978) is sworn in as Israel’s first female prime minister.
Government
Women’s Firsts: Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005), of New York, becomes the first African-American woman in Congress. Her motto is, "Unbought and unbossed." She serves in the U.S. House of Representatives for 14 years.
Government
Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994), is inaugurated as the 37th President of the U.S.. amd Spiro T. Agnew (1918-1996) is inaugurated as the nation's 39th Vice President.
War
Vietnam War: President Johnson (1908-1973) announces proposed withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam.
Science
A fossil skull found in Antarctica proves “without question” the theory of continental drift.
Science
The fourth or “D” ring of Saturn is discovered.
Science
The National Audubon Society begins a national campaign to ban DDT because the chemical is killing bald eagles.
Science
Ribonuclease is the first enzyme to be synthesized.
Technology
Space Race: The first manned mission (Apollo) to the Moon takes place.
Technology
Neil Armstrong (1930- ) is the first man to walk on the Moon, thus "winning" the space race for the U.S.
Education
Higher Education: Education of Women: Several traditionally all-male colleges, including Yale, Bowdoin, and Colgate, admit women students.
Education
Libraries: The Cooperative College Library Center, the first consortium of black academic libraries, opens in Atlanta.
Arts and Letters
Painting: Rembrandt’s (1606-1669) “Self Portrait” sells for $1,256,000 at Christie’s in London.
Arts and Letters
Dance: Arthur Mitchell (1934- ) establishes the Dance Theatre of Harlem.
Ideas
Arthur Jensen (1923- ) stirs widespread debate by his published claim that blacks are genetically less intelligent than whites.
Hoover, Lou
Herbert Hoover Jr. (1903-1969), son of Herbert and Lou Hoover, dies April 9 from cancer.
Economics
The United States attorney general charges IBM with unlawful monopolization of the computer industry, and requests the federal courts break it up.
Daily Life
Crime and Punishment: Sirhan Sirhan (1944- ) is convicted for the murder of Robert F. Kennedy.
Daily Life
Approximately 225 million telephones are in use throughout the world.
Daily Life
The U.S. government removes cyclamates (artificial sweeteners) from the market; laboratory experiments link these food additives with cancer.
Daily Life
The History of Toys: Parker Brothers markets the first Nerf ball, a polyurethane foam ball that is safe for indoor play. By year's end, more than four million Nerf balls are sold.
Daily Life
Fashion: Pants suits become acceptable for everyday wear by women.
Popular Culture
The Beatles: The Beatles begin recording their final album, entitled "Abbey Road," returning to the EMI studios in West London and the production team led by George Martin (1926- ). It proves to be a relatively smooth and peaceful production and a highly acclaimed album. Lennon announces to the other Beatles that he will be leaving the band just before that album's release but is persuaded to remain quiet in public.
Popular Culture
Katherine Hepburn (1907-2003) and Barbara Streisand (1942- ) share the Best Actress Oscar; Hepburn breaks the record as the only actress winning three such awards.
Popular Culture
The Rolling Stones release an album and a movie, both entitled Gimme Shelter.
Reform
Women's Rights Movement: California adopts the nation’s first “no fault” divorce law, allowing divorce by mutual consent.
Reform
American Protest Music: “One Tin Soldier” is written by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter during the Vietnam War.
Reform
American Protest Music: “Blowing in the Wind” is written by Bob Dylan (1941- ) during the Vietnam War.
1970
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
The Postal Service, an independent agency, replaces the Post Office Department.
Government
The National Air Quality Control Act calls for a 90% reduction in automobile pollution.
Government
Railroad History: Congress passes the Rail Passenger Service Act creating Amtrak, which today serves more than 20 million customers annually on its national network of intercity trains and employs 23,000 people.
Science
Lysosomes, structures in the human cell, are synthesized.
Medicine
After great success as an experimental treatment for Parkinson’s disease, L-dopa is approved as a prescription drug.
Medicine
Heart pacemakers powered by nuclear energy are used for the first time in France; the device is estimated to work 10 years before needing to be refueled.
Medicine
Vaccines: First vaccine for Rubella (German measles) is used.
Inventions
Computers: Bell Labs develops Unix. (Unix will become the dominant operating system of high end microcomputers, or workstations).
Inventions
Bell Telephone invents the Picturephone.
Inventions
Transportation: The first jumbo jet is invented.
Technology
Japan becomes the fourth country to put a satellite into orbit.
Technology
GE synthesizes a gem-quality diamond.
Education
Reports show that “Sesame Street,” a nationwide TV program, helps to improve skills of preschool children.
Education
Higher Education: The University of California charges tuition for the first time in the school’s 102-year history.
Education
Civil Rights Movement: The struggle for an end to racial discrimination continues. Nationally, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools in North Carolina were ordered to desegregate under a court ordered mandatory busing plan.
Education
Civil Rights Movement: Seattle becomes the largest city to voluntarily enter into a mandatory busing program. The Seattle School District continues mandatory busing until 1996.
Arts and Letters
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918- ) wins the Nobel Prize for literature.
Arts and Letters
Literature: Hemingway’s (1899-1961) "Island in the Stream" is published posthumously.
Discovery
Space Exploration: When an oxygen tank bursts on the way to the moon, Apollo 13 astronauts make the famous announcement, “Houston, we’ve got a problem.”
Discovery
Israeli archeologists uncover the first evidence of the destruction of Jerusalem by Roman troops in A.D. 70.
Daily Life
20 million Americans take part in activities and demonstrations against pollution to celebrate Earth Day.
Daily Life
Hospital care costs reach an average of $81 per day.
Sports
Women in Sports: Just 294,000 American high school girls take part in interscholastic sports.
Popular Culture
“Doonesbury,” a satirical comic strip created by Gary Trudeau (1948-), has its debut in 30 newspapers.
Popular Culture
Women’s Firsts: Women and Sports: Horse Racing: Diane Crump becomes the first female jockey to ride in the Kentucky Derby.
Popular Culture
The Beatles: The band officially brakes up.
Social Issues
Polution: The National Air Quality Control Act calls for a 90% reduction in automobile pollution.
Reform
Anti-War Movement: The National Guard troops fire on 1000 antiwar protestors at Kent State University in Ohio; 4 students are killed. U.S. withdraws more troops from Vietnam.
Reform
1970's Protest Music: The Coca-Cola Coke Company integrates their original song “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing”, sung by The Hillside Singers, in their commercial advertisements.
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1971
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
Education: The Supreme Court upholds the busing of children to integrate public schools where state laws have allowed segregation.
Law
The New York Times publishes classified Pentagon papers about the U.S.’s involvement in Vietnam. The Supreme Court upholds the right of the Times and the Washington Post to publish the papers.
Law
The Twenty-Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, lowering the voting age to 18, is passed by Congress, ratified by two-thirds of the states, and added to the Constitution.
Government
Idi Amin (1925-2003) becomes dictator of Uganda.
Government
East Pakistan proclaims its independence, taking the name Bangladesh.
Science
C.H. Li synthesizes a human growth hormone.
Technology
Astronaut Alan B. Shepard (1923-1998) hits three golf balls on the moon during the Apollo 14 mission.
Arts and Letters
Drama: Neil Simon (1927-) writes the play The Prisoner of Second Avenue.
Arts and Letters
Literature: Philip Roth (1933- ) publishes the political satire "Our Gang."
Nixon, Pat
White House Wedding: Tricia Nixon (1946 - ), daughter of Patricia (1912-1993) and Richard Nixon (1913-1994) marries Edward F. Cox (1946 -) in the White House.
Economics
The Ford Motor Company establishes its North American Automotive Operations, consolidating U.S., Canadian, and Mexican operations more than two decades ahead of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Discovery
Women''s Firsts: Canadian Fran Phipps becomes the first woman to reach the North Pole.
Discovery
Egyptian scientists discover drawings that date back to 6000 B.C. in caves in Egypt’s western desert.
Discovery
Space Exploration: Mariner 9 orbits Mars and returns 6876 photographs of the planet’s surface.
Daily Life
Crime and Punishment: Charles Manson is found guilty of murdering Sharon Tate and six others in California.
Daily Life
Cigarette advertisements are banned from television.
Sports
Boxing: Joe Frazier (1944- ) defeats Muhammad Ali (1942- ) (Cassius Clay) to win the world heavyweight boxing championship in New York City. It is Ali’s first lost after 31 professional wins.
Sports
Baseball: Henry "Hank" Aaron (1934- ) hits 600th career home run, the 3rd player ever to reach this mark.
Sports
Women''s Firsts: Women in Sports: Billie Jean King becomes the first woman athlete to win more than $100,000 in a single season in any sport. She is the only woman to have won US singles titles on grass, clay, carpet and hard court.
Popular Culture
British rock musician Elton John (1947- ) achieves superstar status with his albums, "Tumbleweed Connection" and "Madman Across the Water."
Religion
The “Jesus movement” is a highly publicized part of religion in America.
Reform
Civil Rights Movement: Ten black activists are convicted of firebombing a Wilmington, Delaware store and draw prison terms of 29-34 years.
Reform
Women''s Suffrage Movement: Women in Switzerland are finally granted suffrage.
Reform
Women's Rights Movement: Phillips v. Martin Marietta Corporation, 400 U.S. 542 (1971): The U.S. Supreme Court outlaws the practice of private employers refusing to hire women with pre-school children.
Reform
Peace Corps: In July 1971, President Nixon (1913-1994) brought the Peace Corps under the umbrella agency, ACTION. Peace Corps would remain under ACTION until President Jimmy Carter (1924-) declared it fully autonomous in a 1979 executive order. This independent status would be further secured when Congress passed legislation in 1981 to make the organization an independent federal agency.
1972
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
Capital Punishment: The Supreme Court rules that the death penalty as administered in the U.S. is “cruel and unusual punishment” and therefore unconstitutional.
Law
Women's Rights Movement: The "Equal Rights Amendment" or ERA, a proposed Constitutional Amendment prohibiting sex discrimination against women, is passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification.
Politics
Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994) is re-elected as President of the United States, as is Vice President Spiro Agnew (1918-1996).
Government
President Richard Nixon (1913-1994) becomes the first American president to visit China.
Government
Britain and China resume diplomatic relations after 22 years; Britain withdraws is consulate from Taiwan.
War
The military draft ends and all membership is on a volunteer basis.
Science
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to C. Anfinsen, Stanford Moore, and William Stein for their molecular studies of proteins and enzymes.
Science
12 western European countries agree upon the establishment of a European Molecular Laboratory. The intent of the lab is to study the molecular basis of life.
Medicine
The controversy over whether smoking causes a pregnant woman to have a smaller baby continues.
Inventions
The History of Toys: Magnavox introduces Odyssey, the first video game machine, featuring a primitive form of paddle ball. Other companies soon invested in the video game business and, by 1976, hockey, tennis, and squash were available.
Technology
President Nixon (1913-1994) orders the development of the space shuttle.
Education
Libraries: The Martin Luther King Memorial Library opens in Washington, replacing the old District of Columbia Central Public Library.
Education
Women's Rights Movement: Title IX (Public Law 92-318) of the Education Amendments prohibits sex discrimination in all aspects of education programs that receive federal support.
Education
Women’s Colleges: Women were among the leaders of the struggle for achieving civil rights for minorities, and they compared their situation once more to that of the minority groups. One response to the activism by women was the implementation of virtually universal coeducation in 1972.
Economics
Women’s Firsts: Juanita Kreps (1921- …) becomes the first woman director of the New York Stock Exchange. She later becomes the first woman appointed Secretary of Commerce.
Economics
Personal Computers: The People's Computer Company is founded.
Discovery
Japanese soldier Shoichi Yokoi (1915-1997) is discovered in Guam, having spent 28 years hiding in the jungle thinking World War II was still going on.
Discovery
Richard Leakey (1944-), British anthropologist, discovers a 2.5 million-year-old human skull in northern Kenya, Africa.
Discovery
Pioneer 10 is launched to explore the asteroid belt and Jupiter.
Daily Life
China gives President Richard Nixon (1913-1994) two giant pandas.
Daily Life
The FDA proposes a ban on the use of antibiotics used to fatten cattle and other animals.
Sports
Women in Sports: Women''s Rights Movement: The New York City Court of Appeals upholds a woman’s right to be an umpire in professional baseball.
Sports
Women in Sports: Congress passes Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any education program or activities receiving Federal financial assistance.”
Sports
The U.S. tennis team wins the Davis Cup for the 5th straight year.
Popular Culture
Ira Levin (1929-2007) publishes "The Stepford Wives."
Religion
Women’s Firsts: Judaism: Sally Jean Priesand (1948- …) is ordained in Cincinnati, Ohio, as the first woman rabbi in the United States.
Reform
Women's Rights Movement: In Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438 (1972), the Supreme Court rules that the right to privacy encompasses an unmarried person's right to use contraceptives.
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1973
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
Women's Rights Movement: In the "Roe v. Wade" decision, the Supreme Court legalizes abortion.
Government
Conservation: The Endangered Species Act prohibits the federal government from supporting any activities or projects that may be harmful to any endangered species.
Government
Vice President Spiro Agnew (1918-1996) is forced to resign his office on Justice Department charges of corruption in ofice. Under the newly ratified 25th Amendment, Gerald Ford (1913- ) is appointed Vice President.
War
Vietnam War: President Nixon (1913-1994) orders halt to offensive operations in North Vietnam.
War
Vietnam War: The Vietnam War peace accords are signed in Paris.
Science
Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology determine the structure of transfer-RNA (tRNA).
Science
The Center for UFO Studies is established in Evanston, Illinois.
Medicine
Monocytes, a type of white blood cells, are proposed as a key to conquering cancer.
Medicine
Marijuana is used as a treatment for glaucoma.
Medicine
Vaccines: Rabies vaccine is developed.
Arts and Letters
Architecture: The 110-story World Trade Center in New York City is completed and briefly becomes the tallest building in the world.
Arts and Letters
George Lucas (1944- ) directs American Graffiti, a film that causes a wave of 1950’s nostalgia.
Arts and Letters
Billy Joel (1949- ) releases the Piano Man album.
Arts and Letters
Stamps: Valentine's Day "Love" stamps are first issued.
Ideas
Personal Computers: At the Lakeside prep school in Washington State, Bill Gates (1955- ) tells a friend "I'm going to make my first million by the time I'm 25.”
Johnson, Lady Bird
Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) dies at age 64.
Economics
Congress approves the Alaskan pipeline.
Economics
The Ford Motor Company is fined $7 million for violating the Clean Air Act by improperly servicing 1973 model cars during tests for emission controls.
Discovery
Pioneer 11 is launched to fly by Jupiter and Saturn.
Discovery
A “cold star” is discovered that has 30,000 times more energy than the Sun. Scientists think that this star is in the early stage of development.
Daily Life
Crime and Punishment: 14 states restore the death penalty.
Daily Life
The History of Toys: Dungeons & Dragons is invented by Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax.
Sports
Baseball: Baseball’s American League adopts the “designated hitter” rule, which allows another player to bat for the pitcher.
Sports
Football: The Miami Dolphins become the first NFL team to go undefeated and have a perfect season by beating the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII.
Popular Culture
George Lucas (1944- ) directs "American Graffiti," a film that causes a wave of 1950’s nostalgia.
Popular Culture
Billy Joel (1949- ) releases the "Piano Man" album.
Religion
Presbyterians form a new church, the National Presbyterian Church.
Religion
Judaism: Conservative Jews allow women in the minyan- 10 or more adult Jews are required for communal worship.
Reform
Women's Rights Movement: Pittsburgh Press v. Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations, 413 U.S. 376 (1973): The U.S. Supreme Court bans sex-segregated “help wanted” advertising as a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended.
1974
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Law
In "United States vs. Nixon," the Supreme Court rules that presidential executive privilege is not unlimited.
Government
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is charged with foreign and domestic abuse of its power.
Government
Stamps: The first U.S. self adhesive stamp is issued.
Government
Scandal: President Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994) resigns the Presidency in the wake of the Watergate scandal; he is the only President to resign the office; Vice President Gerald R. Ford (1913- )is inaugurated as the nation's 38th President. Nelson A. Rockefeller (1908-1979) becomes the nation's 41st Vice President.
Science
The National Academy of Sciences urges a ban on genetic experiments with bacteria, especially those involving E. coli, a helpful type of bacteria that lives in the intestines.
Medicine
High-energy neutrons, produced in cyclotrons, are used to treat cancer.
Medicine
A government report indicates that moderate drinkers live longer than nondrinkers. It also states that heavy drinkers have higher rates of mouth, throat, and liver cancer.
Medicine
Vinyl chloride, commonly used in making plastics, is shown to cause cancer.
Education
Civil Rights Movement: The Boston school committee rejects a court-ordered busing plan for desegregation.
Education
Women's Rights Movement: The Women’s Educational Equity Act, drafted by Arlene Horowitz and introduced by Representative Patsy Mink (D-HI), funds the development of nonsexist teaching materials and model programs that encourage full educational opportunities for girls and women.
Education
Public Education: In Milliken v. Bradley, a Supreme Court made up of Richard Nixon's appointees rules that schools may not be desegregated across school districts. This effectively legally segregates students of color in inner-city districts from white students in wealthier white suburban districts.
Arts and Letters
Literature: Peter Benchley (1940-) publishes "Jaws," a novel about a huge shark that terrorizes a Long Island Beach resort.
Arts and Letters
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918- ), Nobel Prize winner in literature, is deported from the Soviet Union.
Economics
The U.S. ends all price and wage controls.
Economics
The U.S. is hit by a recession.
Discovery
Large quantities of historical manuscripts, philosophical works, and medical texts more than 2000 year old are discovered in ancient tombs in China.
Sports
Baseball: Hank Aaron (1934- ) hits the 715th home run of his career, breaking Babe Ruth’s record.
Sports
Baseball: Little League Baseball Inc. bars foreign teams from future Little League World Series and accepts female players into the league.
Sports
The U.S. Olympic Committee adopts a bill of rights for athletes.
Sports
Baseball: Black Athletes: Frank Robinson (1935- ), of the Cleveland Indians, is the first black manager in professional baseball.
Sports
Women in Sports: Football: The inaugural season of the first women''s professional football league kicks off with seven US teams.
Popular Culture
"Happy Days" premiers on television.
Popular Culture
The popular rock groups of the time are Chicago, Steeley Dan, Yes, Jefferson Starship, Santana, The Eagles, and Utopia.
Popular Culture
Mel Brooks produces "Blazing Saddles," a parody of westerns.
Popular Culture
The Beatles: A jam session between John Lennon (1940-1980) and Paul McCartney (1942- ) is recorded on March 31, 1974, when McCartney visits Lennon in Los Angeles, California.
Religion
Pope John Paul VI (1912-1978) opens the Holy Year of the Roman Catholic Church, the 25th since 1450 (The first Holy year was proclaimed in 1300).
Reform
Women's Rights Movement: Housing discrimination on the basis of sex and credit discrimination against women are outlawed by Congress.
Reform
Women's Rights Movement: Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur, 414 U.S. 632 (1974), determines it is illegal to force pregnant women to take maternity leave on the assumption they are incapable of working in their physical condition.
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1975
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
Native Americans: The Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act give Native Americans more control in administering federal programs and services to their people.
Government
Scandal: John Mitchell (1913-1988), H. R. Haldeman (1926-1993), and John Ehrlichman (1925-1999) are convicted of obstruction of justice in the Watergate affair.
War
Civil war begins in Lebanon when gunmen kill 4 Christian Phalangists who retaliate by killing 27 Palestinians.
War
Vietnam War: The Vietnam War ends with South Vietnam’s surrender to North Vietnam.
Medicine
Heart valves in pigs are used to replace defective valves in human hearts.
Medicine
The National Cancer Institute links cancer with pollution.
Technology
Personal Computers: Bill Gates (1955-) and Paul Allen (1953- ) write to MITS, saying they have a BASIC language for the Intel 8080 processor. They propose licensing it for use on the Altair in exchange for royalty payments. (They then spend the next eight weeks writing the software).
Education
Native Americans: Native American Education: The Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act gives Native Americans more control in administering federal programs and services to their people.
Ideas
E. O. Wilson publishes "Sociobiology: The New Synthesis," which argues that genes control social behavior patterns.
Roosevelt, Eleanor
Lives of the First Ladies: Anna Eleanor Roosevelt Dall Boettiger Halsted (1906-1975), daughter of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, dies December 1 from cancer.
Economics
Insurance companies drop malpractice insurance coverage for doctors because the losses in suits are so high.
Discovery
University of California astronomers discover a new galaxy that is at least 10 times larger than the Milky Way and about 8-million light years away from earth.
Discovery
Paleontologists discover the oldest American fossil- a 620-year-old marine worm.
Discovery
Viking 1 and 2 are both launched and scheduled to land on Mars one year later.
Daily Life
The Metric Conversion Act suggests that a voluntary change be made to the metric system.
Daily Life
The National Association of Broadcasters agrees to assign a two-hour period of time to programs suitable for family viewing.
Sports
Women in Sports: Chris Evert (1954- ) wins $40,000, the highest prize in the history of women’s tennis, on the Virginia Slims Tour.
Sports
Basketball: The European basketball league finishes its first season; Israeli Sabres finishes in first place out of 5 teams.
Sports
Women in Sports: Title IX goes effect on June 21.
Sports
Baseball: An arbitrator’s ruling leads to a modification of the reserve clause and the start of free agency. Baseball salaries begin to skyrocket.
Popular Culture
"The Jeffersons" debuts on television; it is the first sitcom about an African American family.
Popular Culture
The film "Jaws" breaks box office records across the U.S. and causes a nationwide “Jawsmania.”
Popular Culture
The film "One Flew Over the Cuckoo''s Nest" is the first movie since 1934 to win the top four Oscars: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Director.
Popular Culture
"A Chorus Line" opens on Broadway.
1976
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Politics
James Callaghan (1912-2005) succeeds Harold Wilson as the British Prime Minister.
Politics
Jimmy Carter (1924 - ) is elected as the 39th President of the United States and Walter F. Mondale (1928- ) is elected the nation's 42nd Vice President.
Government
The U.S. celebrates the 200th anniversary of its independence. Six million people view the parade of tall ships from 31 countries on the Hudson River.
Government
The U.S. and the U.S.S.R. sign a treaty that limits the size of underground nuclear explosions. Some on-site inspection of compliance is approved for the first time.
Government
U.S. intelligence agencies are charged with unlawful investigation and surveillance of citizens.
Government
The U.S. vetoes the admission of Vietnam to the UN, reasoning that the Hanoi government has failed to account for 800 U.S. servicemen still mission in action.
Science
The chronon is selected as the smallest unit of time.
Science
The 143 members of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) develop methods to standardize weather data.
Medicine
Vaccines: A malaria-causing organism is cultured in the lab-this is the first step in developing a vaccine.
Medicine
Lyme arthritis, a new infectious form of arthritis, is discovered near Lyme, Connecticut. The disease is thought to be spread by virus-carrying insects.
Technology
Personal Computers: The Apple I computer board is sold in kit form, and delivered to stores by Steve Jobs (1955- ) and Steve Wozniak (1950- ); the price is: US$666.66.
Arts and Letters
Literature: Kurt Vonnegut (1922- ) publishes "Slapstick."
Arts and Letters
Women’s Firsts: Sarah Caldwell (1924- …) becomes the first woman to conduct at New York's Metropolitan Opera House.
Economics
Consolidated Railroad Corporation (Conrail), a private government-financed corporation, takes control of the freight service of six bankrupt Northeast railroads.
Economics
Personal Computers: In November, The trademark "Microsoft" is registered.
Discovery
Pioneer 10 travels through Saturn’s rings and heads toward a 1987 examination of Pluto.
Discovery
Viking 1 and Viking 2 land on Mars and begin sending back information about the planet’s surface.
Daily Life
Transportation: A Pan-American airliner completes the world’s longest non-stop commercial flight (8,088 miles in over 13 hours of travel).
Daily Life
The History of Toys: Nolan Bushnell sells his video game company, Atari, to Warner Brothers. Atari''s popular Pong and Super Pong video tennis games soon gave way to a home video cartridge system that ran full-color games, from baseball to Pacman.
Popular Culture
Barbara Walters (1929- ) becomes the first female network television news anchor.
Popular Culture
Stevie Wonder (1950- ) releases the immensely popular album, "Songs in the Key of Life."
Popular Culture
"Rocky," a film starring Sylvester Stallone (1946- ), wins the Oscar for Best Picture.
Popular Culture
Erma Bombeck (1927-1996), humorist, publishes 'Life is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank."
Popular Culture
Women's Firsts: Barbara Walters (1929- ) becomes the first female network television news anchor.
Religion
6 women in British Columbia and Ontario, Canada are ordained as priests in the Anglican Church.
Reform
Women win 13 of 32 Rhodes Scholarships awarded to Americans; this is the first time since the scholarships were made in 1902 that women are eligible recipients.
Reform
Women's Rights Movement: General Elec. Co v. Gilbert, 429 U. S. 125 (1976), the Supreme Court upholds women’s right to unemployment benefits during the last three months of pregnancy.
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1977
Law, Politics, Government, and WarScience, Medicine, Inventions, and TechnologyEducation, Arts and Letters, and IdeasLives of the First LadiesEconomics, Discovery, and Daily LifeSports and Popular CultureReligion, Social Issues, and Reform
Government
President Carter (1924- ) makes “human rights” a part of U.S. foreign policy.
Government
Jimmy Carter (1924 - ) is inaugurated as the 39th President of the United States and Walter F. Mondale (1928- ) is inaugurated as the nation's 42nd Vice President.
Government
The Justice Department investigates alleged illegal bribery by South Korean officials to influence members of Congress.
Government
President Carter (1924- ) pardons most Vietnam War and draft evaders.
Government
Congress creates a new cabinet-level Department of Engineering.
Science
Methanogens are identified as a totally separate and previously unknown form of life that existed about 3.5 million years ago.
Medicine
After extensive hearings, the FDA declares that laetrile is not a vitamin and is of no value in treating cancer.
Medicine
The FDA claims that saccharin may cause cancer.
Inventions
Computers: Bally completes designs of a home computer.
Technology
Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 are launched on a journey that will bring them near Jupiter and Saturn in 1979 and 1980.
Economics
High oil consumption in the U.S. makes energy conservation necessary (energy crisis).
Economics
Personal Computers: The first Computer Shack franchise is opened in Morristown, New Jersey. 112 people visit in the first day.
Discovery
Astronomers aboard NASA’s Airborne Observatory discover rings around Uranus.
Daily Life
Crime and Punishment: Gary Gilmore (?-1977) becomes the first person executed in the U.S. since the death penalty was reintroduced.
Daily Life
Disasters: The greatest aviation disaster in history kills 542 people when two planes collide on a runway in the Canary Islands.
Daily Life
Travel bans on U.S. citizens to Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, and North Korea are lifted.
Daily Life
Personal Computers: Total shipments of personal computers worldwide during the year total 48,000.
Daily Life
The History of Toys: Kenner Toys introduces a line of Star Wars action figures, capitalizing on the popularity of George Lucas''s blockbuster film. They dominate the action figure market.
Sports
Baseball: The St. Louis outfielder Lou Brock (1939- ) sets the new base-stealing record of 893.
Popular Culture
The film "Saturday Night Fever" helps popularize disco dance music.
Popular Culture
George Lucas (1944- ) directs "Star Wars," a film that signals the beginning of a new, more polished science-fiction genre of films.
Religion
John Neumann (1903-1957) is made a saint in the Roman Catholic Church; he is the first American male to be selected.
Religion
Americans explore forms of spiritualism: 6 million are active in transcendental meditation; 5 million practice yoga; 3 million follow the charismatic movement; 3 million involved in mysticism; and 2 million in Eastern religions.
Religion
The Roman Catholic Church prohibits ordination of women as priests.