The 1960’s

























Luke Laubaugh

3-11-99

research paper

rough draft



The 1960’s was a decade that forever changed the culture and society of America. The 1960’s were widely known as the decade of peace



and love, not because the world had become a utopia but, in my opinion,



because of the heavy use of the popular hallucinogenic drugs by the



American youth. In reality minorities were struggling to gain freedom



from segregation and thousands of American soldiers and Vietnamese



civilians were being killed in the highly disputed war in Vietnam.



On February 20, 1960 four black college freshmen from the Negro



Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro, North Carolina quietly



walked into a restaurant and sat down at the lunch counter. They were



protesting the Jim Crow custom that blacks could be served while



standing up but not while they were sitting at the lunch counter. The



students quietly sat there politely asking for service until closing time.



The next morning they showed up again accompanied by twenty five fellow



students. By the next week their sit down had been repeated in fourteen



cities in five deep south states. In the weeks to follow many new



protests arose. After a black woman was beaten with a baseball bat in



Montgomery, Alabama, 1,000 blacks silently marched into the first capital



of the Confederate states to sing and pray. Six hundred students from two



colleges walked through the streets of Orangeburg, South Carolina with



placards that exhibited phrases like “We Want Liberty” and “Segregation



is Dead.” By late June some kind of public place in over one hundred and



fifty different cities across America had been desegregated.



John F. Kennedy was never able to gain enough support to pass a civil



rights bill during his short time in office, but Lyndon Johnson drawing on



the Kennedy legacy and the support of the nation succeeded in passing the



bill. The bill passed 71 to 19, four more votes than required.



By early 1965 a new black leader had arose, whose name was



Malcolm X. His gospel was hatred and his motto was; “If ballots won’t



work, bullets will.” Malcolm X was a former pimp, cocaine addict, and



thief. He started a militant, all black group called the Black Panthers. On



a bright Sunday in a ballroom in Manhattan in full view of 400 blacks



Malcolm was murdered. Three men casually walked down the aisle; and



from eight feet opened fire with sawed-off double barreled shotguns.



Malcolm was killed by a pair of point blank range shots to the chest.



On March 12, 1965, U.S. Highway 80 was blocked by sixty state



troopers who stood in a wall three deep 400 yards past the Edmund Pettus



Bridge, which crosses the Alabama river. When black marchers came



within 100 yards the troopers were ordered to put on their gas masks. At



twenty five yards the marchers stopped. Seconds later the command



“troopers forward” was barked. The troopers moved in a solid wall



pushing back the front marchers. At 75 yards the troopers were joined by



posse men and deputies with tear gas canisters, in seconds the road was



swirling with clouds of smoke. The mounted men brought out bull whips



and began beating the marchers. Never in history had the American public



responded with such fury. Over 15,000 thousand people marched in five



different cities across the country.



On Sunday, March 21, 1965 a crowd of 3,400 marchers lead by two



Nobel Peace Prize winners, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Bunche,



departed from Selma on their four day march to Montgomery. They were



accompanied by 2,900 military police, U.S. Marshals, and FBI agents. The



goal of the march was to serve the governor with a petition protesting



voter discrimination. When the crowd reached the capital the governor



reneged and blandly told them “the capitol is closed today.”



By August of 1965 riots began to erupt in Los Angeles. At the end



of one week there were 27 dead, almost 600 injured, 1,700 arrested, and



over $100 million dollars worth of property damage. The riots were



finally stopped when 5,000 national guardsmen were called in from around



the country. No one actually knows what started the riots, but some





blame it on the heat wave that was hitting Los Angels and others blame it



on the irritation