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Monday, February 18, 2008

Entry for February 18, 2008

To a fifteen year old, looking back in time forty-five years will pull up some interesting facts that will seem like very ancient history, even though forty-five years is only three times his or her age. To most of us baby-boomers, we should remember much of it because we lived it. Some of the facts and memories seem surreal.

Below are some facts from the year 1963, clipped from
Wikipedia .

During January,
George C. Wallace becomes governor of Alabama. In his inaugural speech, he defiantly proclaims "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever!" Black student Harvey Gantt enters Clemson University in South Carolina, the last U.S. state to hold out against racial integration.

During February, travel, financial and commercial transactions by
United States citizens to Cuba are made illegal by the John F. Kennedy Administration.

In March, the
Alcatraz Island federal penitentiary in San Francisco Bay closes; the last 27 prisoners are transferred elsewhere at the order of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. The Beatles release the album Please Please Me.

In April,
SCLC volunteers kick off the Birmingham campaign against segregation with a sit-in. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, Fred Shuttlesworth and others are arrested in a Birmingham protest for "parading without a permit".

In May, thousands of
African Americans, many of them children, are arrested while protesting segregation in Birmingham, Alabama. Sheriff Eugene "Bull" Connor later unleashes fire hoses and police dogs on the demonstrators. Dr. No, the first James Bond film, was shown in US theaters. A smallpox outbreak was recognized at Stockholm, Sweden, lasting until July that year. Mercury program: NASA launches Gordon Cooper on Mercury 9, the last mission (on June 12 NASA Administrator James E. Webb tells Congress the program is complete).

During June, in
Saigon, Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Ðức commits self-immolation to protest the oppression of Buddhists by the Ngo Dinh Diem administration. Alabama Governor George C. Wallace stands in the door of the University of Alabama to protest against integration, before stepping aside and allowing African Americans James Hood and Vivian Malone to enroll. President John F. Kennedy makes an historic civil rights speech, in which he promises a Civil Rights Bill, and asks for "the kind of equality of treatment that we would want for ourselves." Medgar Evers is murdered in Jackson, Mississippi (his killer is convicted in 1994).

During July,
ZIP Codes are introduced in the U.S. The Roman Catholic Church accepts cremation as a funeral practice. NASA launches Syncom, the world's first geostationary (synchronous) satellite.

During August, the
United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union sign a nuclear test ban treaty. American civil rights movement: James Meredith becomes the first black person to graduate from the University of Mississippi. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his "I Have A Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to an audience of at least 250,000 during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

During September, the
16th Street Baptist Church bombing, in Birmingham, Alabama, kills 4 and injures 22.

During October,
Sam Cooke and his band were arrested after trying to register at a "whites only" motel in Louisiana. In the months following, he recorded A Change Is Gonna Come (song).

During November, in
Dallas, Texas, United States President John F. Kennedy is assassinated, Texas Governor John B. Connally is seriously wounded, and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson becomes the 36th President. All television coverage for the next three days is devoted to the assassination, its aftermath, the procession of the horsedrawn casket to the Capitol Rotunda, and the funeral of President Kennedy. Stores and businesses shut down for the entire weekend and Monday, in tribute. Alleged assassin of John F. Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald, is shot dead by Jack Ruby in Dallas, Texas on live national television. Later that night, a hastily arranged program, A Tribute to John F. Kennedy from the Arts, featuring actors, opera singers, and noted writers, all performing dramatic readings and/or music, is telecast on ABC-TV. New U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson confirms that the United States intends to continue supporting South Vietnam militarily and economically.

During December The
Warren Commission begins its investigation into the assassination of President Kennedy. I Want to Hold Your Hand and I Saw Her Standing There are released in the U.S., marking the beginning of full-scale Beatlemania.

We all are, each of us, no small part of history. If you are reading this, you are still part of the future.

Hope to see you there tomorrow,

James A. Zachary Jr.


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