Some significant events of the 1960s were the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, the rise of the hippie counterculture and the sexual revolution. Neil Armstrong became the first human being to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969.Continue Reading
As the 1960s began, the legal racial segregation of non-white people from white people still existed, as did prejudice and acts of persecution against people of color. The Civil Rights Movement held protests such as the 1960 student lunch counter sit-in in Greensboro, North Carolina and the Freedom Rides by bus through the South. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech at the Civil Rights march on Washington in 1963. In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law; this prohibited discrimination against minorities in employment and in their use of public places. A year later, the Voting Rights Act abolished the use of tests that discriminated against minority voters at the election polls.
Although the Vietnam War neither started nor ended during the 1960s, the United States began sending troops to fight there in 1965. Anti-war sentiment emerged as protests and in rock songs and pop art. Draft dodgers went into hiding, many fleeing northward to Canada.
Hippie counterculture, characterized by sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, with its values of peace, love, communal living and abhorrence of "The Establishment," defined pop culture during the second half of the decade. The birth control pill became available in 1960, freeing women to have sex without fear of pregnancy. Hippies experimented with "free love" alternatives to monogamy and popularized living together without marriage. Psychedelic drug usage spilled over into psychedelic rock and art. Two major hippie events were the 1967 Summer of Love and the 1969 Woodstock music festival.Learn more about US History