The world was changing in 1968 and it was quite possibly one of the most unforgettable years in American history because so many significant things took place that year. At the forefront of this commencing decade both the Vietnam War and The Civil Rights Movement were at full mast. 1968 was the year of the Tet Offensive in North Vietnam which saw an escalation of the American involvement in this tragic war while back home in the United States the public opinion of the war was changing from support for the war to anti-war protest.
It was on April 4, 1968 that following years of civil rights activism James Earl Ray murdered the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis Tennessee. Then following Dr. King’s death a few months later in August of that same year, that two black athletes staged a silent demonstration at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City by raising their fists during the national anthem in support of the Black Power Movement that was taking place at the time in America.
1968 was also the year that American television viewers saw its first interracial kiss between a white man and a black woman when Star Trek’s Captain Kirk (William Shatner) smooched the USS Enterprise’s African-American Sergeant Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), and it was televised in living rooms across America in Technicolor as television technology was continuing to advance the transition from black-and-white to full color. In addition, the American media continued to expand itself as 1968 was also the year that the legendary informational news show 60 Minutes took to the air for the first time on CBS.
In June of 1968 Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles California, and later that same year in August of 1968, the Republican National Convention (RNC) nominated Richard M. Nixon to run as the republican candidate in the upcoming November election against democratic incumbent then President Lyndon B. Johnson. In the end Nixon would win the presidency with Spiro Agnew on the ticket as his Vice President, but later resigned in 1974 to avoid an impeachment following The Watergate Scandal.
Many other interesting things took place in 1968; NASA orbited the moon with the Apollo 8 Mission that made astronauts Jim Lovell, Bill Anders, and Frank Borman the first human beings to set foot on the moon. Boeing introduced the first 747 passenger plane, toy maker Mattel introduced Hot Wheels Collectible Cars, and The Beatles introduced Apple Records. Later that year The Beatles released the White Album in America, while overseas in England the renowned Yardbirds appeared for the first time as what later became better known as the legendary band Led Zeppelin and Andy Warhol died.
In 1968 a gallon of gasoline was around thirty-four cents, a gallon of milk was just over one dollar, and a postage stamp was six cents. A new house cost just over $26,000.00 and the cost of a new car was right around $2,400.00. The Zodiac Killer was still on the loose somewhere in California and never found. It was the same year that the Broadway Show Hair opened for the first time and a little bit further down on Broadway the newly relocated Madison Square Garden also opened its doors to the public for the first time.
In sports, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Oakland Raiders at the Orange Bowl in Miami Florida to win Super Bowl II in 1968, the Detroit Tigers beat the St. Louis Cardinals in a seven game set to win the World Series of 68, the Montreal Canadiens swept the St. Louis Blues in four games to win the Stanley Cup in hockey, and the Boston Celtics defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in six games to win their tenth championship in twelve years in basketball. Bobby Unser won the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Speedway, and Cale Yarborough won the Daytona 500. Billie Jean King won the women’s singles tennis championship and John Newcombe won in the men’s doubles at Wimbledon, while in golf Arnold Palmer lost the PGA championship by one stroke to Julius Boros in San Antonio Texas that year.
Significantly my birth year is a shared one with such famous entertainment personalities as Will Smith, LL Cool J, Owen Wilson, Celine Dion, Rachel Ray, Lucy Liu, and Lisa Marie Presley. In addition, with other such iconic public personalities as sportscaster Kenny Albert, Baseball hall of famer Mike Piazza and also former MLB player Gary Sheffield, movie personality Daniel Craig who is currently Agent 007 from the James Bond Movie Series which ironically is one of my all-time favorite film series’ and Ziggy Marley who is the son of the late great music personality Bob Marley. Although the above may appear to be completely random and miscellaneous, for me it is all truly remarkable.
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