The 1960's was a decade of radical change in the United States of America in both social and political aspects of life . Starting with the 1960 election of the youngest presidential candidate to take office through the largest gathering of rock n roll concert goers ever to an event called Woodstock. Sandwiched in between these 2 historic events were equally important life changing and world changing events that would make life for the average everyday Americans different from the decade before and the decades to follow.
The year 1960 would start the decade off with a presidential election that would introduce us to the televised presidential debates , yes , the same presidential debates that we see and take for granted every 4 years to this day. The 1960 presidential elections saw the Democratic candidate , a young rich socialite from Massachusetts named John Fitzgerald Kennedy run against the incumbent Republican Vice President Richard Millhous Nixon. This Election was the closest presidential election since 1916 with President elect John F. Kennedy getting 34,220,984 votes to Vice President Richard M. Nixon’s 34,108,157 votes , a difference of 112,827 votes , thus making the president elect the youngest ever to hold the office of commander-in-chief of the United States of America. Also In 1960 we saw the invention of the laser , an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation . Lasers have become vitally important in todays' technologies. Lasers are found in DVD players , printers and everyday bar code scanners. Lasers are also used in the medical field for surgeries and diagnostic xrays. Military and police agencies also use lasers in their day to day activities. The birth control devise known simply as “The Pill” was also approved by the FDA in 1960.
The year of 1961 brought the United States of America racial turmoil and some International turmoil. Freedom Riders were Civil Rights Activist who challenged the southern states who were not recognizing the segragation laws and did not recognize the unconstitutionality of them. Freedom Riders would ride interstate buses in mixed racial pairs and challenged local law enforcement programs that still enforced segragation seating. There were often Violent reactions to these Freedom Riders that brought National attention to the Civil Rights movement. The first Freedom Riders ride included 13 Americans , 7 Black and 6 White. Their plan was to ride through the southern states as one mixed couple , one black up front in seats designed for segragated riders to avoid arrest and arrange for bail at the next stop. The rest were scattered about the bus. On Mother's Day, in Anniston, a mob of Ku Klux Klansmen, some still in church attire, attacked the first of the two buses. As the driver tried to leave the station, he was blocked by KKK members tires slashed. The mob forced the d bus to stop several miles outside of town and firebombed it. The bus burned, the mob held the doors shut, trying to burn the riders to death, but the riders exitedd.. The mob then beat the riders.Warning shots fired into the air by highway patrolmen prevented the riders from being lynched. Hospitalized Freedom Riders, most of whom had been refused care, were removed from the hospital at 2 AM, because the staff feared the mob. The local civil rights leader Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth Orrganized several cars of blacks to rescue the injured Freedom Riders. It wasn't until 7 days later that the buses arrived at their destination as the Freedom Riders boarded buses to Jackson Mississippi surrounded by Highway Patrol and the National Guard. The riders were immediately arrested when they tried to use the white-only facilities at the depot. The publicity of
these Freedom Riders proved to be quite an embarrassment for the United States. On an Interanational level the embarrassment continued with a military invasion set to overthrow the Fidel Castro regiem in...