The Sixties: The Times They Are a-Changin'

1968
We Shall Overcome

Throughout Society, Blacks Gain Respect

The peaceful strategies of boycotts, sit-ins, freedom rides and marches placed racial equality squarely on the national agenda. Martin Luther King's movement was instrumental toward passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For his outstanding leadership King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 and The Civil Rights Act of 1968 went further to ban discrimination in voting and housing. Other black celebrities were recognized and honored in the arenas of sports, entertainment, and politics.

Photograph of The Sixties exhibit.

Inner City Ghettos, Urban Despair

However, 70 percent of African Americans still lived in large inner cities characterized by poverty and decay. In the urban ghettos, unemployment soared and violence escalated. Federal troops were needed to integrate schools in the South. Police used dogs, tear gas, and cattle prods to humiliate and disperse peaceful demonstrators. Black churches were bombed. Feelings of despair and anger boiled over into ghetto riots, setting a tone of open revolt for years to come.

 

Riots, Violence, Separatism

Panic in the Cities

From 1964 to 1971, over 750 riots in American cities resulted in 228 deaths and 12,750 injuries. In 1967 alone, 150 riots brought on arson, looting, and millions of dollars in damage. Images of burning cities and armed confrontation accelerated "white flight" to the suburbs, in turn lowering inner city incomes and property values. As business and employment opportunities disappeared, maintenance and repairs seemed useless.

Two Faces of Black Power

Black anger was summarized by Stokely Carmichael in 1966, "We have been saying 'Freedom' for six years, what we are saying now is Black Power!" Politically, radical groups such as the Black Panthers advocated justice and equality "by any means necessary," even the complete separation of races. Culturally, Black Power encouraged the exploration of African heritage, natural Afro hairstyles and fashion, and powerful writing by authors like James Baldwin. Musically, rhythm and blues artist James Brown summed up their message, "Say it loud, I'm black and I'm proud!"

1963
1968

Tales of Camelot
The Cold War Warms Up
Racing To The Moon
Civil Rights On The March
Teen Angels
The Swinging Sixties
Sun 'n' Surf Meets London Turf
The Awakening of America
Camelot Finale

Something's Happenin' Here
Vietnam : A Young Man's Hell
Black Power
Rat Race Refugees
Talkin' 'Bout My Generation
Establishment Up Against the Ivied Wall
The Nixon Era Begins
To the Moon
The Legacy

back arrow Return to Sixties main page
return to Hoover Museum main page Return to Hoover Library-Museum virtual exhibits page 
return to Hoover Museum main page Return to Hoover Library-Museum main index page