Portal:1960s

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The 1960s Portal

The Stonewall Inn, site of major demonstrations for gay and lesbian rights in 1968
Stonewall Inn, site of the 1969 Stonewall riots


"The Sixties", as they are known in both scholarship and popular culture, is a term used by historians, journalists, and other objective academics; in some cases nostalgically to describe the counterculture and revolution in social norms about clothing, music, drugs, dress, formalities and schooling. Conservatives denounce the decade as one of irresponsible excess and flamboyance, and decay of social order. The decade was also labeled the Swinging Sixties because of the fall or relaxation of social taboos especially relating to racism and sexism that occurred during this time.

The 1960s became synonymous with the new, radical, and subversive events and trends of the period. In Africa the 1960s was a period of radical political change as 32 countries gained independence from their European colonial rulers.

Some commentators have seen in this era a classical Jungian nightmare cycle, where a rigid culture, unable to contain the demands for greater individual freedom, broke free of the social constraints of the previous age through extreme deviation from the norm. Christopher Booker charts the rise, success, fall/nightmare and explosion in the London scene of the 1960s. However, this alone does not explain the mass nature of the phenomenon.

Several nations such as the U.S., France, Germany and Britain turned to the left in the early and mid 1960s. In the United States, John F. Kennedy, a Keynesian and staunch anti-communist, pushed for social reforms. His assassination in 1963 was a stunning shock. Liberal reforms were finally passed under Lyndon B. Johnson including civil rights for African Americans and healthcare for the elderly and the poor. Despite his large-scale Great Society programs, Johnson was increasingly reviled by the New Left at home and abroad. The heavy-handed American role in the Vietnam War outraged student protestors across the globe, as they found peasant rebellion typified by Ho Chi Minh and Che Guevara more appealing. Italy formed its first left-of-center government in March 1962 with a coalition of Christian Democrats, Social Democrats, and moderate Republicans. Socialists joined the ruling block in December 1963. In Britain, the Labour Party gained power in 1964. In Brazil, João Goulart became president after Jânio Quadros resigned.

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"Daisy", sometimes referred to as "Daisy Girl" or "Peace, Little Girl", was a controversial political advertisement that aired on television as part of Lyndon B. Johnson's 1964 presidential campaign. Though officially aired only once, it is considered one of the most important factors in Johnson's landslide victory over the Republican Party's candidate, Barry Goldwater, and a turning point in political and advertising history. A partnership between the Doyle Dane Bernbach agency and Tony Schwartz, the "Daisy" advertisement was designed to broadcast Johnson's anti-war and anti-nuclear positions. Goldwater was against the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and suggested the use of nuclear weapons in the Vietnam War, if necessary. The Johnson campaign used Goldwater's speeches to imply he would wage a nuclear war.

The commercial begins with three-year-old Monique Corzilius standing in a meadow, picking the petals of a daisy as she counts from one to ten incorrectly. After she reaches "nine", she pauses, and a booming male voice is heard counting the numbers backward from "ten", in a manner similar to the start of a missile launch countdown. A zoom of the video still focuses on the girl's right eye until her pupil fills the screen, which is then replaced by the flash and sound of a nuclear explosion. A voice-over by Johnson states emphatically "These are the stakes! To make a world in which all of God's children can live, or to go into the dark. We must either love each other, or we must die." (Full article...)

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Abbey Road is the 11th studio album released by the English rock band the Beatles. It is the last album the group started recording, although Let It Be was the last album completed before the band's dissolution in April 1970. It was mostly recorded in April, July and August 1969, and was released on 26 September 1969 in the United Kingdom, and 1 October 1969 in the United States, reaching number one in both countries. A double A-side single from the album, "Something" / "Come Together" was released in October, which also topped the charts in the US.

Abbey Road is a rock album that incorporates genres such as blues, pop, and progressive rock and makes prominent use of the moog synthesizer and the Leslie speaker. It is also notable for having a long medley of songs on side two that have subsequently been covered as one suite by other notable artists. The album was recorded in a more collegial atmosphere than the Get Back / Let It Be sessions earlier in the year, but there were still significant confrontations within the band, particularly over Paul McCartney's song "Maxwell's Silver Hammer", and John Lennon did not perform on several tracks. By the time the album was released, Lennon had left the group, though this was not publicly announced until McCartney also quit the following year. (Full article...)
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Promotional poster for Mantra-Rock Dance musical event
Credit: Harvey W. Cohen
The Mantra-Rock Dance musical event took place on January 29, 1967, at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco and came to be dubbed as the "ultimate high" and the "major spiritual event" of the hippie era. It was organized by the early followers of the Hare Krishna movement as a promotional and fundraising effort for their first temple on the West Coast. One of them, Harvey W. Cohen, created the Stanley Mouse inspired promotional poster (pictured). The Mantra-Rock Dance featured the Hare Krishna founder Bhaktivedanta Swami, the countercultural ideologues Allen Ginsberg and Timothy Leary, and leading rock groups the Grateful Dead, Moby Grape, and Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company. The event caused the Hare Krishna mantra to be adopted by all levels of the counterculture as a "loose commonality" and a viable alternative to drugs.

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John Herschel Glenn Jr. (July 18, 1921 – December 8, 2016) was an American Marine Corps aviator, engineer, astronaut, businessman, and politician. He was the third American in space, and the first American to orbit the Earth, circling it three times in 1962. Following his retirement from NASA, he served from 1974 to 1999 as a Democratic United States Senator from Ohio; in 1998, he flew into space again at age 77.

Before joining NASA, Glenn was a distinguished fighter pilot in World War II, Chinese Civil War and Korean War. He shot down three MiG-15s, and was awarded six Distinguished Flying Crosses and eighteen Air Medals. In 1957, he made the first supersonic transcontinental flight across the United States. His on-board camera took the first continuous, panoramic photograph of the United States. (Full article...)

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Kubrick filming Barry Lyndon, c. 1973–74

Stanley Kubrick (/ˈkbrɪk/; July 26, 1928 – March 7, 1999) was an American film director, producer, screenwriter, and photographer. Widely considered one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, his films, almost all of which are adaptations of novels or short stories, cover a wide range of genres and are noted for their realism, dark humor, and extensive set designs, and innovative cinematography.

Kubrick was raised in the Bronx, New York City, and attended William Howard Taft High School from 1941 to 1945. He received average grades but displayed a keen interest in literature, photography, and film from a young age, and taught himself all aspects of film production and directing after graduating from high school. After working as a photographer for Look magazine in the late 1940s and early 1950s, he began making short films on shoestring budgets, and made his first major Hollywood film, The Killing, for United Artists in 1956. This was followed by two collaborations with Kirk Douglas: the war picture Paths of Glory (1957) and the historical epic Spartacus (1960). (Full article...)

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The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub.L. 88–352, 78 Stat. 241, enacted July 2, 1964) is a landmark civil rights and labor law in the United States that outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. It prohibits unequal application of voter registration requirements, racial segregation in schools and public accommodations, and employment discrimination. The act "remains one of the most significant legislative achievements in American history".

Initially, powers given to enforce the act were weak, but these were supplemented during later years. Congress asserted its authority to legislate under several different parts of the United States Constitution, principally its power to regulate interstate commerce under Article One (section 8), its duty to guarantee all citizens equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment, and its duty to protect voting rights under the Fifteenth Amendment. (Full article...)
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