The Kennedy Promise

The Kennedy Promise

A timeline shows important events of the era. In 1960, the Greensboro lunch counter sit-ins inspire student-led demonstrations. In 1961, the CIA orchestrates the Bay of Pigs invasion. In 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis occurs; a formation of missile launch sites in Cuba is shown. In 1963, John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas; the president’s motorcade in the moments before the assassination is shown. In 1964, Congress passes the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. In 1965, Congress passes the Voting Rights Act; a photograph of President Lyndon B. Johnson greeting Martin Luther King, Jr. is shown. In 1966, the National Organization for Women is founded. In 1968, the Tet Offensive is launched, and Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated in Memphis; a Saigon street filled with billowing smoke is shown. In 1969, Apollo 11 lands the first humans on the moon; a photograph of Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon is shown.

In the 1950s, President Dwight D. Eisenhower presided over a United States that prized conformity over change. Although change naturally occurred, as it does in every era, it was slow and greeted warily. By the 1960s, however, the pace of change had quickened and its scope broadened, as restive and energetic waves of World War II veterans and baby boomers of both sexes and all ethnicities began to make their influence felt politically, economically, and culturally. No one symbolized the hopes and energies of the new decade more than John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the nation’s new, young, and seemingly healthful, president. Kennedy had emphasized the country’s aspirations and challenges as a “new frontier” when accepting his party’s nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, California.

1 of 7