Timeline: 1964-1966


1964 | 1965 | 1966

Timeline: Major Events of the 1960s



  • January 8 – President Johnson declares a “War on Poverty” in the State of the Union address thus initiating plans for his Great Society.
  • February 7 – The Beatles arrive in New York greeted by 10,000 screaming fans.
  • February 9 – The Beatles first appear on Ed Sullivan Show, performing with 74 million people watching them, the largest audience in the history of television.
  • Malcom X breaks from the Nation of Islam.
  • Congress passes the landmark Civil Rights Act.
  • Congress passes the Economic Opportunity Act initiating the war on poverty.
  • July 2 – President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964, making segregation in public facilities and discrimination in employment illegal.
  • The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gives President Johnson authority to prosecute an unlimited war in Vietnam unchecked by Congress.
  • Summer – Mississippi Summer Project: The Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), a network of civil rights groups including CORE and SNCC, launch a major effort to register black voters throughout the summer which becomes known as the Freedom Summer. It results in sending a group of delegates to the Democratic National Convention to protest and attempt to unseat the official all white Mississippi contingent.
  • July 18 – There is a Race riot in Harlem, NY
  • July 23 – Senate passes $947 million antipoverty bill as part of the Great Society
  • Free Speech Movement at the University of California in Berkley.
  • August 5 – Three civil rights volunteers working to register voters are murdered by southern whites. They first go missing on June 21, but only officially declared missing on August 5. The three voluteers were James E. Cheney, 21; Andrew Goodman, 21; and Michael Schwerner, 24. They been arrested arrested, incarcerated, and then released on speeding charges. Their murdered bodies are found after President Johnson sends military personnel to join the search party. It is later revealed that the police released the three men to the Ku Klux Klan who killed them.
  • August 20 – LBJ signs anti-poverty program part of his war on poverty and the Great Society.
  • August 28 – There are Race riots in Philadelphia
  • August 31 – President Johnson signs food stamp bill
  • November – President Johnson reelected in a landslide over Barry Goldwater, but conservatives take over the Republican Party and remain a force in the party.
  • Beatles first tour of the United States helps make them the most popular musical group in the English speaking world.
  • Nikita Khruschev toppled from power in the USSR
  • Cassius Clay wins heavyweight championship of the world and then announces he has joined the nation of Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali
  • October 14 – Announced that Martin Luther King Jr. has won the the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • December 10- the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to King.


  • January 4 – President Johnson outlines his “Great Society”
  • February – Martin Luther King Jr. and 770 other protesters arrested in Selma, Alabama for picketing county courthouse to end discrim voting rights.
  • February 8 – U.S. starts bombing North Vietnam.
  • February 18 – Sect. of Defense Robert McNamara calls for nationwide network of bomb shelters.
  • February 21 – Malcom X is assassinated in New York City. Malcolm X was a black nationalist and founder of the Organization of Afro-American Unity. It is believed the assailants are members of the Black Muslim faith, which Malcolm had recently abandoned.
  • March 3 – Owsley starts LSD factory, making large quantities of acid available for the first time.
  • March 6 – First American soldier officially sets foot on Vietnam battlefields, First U.S. combat troops begin fighting in South Vietnam.
  • March 7 – In Selma, Alabama, SCLC and SNCC lead marches for voting rights. Blacks begin a march to Montgomery in support of voting rights but are stopped at the Pettus Bridge by a police blockade. Fifty marchers are hospitalized after police use tear gas, whips, and clubs against them. The incident is dubbed “Bloody Sunday” by the media.
  • March 8 – 3,500 Marines land to protect Da Nang air base
  • March 16 – Police break-up a Civil Rights demonstration of 600 in Montgomery, Alabama
  • March 17 – 1,600 people demonstrate at Montgomery, Alabama courthouse
  • March 21 – Martin Luther King Jr. leads march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama joined by 25,000 marchers.
  • March 24 – SDS organizes first Vietnam War teach-in at Univ. of Michigan 3000 show up. Teach-ins against the war begin.
  • March 25 – Civil rights worker shot and killed by KKK in Alabama
  • March 28 – Martin Luther King calls for boycott of Alabama on TV
  • April – 25,000 U.S. troops stationed in Vietnam
  • April 17 – SDS leads first anti-Vietwar march in Washington. 25,000 attend including Phil Ochs, Joan Baez and Judy Collins In Washington, D.C., SDS stages the first large national demonstration against the war.
  • July 8 – Chicago school integration protests
  • July 25 – Dylan goes Rock at Newport Folk Festival
  • July 30 – LBJ signs Medicare bill
  • August 10 – Congress passes the Voting Rights Act of 1965, making it easier for Southern blacks to register to vote. Literacy tests and other such requirements that tended to restrict black voting become illegal.
  • Twenty thousand U.S. troops intervene in the Dominican Republic.
  • United Farm Workers Organizing Committee launches a strike against grape growers in California.
  • Congress passes Immigration Reform Act
  • August 11 – Insurrection in Watts section of Los Angeles Major race riot (6 days) in Watts, leaves 35 dead.
  • August 13 – National Guard enters the Watts riots in L.A. in an attempt to stop the riots.
  • August 31 – Burning draft cards becomes an illegal and punishable act. Burning draft cards had become a popular protest method against the war.
  • September 5 – San Francisco writer Michael Fallon applies the term “hippie” to the San Francisco counterculture in an article about the Blue Unicorn coffeehouse where LEMAR (Legalize Marijuana) & the Sexual Freedom League meet, and hippie houses.
  • October 16 – 100,000 anti-war protesters nationwide in 80 cities
  • November – Unsafe at Any Speed about the automobile industry’s disregard for safety, by Ralph Nader is published.
  • December 25 – Timothy Leary arrested for Marijuana at the Mexican border


  • January 14 – March on Atlanta to protest ouster of Julian Bond
  • February 19 – Jefferson Airplane and Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin perform at the Fillmore
  • March 3 – GI Bill grants veterans rights to education, housing, health and jobs
  • March 11 – Timothy Leary sentenced in Texas to 30 years for trying to cross into Mexico with a small amount of marijuana
  • March 25 – Anti-Vietnam war protests in NY bring out 25,000 on 5th Ave. Other protests in 7 US cities and 7 foreign cities.
  • April – FBI releases file on LSD, the drug gets bad press.
  • April – 30 Mississippi blacks build tent city under President Johnson’s window to protest housing conditions in their state
  • April 7 – Sandoz stops supplying LSD to the researchers
  • April 12 – NY Stock Exchange hit with anti-war leaflets
  • April 16 – Timothy Leary busted at Millbrook by G. Gordon Liddy & FBI for possession of marijuana
  • May 15 – There is an Antiwar demonstration in Washington D.C. with 10,000 protesters attending
  • August 18 – Quotations of Chairman Mao also called the the little red book is published in China. The Red Guard begins to wipe out western influence in China as part of the cultural revolution that is raging there.
  • September – Timothy Leary holds press conference at NY Advertising Club announcing formation of a psychedelic religion – League for Spiritual Discovery (“Turn on, tune in, drop out”) & starts nightly presentations at the Village Theater.
  • November 5 – The Walk for Love and Peace and Freedom in New York City takes place with 10,000 participants.

Content c2004
The Sixties: A Journey Through Politics and Culture.
Web design and content by Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

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