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» » Our World Speaking Out: Spring 1963 (1986–1987)

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    • Author: Valawye
    This episode deals mainly with the racial strife in the south and the struggle for civil rights. These times were characterized in song by artists such as Peter, Paul, and Mary, Pete Seger, Joan Baez. Bob Dylan wrote the song "Blowin' In The Wind" which became a hit for Peter, Paul, and Mary. Civil Rights had not been a priority at the time, and George Wallace's (Alabama Governor) attitude at that time was "segretation forever." Alabama had the last totally segregated university system. Wallace had blocked the door when two black students, Vivian Malone and James Head, tried to the university. A federal judge had favored admission by blacks.

    Good film coverage showed what was going on behind the scenes both in Alabama and in Washington, D.C. Major players in Washington were the President, of course, the Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and the Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenback. Katzenbach was the "go-between" between Washington and Wallace. When the National Guard, under the direction of Gen. Henry Graham, was nationalized and sent put into action, Wallace relented.

    Kennedy had been planning all spring in doing about segregation, but the riots, burning buildings, police dogs, and fire hoses which were seen regularly in TV hastened his actions. Theodore Sorenson was Kennedy's Special Counsel and assisted in writing the speech that Kennedy gave. Less than seven hours after Kennedy's speech on segregation, Medgar Evers, Field Director for the NAACP, was shot from ambush and was dead an hour later. Kennedy got a bill into Congress, but it lay there until 1964 because of resistance in both Congress and the country. Lots of good footage including interviews in this segment.

    Martin Luther King's March On Washington was also highlighted in this show. The march focused on the plight of black people in the southern U.S. Kennedy did not want any demonstrations during this march. It was agreed that black policemen would control and arrest, if necessary, the black in the main throng, and white policemen would control and arrest, if necessary, any whites on the perimeter.

    A short part of the episode dealt with Kennedy's visit to Berlin, the Berlin Wall, and Checkpoint Charlie. Kennedy was popular in Germany, and became even more popular with his "I am a Berliner" speech.

    ALSO IN 1963: **The Chevy Impala was a big seller at about $3,000. Radio, $48 extra...with pushbuttons, $57 extra. **Female vocal groups were popular: The Crystals, The Chiffons, The Exciters, The Angels, The Ronettes ("Be My Baby). **Leslie Gore had the hit "It's My Party." **On the west coast, bikinis and surfing were popular as evidenced by the songs "Wipe Out," "Surfin' U.S.A.", "Surf City" (#1 on the charts), and "Surfin'Safari." The Beach Boys were popular surf singers. **The film "Beach Party" with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello came out adding to the surfing fad. **Allan Sherman had a hit song "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah." The film "Cleopatra" with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor came out. **Valentina Tereshkova, 26 years old, was the first woman in space. **Seven million dollars was stolen in the great train robbery. **Betty Friedan wrote a best seller, "The Feminine Mystique" (women's lib had not emerged yet). **Kodak came out with its instamatic camera. **The Zip Code made the scene. **A "hot line" was set up between Washington and the Kremlin for instant communication. **Pope John XXIII died and Paul VI became Pope. **Jack Nicholas was the PGA champion. **Last total eclipse of the sun until 1970.

    Some of the interviewees: Nicholas Katzenbach, Vivian Malone, Henry Graham, Geoge Wallace, Theodore Sorenson, Myrlie Evers, Leslie Gore. Henry Belafonte, Bryan Wilson (Beach Boys), Anna Cole (designer of the Bikini.
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