Portal:1960s

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The 1960s Portal

Top, L-R: 2 U.S. soldiers crawl on the ground during the Vietnam War; The Beatles who were part of the British Invasion that changed music in the United States and around the world. Centre, L-R: John F. Kennedy is assassinated in 1963, after serving as President for three years; Martin Luther King Jr. makes his famous I Have a Dream speech to a crowd of over a million; millions participate in the Woodstock Festival of 1969. Bottom, L-R: China's Mao Zedong initiates the Great Leap Forward plan which fails and brings mass starvation in which 20 to 30 million people died by 1961; the Stonewall Inn, site of major demonstrations for gay and lesbian rights; for the first time in history, a human being sets foot on the Moon, during the Cold War-era Space Race, July 1969.

The 1960s (pronounced "nineteen-sixties") was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on 1 January 1960, and ended on 31 December 1969. The term "1960s" also refers to an era more often called the Sixties, denoting the complex of inter-related cultural and political trends around the globe. This "cultural decade" is more loosely defined than the actual decade, beginning around 1963 with the Kennedy assassination and ending around 1974 with the Watergate scandal.

Featured article

The Stonewall Inn, taken September 1969
The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. They are frequently cited as the first instance in American history when gays and lesbians fought back against a government-sponsored system that persecuted homosexuals, and they have become the defining event that marked the start of the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world. The Stonewall Inn, at the time, was owned by the Mafia. It catered to an assortment of patrons, but it was known to be popular with the most marginalized people in the gay community: transvestites, effeminate young men, hustlers, and homeless youth. Police raids on gay bars were routine in the 1960s, but officers quickly lost control of the situation at the Stonewall Inn, and attracted a crowd that was incited to riot. Tensions between New York City police and gay residents of Greenwich Village erupted into more protests the next evening, and again several nights later. Within six months, two gay activist organizations were formed in New York, concentrating on confrontational tactics, and three newspapers were established to promote rights for gays and lesbians. Within a few years, gay rights organizations were founded across the U.S. and the world. Today Gay Pride events are held annually throughout the world toward the end of June to mark the Stonewall riots.

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George Wallace's Stand in the Schoolhouse Door
Credit: U.S. News & World Report

Attempting to block racial integration at the University of Alabama, Governor George Wallace (left) stands defiantly at the door on June 11, 1963, in an incident known as the Stand in the Schoolhouse Door. Wallace moved aside after being ordered to do so by President John F. Kennedy; years later, he became a born-again Christian and recanted his segregationist views.

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The four members of The Beatles

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Suharto in 1993
Suharto (8 June 1921 – 27 January 2008) was the second President of Indonesia, holding the office for 31 years from the ousting of Sukarno in 1967 until his resignation in 1998. During the Japanese occupation of Indonesia, Suharto served in Japanese-organised Indonesian security forces. Indonesia's independence struggle saw his joining the newly formed Indonesian army. Suharto rose to the rank of major general following Indonesian independence. An attempted coup on 30 September 1965 allegedly backed by the Indonesian Communist Party was countered by Suharto-led troops. The army subsequently led an anti-communist purge and Suharto wrested power from Indonesia's founding president, Sukarno. He was appointed acting president in 1967, replacing Sukarno, and elected President the following year. Under his "New Order" administration, Suharto constructed a strong, centralised and military-dominated government. For most of his presidency, Indonesia experienced significant economic growth and industrialisation, dramatically improving health, education and living standards. By the 1990s, the New Order's authoritarianism and widespread corruption were a source of discontent and, following a severe financial crisis, led to widespread unrest and his resignation in May 1998. Suharto died in 2008 and was given a state funeral.

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