Headlines from 1963
1963 was a quite a tumultous year...it saw the first woman in space and a rash of political assassinations. MLK marched on Washington and George Wallace stood in that schoolhouse door. It was a year of hope & heartbreak, ripe with the promise of beginnings and scarred by tragic endings.
Just select a month from the table below to begin exploring 1963 or simply scroll down the page...
Jan. 14th- Alabama Governor George Wallace vows "segregation now, segregation forever" in his inaugural speech
Jan. 17th- President John F. Kennedy sends his projected budget to the U.S. Congress: $98,800,000,000 with a projected deficit of $11,900,000,000
Jan. 28th- School desegregation in South Carolina finally achieved when African-American student Harvey B. Gantt enrolls at Clemson. (Gantt later became mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina)
Lerner & Lowe's Camelot closes on Broadway after 873 performances at the Majestic Theatre
Feb. 11th- Poet Sylvia Plath takes her own life in London
1st flight of a Boeing 727 jet
Feb. 21st- Medicare is submitted to Congress by President Kennedy (it would be passed after his death under President Johnson)
March 7th- Manhattan's Pan Am Building is dedicated
Alcatraz prison, off San Francisco CA, closes its doors
MI6 turncoat Kim Philby defects to
Profumo sex scandal rocks Britain
First large scale exhibition of Pop Art held at NYC's Guggenheim Museum. Artists include Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns & Roy Lichtenstein
March 17th- Elizabeth Ann Seton beatfied by Pope John XXIII. She was the first native born American to be so honored
114 day old newspaper strike ends in New York City
April 2nd- Grand jury indicts U.S. Steel and 6 other manufacturers in price-fixing investigation
April 9th- Sir Winston Churchill proclaimed honorary U.S. citizen in White House ceremony
April 10th- U.S. nuclear sub Thresher, with crew of 129, lost in Atlantic
April 12th- Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. arrested and jailed in Birmingham, Alabama during a desegregation drive
Birmingham, Alabama police turn
dogs & fire hoses on Civil Rights
Harvard Professor Timothy Leary loses post after providing students with LSD
May 15th/16th- Astronaut Gordon Cooper completes 22.5 orbits of the earth aboard Faith-7, the last mission of NASA's Project Mercury
Astronaut Gordon Cooper
U.S. President John F. Kennedy says that segregation is "morally wrong" and it is "time to act..."
June 11th- Alabama Governor George Wallace blocks entrance of
state university to African-American
students. He later backs down in the face of National Guard troops called in by President Kennedy
Pope John XXIII dies at the Vatican and Paul VI
June 11th- 66 year old monk Thich Quang Due shocks the world by immolating himself on the streets of Saigon, in protest of South Vietnamese President Diem's oppression of Buddhists in that country
June 12th- Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers
assassinated in Mississippi
Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova
becomes 1st woman in space aboard Vostok 6
June 26th- JFK, on 10-day European tour, gives
his "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech at
JFK @ the Berlin Wall
U.S. "Zone Improvement Plan" or ZIP codes initiated
July 25th- A limited nuclear test ban treaty prohibiting testing in the atmosphere, in space and under water is initialed in Moscow by the USA, UK and USSR. (it is signed by JFK Oct. 7th)
MLK in D.C.
Great Train Robbery in Britain nets
thieves over £2 million
James Meredith becomes the first African-American graduate of the University of Mississippi
Ngo Dinh Diem
In South Vietnam, President Ngo Dinh Diem responds to the protests of Buddhist monks against his government by jailing their leaders
Aug. 28th- The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
delivers his "I Have a Dream" speech
before a crowd of over 200,000 gathered
at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington,
Life Magazine's Tribute to MLK
"I Have A Dream..."
Aug. 30th- Washington-to-Moscow "hotline" goes into effect, with an eye toward cooling Cold War tensions
Sept. 15th- Racist bombing in Birmingham,
Alabama kills 4 little girls at the 16th Street Baptist Church
CBS & NBC expand their nightly network news broadcasts on television from 15 to 30 minutes
The New York Mirror ceases publication, a victim of the recently ended newspaper strike.
Hurricane Flora devastates Cuba, Haiti & the Dominican Republic, killing 7,200
Oct. 28th- Demolition begins on the 53 year old marble & granite Pennsylvania Station in New York City. The senseless loss of the beautiful structure spurs interest in architectural preservation in the city
Oct. 31st- Gas explosion at Indiana State Fairgrounds kills 68, wounds 340
Nov. 1st- South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh
Diem and his brother assassinated in coup d'etat.
Nov. 22nd- U.S. President John F. Kennedy
assassinated in Dallas,
Texas...Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson succeeds him.
Dealy Plaza in Dallas
Nov. 24th- JFK's alleged assassain, Lee Harvey
Oswald, murdered by nightclub owner Jack Ruby, in a killing seen by millions on television
Nov. 25th- JFK, the 35th U.S. President, laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetary following a mass at St. Matthew's Roman Catholic Cathedral. The leaders of 92 nations attend the funeral, among them Charles de Gaulle of France and Prince Phillip of Great Britain
President Johnson establishes the Warren Commision, headed by Chief Justice Earl Warren, to investigate the death of JFK
Kenya (formerly British East Africa)
Dec. 8th- Frank Sinatra, Jr. (age 19) kidnapped in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. He is released 3 days later unhurt in LA after his father pays $240,000 ransom. Most of money recovered when FBI arrests 3 suspects
U.S. Congress authorizes JFK half-dollar coin
Although fullscale involvement in the Southeast Asian conflict was still two years away, by the end of 1963 over 100 U.S. personnel had died in Vietnam...
Debuts and Departures
Next up: some of the new items on the scene in 1963, followed by some of those who left the scene that same year...
Debuts in '63:
Washington-to-Moscow "Hot Line"
U.S. Zip Codes
Steel tennis raquet frames
Existence of quasars discovered
Departures in '63:
Rogers Hornsby (athlete) 1-5-63, age 66
Frank Tuttle (film director) 1-9-63
Dick Powell (actor) 1-21-63
Robert Frost (poet) 1-29-63, age 88
Jack Carson (actor) 1-21-63
Sylvia Plath (poet) 2-11-63
William Carlos Williams (poet) 3-4-63, age 79
Patsy Cline (singer) 3-5-63
Ted Weems (bandleader) 5-6-63
Medgar Evers (civil rights activist) 6-12-63, age 37
Clifford Odets (playwright) 8-18-63, age 57
W.E.B. DuBois (author/activist) 8-27-63, age 95
Adolphe Menjou (actor) 10-29-63, age 73
Aldous Huxley (author) 11-22-63
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (U.S. President) 11-22-63
Dinah Washington (singer) 12-14-63
The Year of the Hare
According to the Chinese Zodiac, 1963 was the Year of the Hare (or Rabbit). Other Years in the Rabbit cycle: 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1975, 1987 and 1999...
Women of 1963
Men of 1963