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Headlines from 1963

1963 was a quite a tumultous 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...

1 9 6 3
January February March April
May June July August
September October November December
'63 Debuts

'63 Departures


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 USSR

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 protesters

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 succeeds him

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 Berlin Wall

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, D.C.

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

Nov. 29th- President Johnson establishes the Warren Commision, headed by Chief Justice Earl Warren, to investigate the death of JFK


Kenya (formerly British East Africa) gains independence

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:


Audio Cassettes

Washington-to-Moscow "Hot Line"

Liver Transplants

U.S. Zip Codes

Steel tennis raquet frames

Existence of quasars discovered

Lava Lamps

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...

A&E 1963

Sports 1963

Women of 1963

Men of 1963

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