1) February 19, 1963: Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique.
“My secret scream as I stir the oatmeal, iron the blue jeans, and sell pop at the Little League baseball games is ‘Stop the World, I want to get on before it’s too late!” confided a Wyoming woman in a letter to Betty Friedan. She was one of three million people in the United States who read Freidan’s journalistic best-selling book The Feminine Mystique after its release on February 19, 1963. The Wyoming homemaker claimed, “Few books have had such an impact.” The isolated wife continued: “I love my family dearly and wouldn’t trade them, or my life with them, for anything. But as they go out each day to meet and get involved in this great big wonderful world, I yearn to tag along!” This response was common for the letters Friedan received throughout the 1960s. Betty Friedan was a graduate of Smith College who developed into an active labor union journalist and homemaker after marrying Carl Freidan after World War II in 1947. Freidan’s book laid the theoretical foundation for women to organize around gender inequality leading up to the Women’s Liberation Movement (also known as Second Wave Feminist—the first wave being the suffrage movement at the beginning of the century).
2) March 5, 1963: Camden, Tennessee was the site of a woodland crash landing of a small tour plane killing country music star Patsy Cline.
Earlier that year Cline had recorded the song “Sweet Dreams,” to be released on her upcoming album Faded Love.
3) March 22, 1963: The Beatles released their first album in the United States, Please, Please Me.
The songs featured on Please, Please Me included I Saw Her Standing There, Love Me Do, PS I Love You, and Twist and Shout.
4) March 28, 1963: The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock was released.
5) April 3, 1963: The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. initiated the non-violent Birmingham Campaign in Birmingham, Alabama.
6) April 4, 1963: The cult hit Bye Bye Birdie, a fictitious interpretation of the hysteria surrounding Elvis’ enlistment during the Korean War staring Dick Van Dyke and Ann Margaret was released across the country.
7) April 8, 1963: Held in Hollywood, California; the 35th Academy Awards for films made in 1962 bestowed Gregory Peck with the Best Actor award for his role as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird.
8 April 16, 1963: During the SCLC Birmingham Campaign, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Reverend Ralph Abernathy were arrested. On April 16th, he released his infamous Letter from a Birmingham Jail for protesting and “parading without a permit.”
9) April 19, 1963: Johnny Cash released “Ring of Fire” co-written with his future wife June Carter Cash.
10) May 27, 1963: Bob Dylan released his second album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan with Columbia Records. The album included his hits Blowing in The Wind and Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright.
11) June 11, 1963: In response to Alabama Governor George C. Wallace physically blocking the entrance to the University of Alabama, prohibiting the integration of two admitted African American students James Hood and Vivian Malone, President John F. Kennedy delivered his Civil Rights Address. The speech was broadcast live on both radio and television from the Oval Office. It was seen as a major turning point in federal support of the Civil Rights Movement.
For full text of Kennedy’s Civil Rights Address please see: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/jfkcivilrights.htm
12) June 26, 1963: John F. Kennedy gave his “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech in West Berlin, West Germany in solidarity with West Berlin during the ratcheting up of the Cold War.
The problem? As Eddie Izzard points out, Kennedy actually said he was a “Jelly Donut.”
13) July 9, 1963: Martha and the Vandella’s released their #1 hit (Love Is Like a) Heat Wave with Motown Records in Detroit.
14) August 28, 1963: During the March of Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his I Have a Dream speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It was broadcast nationally on television and radio and seen as a major development in non-violent coordinated action.
15) September 15, 1963: The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama killed ‘four little girls’ preparing for the Sunday worship and injured 22. The violent murders of innocent black Sunday School girls enraged the nation.
16) November 10, 1963: Malcolm X gave his “Message to the Grassroots” speech in Detroit, Michigan.
17) November 22, 1963: John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in later that day aboard Air Force One.
CBS Coverage from 1963: Watch the news report that interrupted “As the World Turns” on CBS live as the events unfolded on national television:
18) November 24, 1963: Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of John F. Kennedy was murdered on live national television by Jack Ruby in Dallas, Texas.
19) November 29, 1963: The Beatles released I Want to Hold Your Hand.
20) December 31, 1963: Sam Cooke recorded A Change Is Gonna Come