The Summer Of Our Discontent

Although marred by the grisly murders of three young activists, the Freedom Summer of 1964 brought revolutionary changes to Mississippi and the nation

On the first day of summer in 1964, three young activists piled into a blue station wagon in Meridian, Mississippi, and headed into Klan country. Across America, it was Father’s Day, a lazy holiday of picnics, barbecues, and doubleheaders. Transistor radios blared early Beatles hits. TV commercials urged motorists to “Put a Tiger in Your Tank.” High above in Air Force One, President Lyndon Johnson flew home from California, content with the state of the union. The economy was booming, inflation was at 1.2 percent, and gas cost 30 cents a gallon.Read more »

1964 The Year At A Glance

January 11 Surgeon General Luther L. Terry releases his report on cigarette smoking.

January 16 Hello, Dolly! opens at the St. James Theater in New York City.

January 23 The Twenty-fourth Amendment, abolishing the poll tax, becomes part of the U.S. Constitution.

February 7 The Beatles arrive at JFK Airport. Read more »

1964 - The Year The Sixties Began

Viewing a transformation that still affects all of us—through the prism of a single year

It has been called the “burned-over decade,” a “dream and a nightmare,” the “definitive end of the Dark Ages, and the beginning of a more hopeful and democratic period” in American history. It’s been celebrated in movies like Forrest Gump and memorialized by television shows like “The Wonder Years,” “American Dreams,” and “China Beach.” Read more »