The 1968 Exhibit: Timeline

For immediate release

Release dated: 
October 2, 2017
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Minnesota Historical Society 651-259-3148,
Lauren Peck, Minnesota Historical Society 651-259-3137,

The 1968 Exhibit: Timeline

Jan. 13 - Johnny Cash performs at Folsom Prison. The album of the performance becomes a hit, reaching number one on the country charts and the top 15 of the national album chart.

Jan. 14 - Super Bowl II is played. Not yet known as the Super Bowl, the second AFL-NFL World Championship Game is held in Miami. The Green Bay Packers beat the Oakland Raiders, 33 to 14.

Jan. 22 - Variety show “Laugh-In” begins on NBC. Originally aired as a one-time special on Sept. 9, 1967, it was such a success that NBC brings it back as a series.

Jan. 31 - The Tet Offensive begins. North Vietnamese forces and the Viet Cong launch attacks throughout South Vietnam. While surprised at first, the U.S. and South Vietnamese armies beat back the attackers. Meanwhile, the American people are stunned by the strength of the Communist forces and question what they have been told by political and military leaders.

Feb. 8 - George Wallace declares candidacy for president. Wallace, a former Alabama governor and committed segregationist, announces his candidacy for U.S. president on the American Independent Party ticket.

Feb. 10 -  United States wins gold at Winter Olympic Games. Nineteen-year-old Peggy Fleming captures the gold medal in women’s figure skating at the Olympics in Grenoble, France‚ the only American gold of the games.

Feb. 10-17 -  Record number of U.S. casualties reported in Vietnam War. The casualty count sets a record with 543 killed in action and 2,547 wounded in one week.

Feb. 27 - Walter Cronkite criticizes the U.S. war effort. During a nationally televised news special on CBS, Cronkite predicts that the “bloody experience of Vietnam will end in a stalemate.”

March 4 - “The LeClair Affair” scandal is reported.  The New York Times prints an article about Barnard sophomore Linda LeClair who was living with her boyfriend against school policy.

March 12 - Eugene McCarthy finishes strong at the New Hampshire Democratic primary. Relying heavily on student volunteers, McCarthy narrowly loses to President Lyndon Johnson. The volunteers cut their hair, tone down their dress and get “Clean for Gene,” to connect with mainstream voters.

March 16 - My Lai massacre occurs. U.S. Army troops kill more than 500 Vietnamese civilians, including children and the elderly, in the village of My Lai. The tragedy is not made public for more than a year.

March 31 - President Johnson does not seek re-election. In the face of mounting criticism over the war in Vietnam Johnson announces he will not run for re-election.

April 2 - “2001: A Space Odyssey” hits theaters. The movie reaches number two at the box office for the year, behind “Funny Girl.”

April 4 - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated. Dr. King spends the day at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis working on plans for the Poor People's March on Washington D.C. to take place later in the month. At 6 p.m., as he leaves his hotel room, he is shot and dies shortly after. Two months later, James Earl Ray is arrested and imprisoned for the murder.

April 4 - Riots erupt in Washington D.C. and spread to other U.S. cities. Dr. King’s assassination sparks riots in Washington D.C., Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Kansas City, Newark and many other cities. Forty-six deaths are blamed on the riots.

April 23 - Columbia University protests begin. Students protest over links between the university and the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, and over construction of a nearby gymnasium thought to have segregated entrances. The protesters occupy university buildings and are eventually removed forcibly by the New York City police.

April 29 - “Hair” opens on Broadway.  The musical helps establish rock ’n’ roll as a legitimate Broadway genre.

May 8 - Catfish Hunter pitches a perfect game.  James Augustus “Catfish” Hunter delivers the ninth perfect game in baseball history, leading the Oakland A’s to victory over the Minnesota Twins, 4 to 0.

May 10 - Vietnam War peace talks begin.  The U.S. and North Vietnamese delegations meet in Paris.

May 11 - “Resurrection City” is created in Washington D.C. During the Poor People’s Campaign, a settlement of tents and shacks is built on the Washington Mall to house protesters. “Resurrection City” is meant to draw attention to the fight to end hunger and poverty in America.

June 5 - Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated. Kennedy is fatally shot in Los Angeles after addressing his supporters at the Ambassador Hotel. During the trial, accused gunman, Palestinian-American Sirhan Sirhan, says he shot Kennedy because of his pro-Israeli stance.

June 28 - Aretha Franklin appears on the cover of Time magazine. Franklin appears on the cover of Time magazine just days after releasing her hit album “Aretha Now,” which features the popular song “Think.”

July 7 - Abbie Hoffman publishes “The Yippies are Going to Chicago.” Created by Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and Paul Krassner, the Yippie (Youth International Party) movement is characterized by theatrical displays of public disorder. The Yippies would later incite riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

July 9 - All-Star Game is played. The American League versus the National League game is held at the Houston Astrodome, making it the first All-Star game to be played indoors. The National League defeats the American League 1-0.

July 25 - Pope Paul VI issues “Humanae Vitae.” This encyclical states the Catholic Church’s condemnation of all forms of artificial birth control.

July 28 - American Indian Movement is founded. Early leaders Clyde Bellecourt, Dennis Banks and George Mitchell use the movement to spearhead more aggressive advocacy for American Indian rights.

Aug. 8 - Richard M. Nixon wins nomination at Republican National Convention. Nixon beats out Nelson Rockefeller of New York and Ronald Reagan of California. He names Spiro Agnew as his running mate.

Aug. 26 - Democratic National Convention opens. In the days that follow, thousands of demonstrators take to the streets to protest the Vietnam War. Violent clashes occur between protesters and police. The riots are well publicized on television and in print.

Aug. 29 - Hubert H. Humphrey wins nomination at Democratic National Convention. Vice President Humphrey is nominated, defeating Senators Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern.

Sept. 7 - Protests are staged at the Miss America Beauty Contest. Women's Liberation groups, joined by members of the New York National Organization for Women, target the contest in Atlantic City. The protesters throw bras and other symbols of female oppression into a “freedom trash can.”

Sept. 16 - Jimi Hendrix releases “Electric Ladyland.” The third and final album released by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, it is the follow-up to “Are You Experienced,” the best-selling album of 1968.

Sept. 19 - “Funny Girl” is released. The semi-biographical movie musical is based on the life and career of film and stage star Fanny Brice. Barbra Streisand, reprising her Broadway role, wins the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1969, an honor she shares with Katharine Hepburn for “The Lion in Winter.”

Oct. 11 - Apollo 7 is launched. Astronauts Wally Schirra, Donn F. Eisele and Walter Cunningham become the first manned flight team in the Apollo program.

Oct. 17 - Black Power protest at the Summer Olympic Games. Two African-American runners, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, raise gloved hands as they give the Black Power salute during their medal ceremony at the Olympics held in Mexico City. The United States takes home the most medals of the games.

Oct. 31 - President Johnson halts U.S. bombing in North Vietnam.

Nov. 5 - Nixon wins presidential election. Winning by a narrow margin, Republican Richard M. Nixon becomes the 37th president of the United States, beating Democrat Hubert H. Humphrey and Independent George Wallace.

Nov. 14 - National Turn in Your Draft Card Day is held. Rallies and protests, which include the burning of draft cards, are staged on college campuses throughout the country as the Vietnam death toll approaches 30,000, and U.S. troop strength in Vietnam reaches its wartime peak of 550,000.

Nov. 22 - “The Beatles” is released. The double album, also known as the “White Album,” is released during a period of dissension among the band. Drummer Ringo Starr quits for a brief time, leaving Paul McCartney to perform drums on some of the album's songs. Still, the album reaches number one on the charts in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Dec. 5 - O. J. Simpson wins Heisman Trophy. Simpson wins the award by the largest margin in Heisman Trophy history, due to his stunning stats of 1,709 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns while playing for the University of Southern California.

Dec. 11 - Strong jobless rate report released. The unemployment rate, at 3.3 percent, is the lowest it has been in fifteen years.

Dec. 21 - Apollo 8 is launched. The first U.S. mission to orbit the Moon, Apollo 8 carries astronauts Frank Borman, James A. Lovell Jr. and William A. Anders. On Christmas Eve, the crew sends back the first-ever images of the entire Earth taken from space while reading from the Book of Genesis. The crew returns home on Dec. 27.