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Malcolm X was a Black Muslim activist for a large portion of his life. Since meeting a Black Muslim in prison, Malcolm had decided to dedicate himself as much as possible to being an activist, as well as a supremacist, for the black race. His strong intimidating debate skills were formed in prison. He joined a prison debate team and competed with students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard. Malcolm’s orating skills improved through his education in prison. After Malcolm’s release from prison, he joined the Nation of Islam and spoke on the streets about injustice to black people. Malcolm believed that he was called to help change the majority of the world’s rule over to black people. The Islam’s believe that the world was ruled by whites for 6,000 years, and that now it was time to hand the universe over to the blacks for another 6,000. Malcolm was kicked out of the Nation of Islam ultimately because of his outward happiness that John F. Kennedy’s assassination brought him in 1964. Even though Malcolm conformed to a non-supremacist worldview in 1964, he was still assassinated for what he had been and for what his past caused him to be. Malcolm X was killed on the second assassination attempt of his life. The house where Malcolm lived was firebombed without hurting anyone. The kids and wife of Malcolm were actually only a few feet away from Malcolm when he was shot. The death of Malcolm X will always be remembered as an unjust act that severely hurt the civil rights movement in America in the 1960s. The views that Malcolm had used in his life reflected the 1960s very well; they were unsure and confused.8
Another way in which 1965 was expressed was through literature. John Berryman wrote a three-part poem in 1965 called “77 Dream Songs.
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Another great popular work from 1965 was The Sound Of Music. Although it wasn’t clear, this movie contributed to the strange nature of 1965. A popular movie star by the name of Julie Andrews starred in this movie. The Sound Of Music won its popularity before it even came out. Julie Andrews had starred in Mary Poppins in 1964, which was a huge success at the box office. Even Though Mary Poppins had been a crashing hit, The Sound Of Music did better in ticket sales. In fact, The Sound Of Music set a record at the box office by shattering the old record Gone With The Wind had set. No movie hit the box office harder until 1978, when Grease! came out. The Sound Of Music was definitely a movie for all ages. It had drama, music, a love story, a little bit for the kids, and everything a movie needed to please just about any audience that stood before it. The producer/director of the “Sound of Music” was Robert Wise, who previously had produced and directed the West Side Story in 1961. Julie Andrews, who had previously won the Best Actress Academy Award in her part in Mary Poppins, added here good singing voice and beauty to the film. She helped make the beloved songs in the movie by recording the songs “Maria,” “The Sound Of Music,” My Favorite Things,” “You Are Sixteen, Going On Seventeen, “Climb Ev’ry Mountain, “Do-Re-Mi,” and “Edelweiss.” Because of the great actors, good music, good screenplay, and beautiful scenery, the movie was nominated for ten Academy Awards. Julie Andrews was nominated for best actress for the second year in a row. Other nominations included Best Picture, Best Director, Best Color Cinematography, Best Supporting Actress, Best Color Art Direction/Set Decoration, Best Score, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, and Best Color Costume Design. The five nominations that obtained the awards were Best Picture, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Sound, and Best Score. Even though the film was so peaceful, there were still rebellious teachings in it. Maria, who was played by Julie Andrews, spend most of here time singing and wondering of in the mountains, while refusing to do and neglected her duties. This is what made The Sound Of Music reflect the sixties: bad hidden facts about what seemed to be right and fine, music that was much different than what was used in the popular music industry, and a proof of widespread interest with all the moral changes going on in America especially.2
Space Exploration took many vital steps in 1965 that allowed the world to land on the moon and improve space programs of the future. On March 18, 1965, Alexei A. Leonov space walked after leaving the Soviet Voskhod 2 spacecraft in space. Only five days after the first space walk, the Gemini program was launched. This program was a vital part in NASA’s future. Only a day after the Gemini program was launched on March 24, high quality, large, and close-up pictures of the moon were transmitted to earth and watched on televisions around the world. On July 14, the U.S. obtained the first close-range pictures of mars. On the sixteenth day of November, the Soviet spacecraft called Venus 3 was launched, which became the first spacecraft to crash into Venus. When the Gemini 7 orbited the Earth 206 times on December 4, a trip to the moon was almost guaranteed possible. The Gemini 6 and the Gemini 7 rendezvoused making the first meeting of two spacecrafts ever on the 15th of December.4
A very famous song that is still cherished today by the name of “I Got You Babe” held very much relevance to the 1960s. Sonny and Cher wrote this song. The first line of the song reads, “They say we're young and we don't know, we won't find out until we grow.” Cher replied to this line in the song singing, “Well I don't know if all that's true, 'Cause you got me, and baby I got you.” This line in the song suggests that the morality that Sonny Bono was speaking of didn’t matter. When Cher spoke these words in “I Got You Babe,” many teenagers and younger adults favored this music over any other music, because the lyrical content in this song in particular talks about being free from the consequences of wrong until people are grown. The rest of the song suggested that no matter what the consequences or what got in the way, they still had each other. For example, one of Cher’s lines stated, “So let them say your hairs too long ‘Cause I don’t care, with you I can’t go wrong. This was succeeded by Sonny’s line that said, “Then put your little hand in mine, there ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb. This song not clearly but was borderline supportive of the quote, “The end justifies the means.”5
Since my Grandma, Joe Svochak, was in her twenties during the 1960s, I decided to ask her about what she remembered about 1965. She strongly emphasized not having seat belts to wear. She said that she had to hold her hand out in front of her children to keep them from flying into the dash or the window. She said she remember Lyndon Banes Johnson got inaugurated and was very ill around that time. Whenever the first pictures of the moon came on television, she said she was there. Also, she was watching when the first pictures of mars showed on television. She never had a microwave unless she went to a restaurant. “Hot Pants” were a popular form of clothing around this time according to my Grandmother. Many natural disasters happened around this time in the sixties and long hair was a fad for men for a time. 7
A very hard form of the everyday life for people in America as well as the world was the aches and pains of loved ones that died in the Vietnam War, natural disaster, homicide, or a variety of ways loss of life came about in the 1965 to haunt the average family. Many families were poverty-stricken, heart-broken, devastated, or discriminated. A black American would be discriminated against the most in 1965. In 1965, it was very difficult to keep from holding a burden of devastation. Hurricane Burma as well as many shipwrecks and foreign “mini-wars,” such as the Dominican Republic crisis, destroyed people and their families, which helped the movement that made people join cultic, wrong, and unrealistic religions to get away from all the problems the 1960s had caused people. 8
The year 1965 as well as the 1960s in general had a lot to teach me, but the most important thing that the sixties probably did was end. The 1960s did happen for a purpose. Perhaps the purpose was to grow the American nation and nations around it, so they could learn to go out and comfort and help each other to survive in times of great need. Above many of the lessons I learned from researching this topic, definitely the most important lesson taught me that the 1960s could be compared to today’s world because of what impact it made on the generation after it that will follow on to the generations that succeed us. One main irreplaceable thing that occurred in the twenties was the destruction of discrimination.
Even though there were many disrupting, as well as beneficial events in 1965, it all turned out to be quite normal. The 1960s is just a decade with a whole bunch of disasters and helpful events. That is what made the 1960s somewhat normal. Disaster happens all the time, but in this decade, disaster just happened over and over again until the next decade came in, then disaster turned into prosperity. This decade definitely serves as a warning to the “generation next.”
1. “1965 Comments.” DNBOC. 1965-comments dept. October 3, 1999
2. Dirks, Tim. “The Sound of Music.” On-line. Internet. 22 September 2001
3. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History. New York: Touchstone Book, 1991.
4. “History of Space Exploration: 1965.” On-Line. Internet. 22 September 2001.
5. “Reitz, Jennifer Diane. “1965 Top Rock ‘n’roll Hits.” Jukebox of Enlightnment.
On-Line. Top 40 Gold Site. 22 Jan. 2001.
Available: http// Cl/My%20Documentrs/1965-Billboard Top RocknrolHIts
6. “San Francisco. History by Year.” Museum of The City of San Francisco.
On-Line. 22 Jan. 2001.
Available: http://www.sfmuseum .org/hist1
7. Svochak, Joe. Tru-Form Optics, Inc. Euless, TX. Interview, February 27, 2001.
8. 1966 World Book: Reviewing Events Of 1965. Volume 50. Chicago: Field
Enterprises Educational Corporation, 1966.