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1968 History Events: What Happened in 1968

1968 was a year of great upheaval. The times, as Bob Dylan put it, were a-changing. Despite the major political upheavals, there were a few cultural developments that would have a long-term impact on the world.

The first episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood aired in 1968, giving generations of children with a solid, comforting cultural symbol. Planet of the Apes, starring Charlton Heston, was also released in theatres that year. In October of this year, Led Zeppelin, one of the greatest bands of the twentieth century, performed live for the first time. Yale University announced this year that women will be admitted to the university, making it a coeducational institution for the first time.

This was a crucial year for space exploration as well. The United States launched Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo mission, in 1968, marking a significant step toward a Moon landing. Not long after, Apollo 8 orbited the Moon, with astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William A. Anders. These men were the first humans to observe the Moon’s dark side.

The deaths of two important political personalities in the United States, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, will be remembered most vividly in 1968. On April 4th, Martin Luther King, Jr., a prominent civil rights leader in the United States, was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. In addition to the national grief, King’s assassination provoked widespread civil unrest in an already volatile situation.

Robert F. Kennedy, the brother of killed President John F. Kennedy, was a United States Senator from New York and a Democratic presidential candidate. On the evening of June 5th, Kennedy was shot while campaigning for his party’s candidacy in Los Angeles, California. On June 6th, he died of his wounds.

Continue reading to discover more about the events of 1968.

Event

(January 13, 1968)
Johnny Cash, an American singer and composer, recorded his album Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison in front of 2,000 inmates in California's Folsom Prison. photo source: wikimedia.org

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(March 02, 1968)
Daniel Craig was born in Chester, England, and is the sixth actor to play playboy spy James Bond.

(March 16, 1968)
During the Vietnam War, on this day in 1968, US soldiers assigned on a search-and-destroy mission slaughtered up to 500 unarmed civilians in the hamlet of My Lai, which was considered a Viet Cong stronghold.

(March 30, 1968)
Celine Dion, a French Canadian pop singer noted for her vocal talent and passionate showmanship, was born.

(April 04, 1968)
Martin Luther King, Jr., an American civil rights leader who was in Memphis, Tennessee, to support a sanitation workers' strike, was assassinated by James Earl Ray on this day in 1968.

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(June 01, 1968)
Helen Keller, an American author who was deaf and blind, died in Westport, Connecticut.

(July 18, 1968)
In Mountain View, California, Intel was founded.

(July 20, 1968)
On Soldier Field in Chicago, the first International Special Olympics Summer Games are held with around 1,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities.

(August 01, 1968)
The coronation of Hassanal Bolkiah, the 29th Sultan of Brunei, is taking place.

(September 06, 1968)
Eswatini Independence Day.

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(September 15, 1968)
The spacecraft Soviet Zond 5 is started, becoming the second spaceship to and around the Moon, and the first to return to Earth safely. The Zond 5 craft delivered terrestrial species, including two tortoises, fruit fly eggs, and plant seeds, to the region of the Moon. photo source: wikimedia.org

(October 12, 1968)
Equatorial Guinea Independence Day.

(October 14, 1968)
The Apollo 7 crew broadcasts their first live television show from space. photo source: wikimedia.org

(October 16, 1968)
Tommie Smith (gold, 19.83 world record) and John Carlos (bronze) of the United States famously give the Black Power Salute on the 200m medal platform during the Mexico City Olympics to protest prejudice and injustice against African-Americans. photo source: wikimedia.org

(October 16, 1968)
Yasunari Kawabata wins the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first Japanese recipient. photo source: wikimedia.org

(October 27, 1968)
Lise Meitner, a physicist who discovered nuclear fission alongside Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann, died in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England. photo source: wikimedia.org

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(October 31, 1968) President Lyndon B. Johnson of the United States ordered the halt of American bombing in North Vietnam. photo source: wikimedia.org

(December 21, 1968)
The crew of Apollo 8 is launched from the Kennedy Space Center on a lunar trajectory, marking humanity's first visit to another celestial body. photo source: wikimedia.org

(December 23, 1968)
After being held captive for 11 months by North Korea, which claimed the USS Pueblo had entered into its seas, 82 crew members of the USS Pueblo were released. photo source: wikimedia.org

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Written by James

James has always been intrigued by dinosaurs, the universe, technology, and animals. With a Bachelor of Computer Science and years of writing expertise, he joined World Amazing Facts in 2021 as a staff writer.

Our team at World Amazing Facts is committed to verifying the accuracy of our content. It's possible that we'll get something wrong, or that our knowledge may become obsolete. Please let us know if you see any errors in the information provided.

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1967 History Events: What Happened in 1967

1969 History Events: What Happened in 1969