WHO were you in 1968?
A few months ago at a San Diego Free Press contributor meeting, a group of us shared stories about where we were, what we were thinking and what we were doing in 1968, a watershed year for many of us. It was fifty years ago that so many baby boomers came of age against the backdrop of first Martin Luther King’s assassination, then Bobby Kennedy’s. It was a year of civil rights protests, school walkouts, university sit-ins and broad civil unrest.
At the summer Olympics in Mexico City, American medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in protest of racial discrimination. That same year Cesar Chavez announced that he would begin a fast to promote nonviolence within the ranks of the United Farm Workers.
The Tet Offensive occurred in 1968. There were 549,500 American troops in Vietnam at the time. (The draft would be imposed a year later in 1969). This would be the next to the last year of LBJ’s presidency. North Korea seized the USS Pueblo, heightening Cold War tensions.
These are just a few of the events that rocked our world in 1968.
The SDFP editors invite you to submit articles, poems or original artwork on the topic of 1968.
While many of us were in the thick of it, so to speak, those too young to grasp a clear picture of the politics or what was happening in the streets were clearly affected by the popular culture. And there have been even younger generations who have only heard stories from their parents and siblings and now their grandparents or studied the late 60s and early 70s in school.
We’d like to hear from all of you this month. You can make it short and sweet — 400 words (or less) and a photograph or send something longer.
Music has an amazing ability to transport us to a specific time, place and state of mind. I hope the musical selections below unlock memory, set you to writing. And unlike 1968, we can now totally relax while we toke or munch on some mj and rock out.
We played singles! On record players, the new stereo systems and eight-track tapes!
These now “classic rock” singles were released in 1968: Sympathy for the Devil ( Rolling Stones); All Along the Watchtower (Jimi Hendrix); While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Beatles); Hey Jude (Beatles); Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Stones); Piece of My Heart (Janis Joplin and the Holding Company); Born to be Wild (Steppenwolf)
Motown releases #1 hit Heard it Through the Grapevine (Marvin Gaye); More Motown here.
Movie releases in 1968 include 2001 Space Odyssey and The Graduate, Planet of the Apes and Rosemary’s Baby. More here.