JFK’s program for change in which he issued a challenge to the American people, calling upon them to make sacrifices to achieve their potential greatness; included medical assistance for the elderly, increased education spending, space exploration, public service initiatives such as the peace corps, a commitment to civil rights and fiscal policies to revitalize the economy.
“New Frontier” program proposed by JFK; an “army” of idealistic and youthful volunteers who brought American skills to underdeveloped countries.
Multibillion-dollar project to land an American on the moon; promoted by JFK, this goal was finally achieved in 1969.
Wall dividing East and West Berlin; constructed by the Soviets in 1961 in order to stop the heavy population drain that flowed from East Germany into West Germany; symbolized the postwar division of Europe into two hostile camps.
EEC (European Economic Community)
Free trade area established in Europe after WWII to aid in economic growth and recovery (also known as the Common Market); JFK secured passage of the Trade Expansion Act in 1957 to promote trade with these countries, greatly expanding European-American trade.
Bay of Pigs Invasion
Failed plot to remove Fidel Castro from power by sending twelve hundred anticommunist exiles to invade Cuba; the invasion was unsuccessful and the band of exiles was forced to surrender.
Cuban Missile Crisis
When intelligence revealed that the Soviets were installing nuclear weapons in Cuba, the United States ordered a naval “quarantine” of the island and demanded immediate removal of the missiles; JFK announced that any attack from Cuba would be met with nuclear retaliation against the Soviet Union; as Soviet ships approached the US naval patrol line, the world stood on the brink of nuclear war; ultimately, Khrushchev agreed to pull the missiles out of Cuba; in return, the US ended the quarantine and agreed not to invade Cuba.
Civil Rights activists who traveled across the South on a crusade to end segregation in facilities serving interstate bus passengers; their efforts were frequently met with protests and violence; when southern officials failed to come to their aid, JFK dispatched federal marshals to protect the riders.
Voter Education Project
Project supported by Robert Kennedy, the SNCC, and other civil rights groups which aimed at registering the South’s historically disfranchised blacks.
March on Washington
Peaceful demonstration led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and attended by 200,000 black and white supporters, in August 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial; King gave his legendary “I Have a Dream” speech, calling for civil rights legislation and an end to racial discrimination.
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Landmark legislation that banned racial discrimination in most private facilities that were open to the public, strengthened the federal government’s power to end segregation in schools and other public places, and created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to eliminate discrimination in hiring.
A policy designed to redress past discrimination against women and minority groups through measures to improve their economic and educational opportunities; LBJ issued a 1965 executive order requiring this policy to be followed by all federal contractors.
LBJ’s “New Deal”; a liberal and wide-ranging program of economic and welfare measures aimed at transforming America: aid to education, medical care for the elderly and indigent, immigration reform, and a new voting rights bill.
Massive voter registration drive held in Mississippi in 1964 and staffed by both black and white civil rights workers; struck by brutal violence when three workers were found murdered; white juries refused to convict the alleged perpetrators; in the end, only a handful of black Mississippians succeeded in registering to vote.
Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party
Integrated delegation that was denied its seat at the national Democratic convention.
Voting Rights Act of 1965
A response to the violence and bigotry that plagued the voter registration drives in Mississippi and Alabama, this landmark legislation, pushed through Congress by LBJ, outlawed literacy tests and sent federal voter registrars into several southern states.
Black Panther Party
Militant black power organization; openly brandished weapons on the streets of Oakland, California; their actions contrasted with the nonviolent tactics of Dr. King.
Doctrine promoted by Stokely Carmichael; a separatist call for black unity and nationalism that emphasized African American distinctiveness through hairstyles, clothing, individual names, and by demanding black studies programs in schools; also focused on economic demands, as urban blacks faced high numbers of unemployment.
Conflict between Israel and Soviet-backed Egypt; Israel emerged victorious, occupying new territories that included the Gaza Strip, the West Bank of the Jordan River, and Jerusalem; intensified the existing problems of the volatile Middle East and the intractable standoff between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
Uprising by militant gay and lesbian activists demanding tolerance; a response to the brutal attack on gay men by off-duty police officers in New York City that had energized and ignited the gay and lesbian community.
SDS (Students for a Democratic Society)
An example of the transformation from youthful idealism that gave way to violence and cynicism during the 1960s; this organization initially used peaceful demonstrations to promote its antipoverty and anti war objectives, but eventually devolved into an underground terrorist group.
Robert F. Kennedy
Younger brother of JFK; appointed as Attorney General, he set out to reform the FBI and was an ardent supporter of Civil Rights, lending support to voter registration efforts; assassinated at the Democratic party primary in California in 1968 by an Arab immigrant who resented his pro-Israel views.
Robert S. McNamara
Led the Defense Department under JFK, leaving a position as president of Ford Motor Company; pushed a strategy of “flexible response”, developing an array of military options that could accommodate specific crises; eventually left the cabinet as a result of his increasing discomfort with the war in Vietnam.
Ngo Dinh Diem
Leader of the corrupt, right-wing American-backed government in South Vietnam; when his regime was threatened with a coup, JFK sent in American forces to “foster political stability” in 1961; two years later, the US, unhappy with his refusal to institute reforms, encouraged a coup, leading to political disintegration and heightening America’s involvement in the conflict in Vietnam, which had already cost 15,000 American lives at that point.
Black air force veteran who faced violent opposition when he attempted to register for classes at the University of Mississippi; JFK sent in 400 federal marshals and 3,000 troops to facilitate his enrollment and put a stop to the rioting and violence.
Lee Harvey Oswald
Alleged JFK assassin; shot the president as he rode in an open car in Dallas; gunned down by self-appointed avenger, Jack Ruby.
Charismatic black power agitator; inspired by Elijah Muhammed and his militant Nation of Islam, he changed his given name and began preaching black separatism; eventually moving away from Muhammed, he moved toward mainstream Islam; assassinated by Nation of Islam gunmen in 1965.
Soft-spoken anti-war candidate for the Democratic party nomination in the presidential election of 1968; LBJ, under attack for his policies in Vietnam, announced that he would not seek the nomination; another contender, Robert Kennedy, was assassinated at the California primary; eventually lost the nomination to Hubert Humphrey.
Third party candidate in the 1968 election; vocally pro-segregation and pro-war, he ran on the American Independent ticket, garnering an impressive 46 electoral votes by appealing to voters’ fears and resentments.