American Women's History: A Timeline
The 1960s
Home Page | Last Update: 8/21/2005 | Suggestion Box

Go to: II. RESEARCH SOURCES (Historical Overviews, Primary Sources, and Secondary Sources)


John Kennedy is elected President.
Eleanor Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and the Election of 1960, a mini-edition from the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers project, includes letters to and from Roosevelt, excerpts from her "My Day" newspaper column, and audio from three JFK campaign advertisements.

The drug company G.D. Searle receives FDA approval to sell "the pill."
See American Experience: The Pill [PBS] for a program transcript, timeline, interviews with women, and much more.

Ackmann, Martha. 'The Mercury 13': Training U.S. Women for Space [Interview online]. Interviewed by Melissa Block. All Things Considered, National Public Radio, 17 June 2003. Available from: [8:19]

Peace Corps is established.
Oral History Digital Collection [Youngstown State University] includes interviews with two women who were Peace Corps volunteers in the 1960s. Select "Peace Corps" from the list of headings.

President John F. Kennedy establishes the President's Commission on the Status of Women.
From the Archives: Vice-President Lyndon Baines Johnson Addresses the President's Commission on the Status of Women (1962) [Talking History, 27 January 2005]

Women Strike for Peace is founded.
The Triptych digital collection includes over 100 images of Women Strike for Peace buttons from the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.

National Farm Workers Association is formed.
See The Unsung of Civil Rights, a brief National Public Radio report on Dolores Huerta.

Rachel Carson's Silent Spring is published.
Lear, Linda J. [Interview] [online]. Interviewed by Dennis Mihelick. Talking History, 15 April 1999. Available from: Lear, author of Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature, talks about Carson's life and work.

Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique is published.
Daniel Horowitz discusses his book, Betty Friedan and the Making of The Feminine Mystique, in a Talking History interview [9 December 1999].

Bombing at a Birmingham church kills four African-American girls.
Listen to National Public Radio's segment, 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing: Forty Years Later, Birmingham Still Struggles with Violent Past.

Julia Child's public television program The French Chef began on Boston's WGBH.
See Julia Child's Kitchen at the Smithsonian.

Katharine Graham becomes president of the Washington Post.
Katharine Graham: A Life Remembered [National Public Radio]
Katharine Graham Remembered [Washington Post]

March on Washington
Listen to Joan Baez sing "We Shall Overcome" from the program 1963 March on Washington: 'We Shall Overcome' The History and Context. The song begins about eight minutes into the program. Another relevant program: 1963 March on Washington: 'Medgar Evers Ballad' Ten Leaders and a Tribute to Women [WGBH Forum]

Vivian J. Malone and James A. Hood become the first African-Americans to sustain enrollment at the University of Alabama.
Vivian Malone Jones is on the panel that discusses Integrating the University of Alabama [WGBH Forum].


Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in public accommodations and in employment.

Fannie Lou Hamer appears before the credentials committee of the 1964 Democratic National Convention. She relates the difficulties that she faced in registering to vote in Mississippi.
Listen to Hamer's Testimony Before the Credentials Committee, Democratic National Convention, part of Say It Plain: A Century of Great African American Speeches from American Radio Works.
The Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive includes an audio enhanced transcript of an oral history interview with Hamer.

Free Speech Movement at Berkeley
The Online Archive of California includes hundreds of images that document the free speech movement. Many of these photos include images of women (e.g., Joan Baez, Bettina Aptheker).
Aptheker recalls the period in an interview (Bancroft Library) from 2001.

Freedom Summer
Blewen, John. Oh Freedom Over Me [online]. Saint Paul, MN: Minnesota Public Radio, 2000 [cited 18 June 2002]. Available from: Listen to this engaging program about Freedom Summer. Topics include activist strategies, freedom songs, and Fannie Lou Hamer. The site also includes transcripts of selected interviews and a slideshow of photographs.

See Wednesdays in Mississippi: Civil Rights as Women's Work

Photojournalist Dickey Chapelle is killed while covering the Vietnam War.
See Vietnam War Photographs by Dickey Chapelle [Wisconsin Historical Society].

A Visual Journey: Photographs by Lisa Law 1965-1971

Voting Rights Act
America's Historical Documents: The Voting Rights Act

Black Women at Virginia Tech Oral History Project [online]. Blacksburg: Virginia Tech University Libraries, updated 1 September 1999 [cited 15 November 2000]. Available from:

National Organization for Women is established.
Part III of includes the text of numerous early NOW documents.
Women - Dare We Not Discriminate?, a Harvard Law School Forum (18 February 1966), includes speakers Betty Friedan, Mary I. Bunting, and Pauli Murray.

Diane Arbus' Identical Twins photograph.
Listen to Diane Arbus' Identical Twins, part of National Public Radio's "Present at the Creation" series.

In Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court rules that Virginia's miscegenation statute is unconstitutional.
The online journal History Now provides an overview of the case.

The Building Stewardesses Construction Guides at the WTC, 1968-1971 (Lost & Found Sound, National Public Radio; time: 21 minutes).

The Jeannette Rankin Brigade marches on Washington, D.C. to protest the Vietnam War.
Rankin relates how the Jeannette Rankin Brigade was formed in a oral history interview (Suffragists Oral History Project, Regional Oral History Office, Bancroft Library).

The Whole World Was Watching: An Oral History of 1968 [online]. Providence, RI: Scholarly Technology Group, Brown University, [1998- ]. Available from: Most of the interviewees at least touch upon civil rights. Naomi Craig, an African American, discusses race relations and the assassination of Martin Luther King.

Founding of the Chicago Women's Liberation Union (CWLU).
Learn more about the Chicago Women's Liberation Union Herstory Project.

President Richard Nixon creates the Task Force on Women's Rights and Responsibilities to recruit and train women for upper-level governmental positions.
A Few Good Women: Advancing the Cause for Women in the U.S. Government, 1969-1974 [online]. University Park: University Libraries, The Pennsylvania State University, 2003- [cited 11 March 2005]. Available from:

Roxcy Bolton successfully challenges "men only" sections in restaurants.
Roxcy Bolton, Pioneer Feminist [Florida Memory Project] includes an overview of Bolton's work for women's rights, pro and con letters about the "men only" lunch sections, photographs of Bolton, and lesson plans for grades 7-9.

Stonewall Riots in New York City mark the starting point of the modern gay rights movement.
Listen to the documentary Remembering Stonewall from Sound Portraits (23:03 min.).
See the online exhibit, Stonewall and Beyond: Lesbian and Gay Culture, from Columbia University Libraries.


Census Data

Historical Census Browser
In addition to examining state and county topics for individual census years and over time, researchers can generate maps of selected data.

Additional Online Sources about Women in the 1960s

The Sixties [online]. Otto G. Richter Library, University of Miami, 2004. Available from:
Includes a section on Gender Issues.

Print Sources about Women in the 1960s

Linden-Ward, Blanche, and Carol Hurd Green. Changing the Future: American Women in the 1960s. New York: Twayne, 1992.

Sigerman, Harriet, ed. The Columbia Documentary History of American Women Since 1941. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.

American Women's History: A Research Guide

Ken Middleton
Middle Tennessee State Univ. Library
Murfreesboro, TN 37132