Everyone remembers those few headlines that have come to define the time period during which they grew up. For many young people today those headlines include 9/11, the election of Barack Obama, and the recent Supreme Court decisions guaranteeing the right to same-sex marriage. For Jaqueline Marie Butler, the main character in our upcoming production of Queens Girl in the World, many of those defining moments were centered on the racial struggle that tore through the United States during the 50’s and 60’s. We are sharing just a few of those headlines to help us all remember the events that took place in our country not too long ago and which shaped the life of Miss Jaqueline Marie.
October 1, 1962
James Meredith Registers at “Ole Miss”
On Sept 20, with the support a Supreme Court ruling, James Meredith arrives at the Univ. of Mississippi in Oxford, intending to enroll as the school’s first black student. The state Governor physically blocks Meredith’s progress on Sept 20, and again Sept 25. Talks between the White House and the Governor fail to produce a solution. The Kennedy administration orders federal marshals to Oxford. On Sept 30, rioting kills two students, and wounds 160 marshals. The next morning, Meredith officially registers as a transfer student; he graduates in 1963. Bob Dylan writes Oxford Town about Meredith’s experiences.
August 28, 1963
“I Have A Dream…”
During the Civil Rights March on Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. delivers one of his most impassioned and memorable speeches to an audience of 250,000. Speaking in front of the Lincoln Memorial, King sets aside his prepared notes to describe his vision of an nation that will “rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.'” Later this year, King is named TIME’s Person of the Year.
November 22, 1963
President John F. Kennedy is shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. Lyndon Johnson is quick sworn in as President.
June 22, 1964
Freedom Summer Begins With Murder
The SNCC organizes Freedom Summer to increase voter registration and build a grassroots political party in Mississippi. Three young activists disappear on June 22: Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and James Chaney. Their bodies are found on August 4, buried in an earthen dam. Investigation results in 21 arrests, and conspiracy convictions of seven Ku Klux Klan members in October 1967. Exactly 41 years after the murders, on June 22, 2005, Edgar Ray Killen is convicted on three counts of manslaughter for masterminding the killings.
July 2, 1964
Civil Rights Act
Legislation outlaws discrimination on basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
February 21, 1965
Malcolm X Assassinated
The civil rights leader is killed while delivering a speech in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom.
August 6, 1965
Voting Rights Act
The legislation ends discrimination at the polls.
August 11-16, 1965
Watts Race Riots
Six days of rage and riots in Los Angeles leave 34 dead and $200 million in damages.
TIMELINE: Selected Events 1962-1965
Adapted from PBS.org
Join us for Queens Girl in the World Sept. 16th- Oct. 11th. Buy tickets here.