• News/Talk
  • Music
  • Entertainment

Weekend America Series

This Weekend in 1968

In 1968, the United States seemed on the verge of a nervous breakdown -- assassinations, riots, protests and war were tearing at the fabric of our society. It was a year that would shape the course of a nation for decades to come. This series uses 1968 as a lens through which to view our own era. By looking back, we see how far we've come and also where we've fallen short.


  • This Weekend in 1968: Miss America

    Debra Barnes Snodgrass

    In Las Vegas this weekend it's the 88th annual Miss America pageant. At the 1968 competition, outside Atlantic City's Convention Hall, a group of women gathered on the boardwalk. They held signs that read "Women's Liberation." Their demonstration was a window into the emergence of a movement that would gain considerable strength in the decade to come.

  • This Weekend in 1968: Political Ads

    Robert Kennedy reaches to the crowd in 1968

    Lately if you walk anywhere near a TV, you'll see lots of campaign ads. Everyone's vowing to make things better around here. A lot of what you're hearing this time around in 2008 might seem really novel. But this weekend on our series about 1968, we'll hear how much of what is old becomes new again. Here's a review of more than 80 political ads over the past 40 years. Judge for yourself what's changed and what hasn't.

  • This Weekend in 1968: Night of the Living Dead

    "Night of the Living Dead"

    In movie theaters across the country 40 years ago, terror took a new form: The flesh-eating zombie. "Night of the Living Dead" unearthed an army of ghouls to scare children and adults off their seats. The filmmakers who created the film say the tumultuous events of 1968 have made people read much more into "Night of the Living Dead" than the horror they wanted to create.

  • This Weekend in 1968: Democratic National Convention

    Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy supporters

    Forty years ago this weekend, the world watched as the Democratic National Convention in Chicago descended into chaos. Inside, the party splintered on the convention floor. Outside, the "Yippies" led a protest that not only had a lasting effect on politics, but also led to a revolution in protesting. Since then, public safety and control have radically transformed the institution of protest.

  • This Weekend in 1968: The Kool-Aid Acid Test

    Miniature Further buses

    Forty years ago this weekend, people across the country cracked open a brand new book by Tom Wolfe called "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test." In the mid-60s, Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters hosted big parties where people got together, played music, and dropped acid. What happened at those parties ultimately defined the day-glo painted, summer-loving, acid rock, psychedelic 1960s.

  • This Weekend in 1968: Iraq

    Head of Nuisance

    The Ba'ath Party wrested control of Iraq's government 40 years ago in 1968. Although initially bloodless, the so-called "White Revolution" became increasingly ruthless as a young and ambitious Saddam Hussein consolidated his power and silenced his opposition. On the anniversary of the Ba'athist Regime's rise to power, we hear from Iraqis who witnessed the birth of a new government.

  • This Weekend in 1968: At War on the Fourth of July

    Back in the day

    People nationwide will celebrate our nation's independence this weekend. There will also be hundreds of thousands of U.S. servicemen and women hunkered down in Afghanistan and Iraq. Two veterans of two different wars discuss their experiences serving under fire and then and returning home from an unpopular war.

  • This Weekend in 1968: RFK's Enduring Message of Hope

    Robert Kennedy campaign stop, Oregon

    Coming just two months after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy's death was too much to bear for many Americans. People talked about the end of hope. But Kennedy's life continues to inspire others, and his presidential campaign resonates today, perhaps more than any year since his death.

  • This Weekend in 1968: Political Plays to the Silent Center

    The man at the center of it all

    This weekend in 1968, Republican presidential candidate Richard Nixon gave a radio address that became a pivotal moment in American politics. Nixon emphasized that most Americans did not stage political protests or riots -- and he tried to make himself the candidate for these Americans.

  • This Weekend in 1968: The Legacy of Resurrection City

    Resurrection City, June 1968

    Forty years ago on this weekend in 1968, people began arriving in Washington, D.C., as part of the Poor People's Campaign -- the last movement organized by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., before he was assassinated. The organizers of that movement remember what was lost, and what was gained.

Other Weekend America Series

Download Weekend America

 ©2015 American Public Media