You Tube
Makes History Easy!

Many historical events escape You Tube's purview; the signing of the Declaration of Independence can be viewed only in historical re-enactment; you're better off just reading about it on Wiki (even if Walt Disney's version of Paul RevereYouTube Links did capture this seven-year-old's imagination.)  But shortly after Thomas Edison electrified the world (pun intended), moving pictures began capturing famous moments.  They often were re-enactments as well, but by the actual people involved instead of stage actors, and within days or even minutes of the actual event.  (For instance, ribbon-cutting, bill-signing, and hand-shaking ceremonies were often done several times to make sure the press got good footage.)

The Earliest Moving Films

Our first link is in fact of a film made by Edison in 1894. 

They are now linked to our 6th Edition.

The Great Depression and World War Two

Are now linked to our 6th Edition.


The Cold War and JFK

Are now linked to our 6th Edition.

The New American Revolution

Whether the turmoil of the 1960s and 70s is related to the growing distrust many young people had for their government or is more directly related to the escalation of the Viet Nam War (or whether those two are linked as Stone's "JFK" suggests), it is undeniable that anti-war, civil rights, women's rights and gay rights issues so dominated the latter portion of the 1960s as to lead many people to take seriously the threat of revolution. 

A lot of that revolution started in and was reflected in the music of the era.  But we're not going to stray off to Beatlemania and the British invasion; this page is intended to introduce you to the historical and political wonders of You Tube that aren't primarily musical. 

For instance, how many of us have seen Malcolm X -- not the movie, the man?  His speeches, or at least the ones I saw on You Tube, seem to be carefully considered statements about the deficiencies of the "one day things will change" policy of Martin Luther King. Dr. King's response was equally well-reasoned.

The earliest signs of revolutions were in the black south.  Rosa Parks and the Montgomery busing boycott, Busing boycotts and voters' registrations drives began in the 1950s, and ultimately led to the Civil Rights Law of 1963 and the rise of Dr. Martin Luther King

While the early 1960s were primarily focused on Civil Rights for blacks, other political movements were forming.  The Civil Rights movement was linked to a more general human rights message in Bob Dylan's song "If I Had a Hammer,"  the most famous recording of which was by Peter, Paul and Mary at Dr. King's 1963 mach on Washington

In 1967, the Anti-War movement found words in Arlo Guthrie's comedic classic, Alice's Restaurant. A more ironic anti-war song was "the Fixin' to Die Rag" by Country joe and the Fish.  An enterprising student used the song as a backdrop for his history project on Viet Nam. 

By 1968, so many events were happening that we could hardly keep track of them as they happened. One too many people believed that Dr. King did indeed have a dream, and made sure he died before that dream came true. Walter Cronkite, the anchor not only of CBS evening News but of our last real belief that the news was believable, reported the event.

When Bobby Kennedy ran for President, his speeches, especially his victory speech at the California primary, addressed the needs of a unified approach:  "We want to deal with our own problems within our own country, and we want peace in Viet Nam."  Three minutes later Kennedy was shot on national television.

The Black Panther Party rose to ascendancy in part because many people felt that Dr. King's assassination justified the abandonment of non-violent changeHuey Newton, one of the leaders of the Black Panthers, seems awfully tame for all the discrediting of his stance.  Bobby Seale took over a lot of the Party's leadership after Newton was imprisoned. 

In August of 1968, the Democratic National Convention in Chicago combined black and anti-war activists; for some the message was an end to war, to others, it was an end to the genocide or Black and Latino soldiers who couldn't afford the draft deferral tactic of attending college or graduate school.  Rallies turned into a mass attack on demonstrators by Chicago Police, the State Militia, and the National Guard.

In 1969 eight protest leaders were charged with Conspiracy to incite to riot. Most commentators alleged that the charges are absurd, since the eight had no common causes or goals, and didn't ever meet together.  When Bobby Seale was denied the right to defend himself at the trial, he called the judge words I probably can't print here. As a result, he was brought into a courtroom bound and gagged, and eventually was removed from the courtroom.  Seale served four years in jail for contempt of court.  All defendants were acquitted. Since the trial was not televised I can only find an animated reenactment

In June of 1969 another group asserted its civil rights.  Gay people, at first primarily drag queens, took a stand on Christopher Street in New York in what eventually became known as the Stonewall Riots, named after the bar in which the fighting began. 

As the decade changed, more and more radical groups organized.  Jane Fonda's efforts against the Vietnam War earned her the nickname "Hanoi Jane.

Women were demanding their rights, frequently (and ironically) because they were denied equal roles in existing organizations. Jo Freeman, Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago, wrote,

"There had been individual temporary caucuses and conferences of women as early as 1964 when Stokeley Carmichael made his infamous remark that "the only position for women in SNCC is prone." But it was not until 1967 that the groups developed a determined, if cautious, continuity and began to consciously expand themselves."

Look for more recent history in the 2012 season!

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