The 60's

Major Events of 1960

The stories below were found primarily in two websites.  A PBS teacher’s resource site and Wikipedia.  Further entries can be found at their links.


  • January 19 – The Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan is signed in Washington, D.C. (Wikipedia)
  • January 25 – In Washington, D.C. the National Association of Broadcasters reacts to the payola scandal by threatening fines for any disc jockeys accepting money for playing particular records. (Wikipedia)


  • February 1 – In Greensboro, North Carolina, four black students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University begin a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter, triggering similar nonviolent protests throughout the South. (Wikipedia)
  • February 9 – Adolph Coors III is kidnapped, held for ransom and later found dead. (Wikipedia)
  • February 18 –  The 1960 Winter Olympics open in Squaw Valley, Placer County, California. (Wikipedia)


  • March 23  – Sergeant Elvis Presley receives honorable discharge after serving two years in the army. (PBS)


  • April 1 – The United States launches the first weather satellite, the TIROS 1.  (Wikipedia)
  • April 1 – The 1960 United States Census begins. There are 179,323,175 U.S. residents on this day.  All people from Latin America are listed as white, including blacks from the Dominican Republic. European whites from Argentina and Mexicans who resemble Native Americans. (Wikipedia)
  • April 4 – The 32nd Academy Awards ceremony is held; Ben Hur wins Best Picture. (Wikipedia)


  • May 1 -Soviet Russia shoots down U.S. spy plane.  Pilot Francis Gary Powers is detained for two years. (PBS)
  • May 13 –  Students and teachers organize to protest the powerful House Unamerican Activities Committee (HUAC) in San Francisco.  Police use fire hoses and clubs to remove demonstrators injuring and arresting many. (PBS)
  • May 6 – President Dwight Eisenhower  signs the Civil Rights Act of 1960 into law. (Wikipedia)
  • May 9 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announces that it will approve birth control as an additional indication for Searle’s Enovid, making it the world’s first approved oral contraceptive pill. (Wikipedia)
  • May 16, 1960 – Physicist Theodore Maiman uses a core of man-made ruby to create the first successful LASER (an acronym for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation). (PBS)


  • June 16 – Psychological horror film Psycho is released, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. (Wikipedia)


  • July 13 – U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy is nominated for President, and Lyndon Johnson for Vice President at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, California. (Wikipedia)
  • July 21 – Francis Chichester,, English navigator and yachtsman, arrives in New York aboard Gypsy Moth II, having made a record solo Atlantic crossing in 40 days. (Wikipedia)
  • July 25–28 – In Chicago, Illinois, the Republican National Convention  nominates U.S. Vice President Richard M. Nixon for President and Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. for Vice President. (Wikipedia). 


August 6 – In response to a United States embargo against Cuba, Fidel Castro  nationalizes American and foreign-owned property in the nation. (Wikipedia). 

  • August 25 – Summer Olympics begins in Rome, Italy.  Among the winners is Cassius Clay (later Muhammed Ali).
  • August 29 –Hurricane Donna kills  50 in Florida and New England. (Wikipedia). 


  • September 14, 1960 – OPEC ( Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries ) is formed by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. (PBS)
  • September 26 – The two leading U.S. presidential candidates,Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy, participate in the first televised presidential debate.  The debate is broadcast nationally on all TV networks (only three exist in 1960) and on network radio.  It is a Monday evening, and 70 million viewers are watching. (PBS, Wikipedia)


  • October 13 – The Pittsburgh Pirates defeat the New York Yankees in the seventh game of the World Series on Bill Mazeroski’s walk off home run. (Wikipedia)
  • October 14 – U.S. presidential candidate John F. Kennedy first suggests the idea for the Peace Corps. (Wikipedia)
  • October 26 – Robert F. Kennedy calls Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King, Jr. and secures his release from jail on a traffic violation in Atlanta, Georgia. (Wikipedia)


  • November 8,1960 – John F Kennedy won the presidential Election over Richard Nixon with an electoral college plurality of 303 to 219 but a vote margin of only .017%.  It was the first election which included 50 states.  Kennedy, at 43, becomes the youngest man elected president. (PBS, Wikipedia)
  • November 14 – New Orleans school desegregation crisis: Ruby Bridges and the McDonogh Three become the first black children to attend an all-white elementary school in Louisiana. (Wikipedia)
  • November 24 – Basketball player Wilt Chamberlain grabs 55 rebounds in a single game,the all time record in the NBA. (Wikipedia)


  • December 2 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorizes the use of $1 million for the relief and resettlement of Cuban refugees, who have been arriving in Florida at the rate of 1,000 a week. (Wikipedia)
  • December 5 – Boynton v. Virginia: The U.S. Supreme Court declares segregation in public transit to be illegal. (Wikipedia)
  • December 12 – The U.S. Supreme Court upholds a Federal Court ruling that Louisiana’s segregation laws are unconstitutional. (Wikipedia)
  • December 16 – United Airlines DC-8 collides with a TWA Lockheed Constellation over Staten Island, New York City.  All 128 passengers and crew on both planes are killed, as are 6 persons on the ground. (Wikipedia)
  • December 31 – There are 900 American advisers in Vietnam at the close of the year. 

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