United States and American History: Late 1962

About the history of the United States in late 1962, prayer is taken out of public schools, James Meredith enters the University of Mississippi, the Cuban Missle Crisis.


June 25 The Supreme Court barred the use of a 22-word "nondenominational" prayer in New York State schools on the basis of the 1st Amendment, separating church and state. Justice Douglas condemned the conduct of school prayers as "a public official on the public payroll performing a religious exercise in a governmental institution" before "a 'captive' audience."

July 18 The 1st privately owned satellite, Telstar (AT&T), relayed TV programs across the Atlantic.

Aug. One of the attractions of the Seattle World's Fair in Washington was a 25,000-lb. cake baked by Van de Kamp's Holland Dutch Bakers.

Aug. 5 Marilyn Monroe found dead of a barbiturate overdose in her Los Angeles home, officially suicide. "MM" was the world film "sex goddess" and was rumored to have been the mistress of Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

Oct. 1 By Federal court order, veteran James Meredith became the 1st black student at the University of Mississippi. Before his admission, Governor Barnett of Mississippi declared that State schools were not answerable to the Federal Government and that public officials would be willing to go to jail for the cause of segregation. He ordered the arrest of Federal officials who tried to enforce the court order. The State legislature appointed Barnett special registrar to deny Meredith admission. Four times Meredith failed to register, blocked twice by Governor Barnett personally, the 3rd time by the lieutenant governor and 20 State troopers, the 4th by a crowd of 2,500 whites. He succeeded the 5th time, escorted by several hundred U.S. marshals. This provoked a riot of 2,500 white students--leaving 2 dead and 375 injured, including 166 marshals--which was finally quelled by 3,000 Federal troops and National Guard.

Oct. 23 The U.S. blockaded Cuba after announcing that it had photographs of Cuban-Russian missile bases capable of sending nuclear bombs 1,000 mi. into the U.S. The U.S. threatened to invade Cuba if the bases were not dismantled and Russia threatened nuclear war. On October 27 Russia offered to trade the loss of Cuban missile bases for the withdrawal of American missiles from Turkey. The U.S. refused. On October 28 Russia agreed to withdraw the missiles and dismantle the bases. On November 8 the Pentagon announced that the bases had been dismantled and on November 20 the U.S. ended its naval blockade. Dec. 8 Typographers struck all 9 major New York City newspapers, leaving 5,700,000 subscribers without their daily journals until April 1, 1963. St. Louis and Cleveland newspaper workers also struck.

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