1963 Events & Facts

What Happened in 1963?


  • President Kennedy assassinated in Dallas, Texas; Vice President Lyndon Johnson becomes President. The accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, is shot and killed a short time later.
  • Civil rights protests continue throughout the South, during which nonviolent activists are frequently met with beatings and arrests
  • 200,000 people march on Washington in support of civil rights; Dr. Martin Luther King delivers his "I Have a Dream" speech
  • U.S., Soviet Union and Britain sign a nuclear test ban treaty
  • Scandals in British Parliament leads to resignations of key officials
  • "Great train robbery" in Britain yields £2.5 million for thieves
  • Kenya gains independence
  • Pope John XXIII dies; Cardinal Montini elected Pope, takes name of Paul VI
  • Washington-Moscow "hot line" established
  • Congress expands its investigation of organized crime


  • Unemployment reaches 6.1 percent


  • Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space
  • Dr. Michael DeBakey pioneers use of artificial heart for use during heart surgery
  • Quasars discovered
  • First successful liver transplant


  • World Series: Los Angeles over New York Yankees, 4-0
  • Jack Nicklaus wins his first Masters golf tournament; with over $125,000 in winnings, Arnold Palmer becomes golf’s all-time top money winner


  • Movies: Dr. Strangelove, The Birds, Tom Jones
  • Songs: Go Away Little Girl, He’s So Fine, It’s My Party, Blue Velvet, My Boyfriend’s Back, Call Me Irresponsible
  • TV Shows: My Favorite Martian, 77 Sunset Strip, McHale’s Navy, The Fugitive, Petticoat Junction
  • Books: In the Clearing, Robert Frost; The Guns of August, Barbara Tuchman; The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, John Le Carré; The American Way of Death, Jessica Mitford
  • "Pop" artists Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns gain national notoriety, as does the entire genre of Pop Art


  • Journalists and political commentators begin taking note of U.S. government’s "credibility gap" in foreign affairs
  • Audio cassettes introduced
  • The sedative Valium is made available


  • Brad Pitt, Whitney Houston, Michael Jordan, Johnny Depp born
  • LA night club and music venue The Whiskey A-Go-Go opens
  • Zip codes implemented in US


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