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Featured GraphicCelebrate the Century: Search the Web for U.S. History of the 1960s


Search the Web to learn more about the stories behind the stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service commemorating the people, places, events, and trends of the 1960s. Explore Web sites related to Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon and Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech as well as the introduction of the Ford Mustang and Roger Maris's 61st home run! Included: An Internet scavenger hunt for students!

"I have a dream" and "one giant leap for mankind" are expressions forever linked to the 1960s. Those famous lines join Roger Maris and the Mustang, Barbie dolls and the Beatles as icons of the 1960s. All were among the topics commemorated on postage stamps issued last September by the U.S. Postal Service. Those stamps, representing the turbulent '60s, are part of the Postal Service's Celebrate the Century program.

"These stamps colorfully bring to mind the 'rebellious '60s,' an unforgettable period of extremes marked by triumph and tragedy, great social change and groundbreaking technological achievements," said Akinyinka O. Akinyele, Postal Service district manager, who dedicated the stamps.


A decade of extremes, the 1960s, saw triumphs and demonstrations. President John F. Kennedy's commitment to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade was fulfilled. Young people questioned authority and rebelled against the status quo.

Civil rights activists won a victory when Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. One of the most influential leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated in 1968.

To promote international friendship, President Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961. His assassination in 1963 stunned the nation. In 1965 U.S. ground troops were deployed to active combat in Viet Nam.

Roger Maris hit 61 homers in one season, and the Green Bay Packers won the first two Super Bowls. The Beatles captivated the nation, and Star Trek debuted.

New words: Hippie, workaholic, scam, and skateboard.


So sets the stage for the 15 stamps commemorating the 1960s. The activities that follow will engage students in exploring Web sites as they search for information related to ten of the 1960s stamps. For each stamp, a question is posed and a Web site URL is presented. Challenge students to use the listed Web sites to answer all ten questions. Click here for the answers to the questions.

Be sure to check out other stories in Education World's Celebrate the Century series:


President John F. Kennedy's 1961 commitment to put a human on the moon was fulfilled July 20, 1969, when the lunar module Eagle landed on the surface of the moon, and astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the lunar soil.

Question 1:
Neil Armstrong was the first astronaut to set foot on the moon. How much time did he and Buzz Aldrin spend exploring the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969?

The Web site:

To find the answer to that question, go to the Who's Who in Space Web page and click on Neil Armstrong.


On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech to some 250,000 supporters in Washington, D.C. He eloquently described his dream for equality, justice, and freedom for all.

Question 2:
The closing words of Martin Luther King's speech on that August day in 1963 were borrowed from an old Negro spiritual. What were those words?

The Web site:
To find the answer to that question, go to the Martin Luther King Day Web page.


Independently invented by Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce, the integrated circuit was first available commercially in 1961. It led to small, inexpensive, mass-produced electronic circuits, revolutionizing the computer industry.

Question 3:
With which company was Jack Kilby associated when he invented the integrated circuit? Which company did inventor Robert Noyce cofound?

The Web site:

To find the answer to that question, go to the Index of Inventors Web page and look up each inventor by his last name.


Introduced by Mattel in March 1959, the Barbie doll caused a sensation by providing young girls a teenage fashion doll with a large and stylish wardrobe. By 1963, sales had reached 5 million dolls and 25 million fashions.

Question 4:
The year 1968 was a milestone in Barbie history. That year's new edition of the Barbie doll did something no Barbie doll had done before. What did the doll do?

The Web site:

To find the answer to that question, go to the 40 Years With Barbie Web page and click on the year 68.


Introduced in April 1964, the Mustang had sporty styling, economic value, and a long list of options that appealed to men and women of all ages. Some 22,000 orders were taken the first day, and 1 million cars were produced in less than 24 months.

Question 5:
The Mustang's popularity grew quickly. Experts had guessed that 100,000 Mustangs would be sold in the first year. How long did it take dealers to actually sell 100,000 Mustangs?

The Web site:

To find the answer to that question, go to the Mustang History on Web page and click on History.


The Vietnam War was the longest military conflict in U.S. history. The hostilities in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia claimed the lives of more than 58,000 Americans. Another 304,000 were wounded.

Question 6:
The design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., was selected from more than 1,400 entries. Who was the designer of the memorial?

The Web site:
To find the answer to that question, go to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Web page.


Established by President Kennedy in 1961, the Peace Corps promotes world peace and cross-cultural understanding. Today, more than 7,000 volunteers in 80 countries help with education, health, agriculture, and the environment.

Question 7:
Which one of the following countries is not currently served by Peace Corps members?

Armenia Burkina Faso Chile Ethiopia
Haiti Indonesia Lithuania Panama

The Web site:

To find the answer to that question, go to the Peace Corps Kids World Web page.


The first championship game between the American Football League and the National Football League was held January 15, 1967. The game, which was later dubbed Super Bowl I, saw the NFL's Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs.

Question 8:
What was the final score of Super Bowl I?

The Web site:
To find the answer to that question, go to the Super Bowl History Web page.


The Beatles debuted on television in the United States on February 9, 1964. Charming and exuberant, the band's members captivated the nation. Their creativity helped revolutionize rock 'n' roll, moving it to a more artistically ambitious musical form.

Question 9:
Members of the Beatles have appeared numerous times on the cover of Life magazine. How many Life covers in all have featured members of the Beatles?

The Web site:

To find the answer to that question, go to the Life Magazine Special Edition: The Beatles Web page and click on Beatle Covers.

ROGER MARIS: 61 in '61

In 1961, Roger Maris of the New York Yankees hit 61 home runs, setting a new Major League Baseball record, breaking the previous mark of 60 set in 1927.

Question 10:
Many people -- including many sportswriters in New York -- didn't want Roger Maris to break the home run record. Whose record did those people not want to see broken?

The Web site:
To find the answer to that question, go to The Official Roger Maris Web Site and click on Biography.

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Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © 2003 Education World

Originally published 02/28/2000
Links updated 03/14/2003