Part II – 1965

1953 | 1954 | 1955 | 1956 |1957 | 1958 | 1959
1960 | 1961 | 1962 | 1963 | 1964 | 1965 | 1966
1967 | 1968 | 1969 | 19701971 | 1972 | 1973
1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980
1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987
1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | Epilogue, 1993


Malcolm X was assassinated. (02/21/65)

25,000 demonstrators for civil rights marched from Selma, AL, to the state capitol in Montgomery, challenging the state to end racial discrimination in voting rights and segregation. (03/28/65)

15,000 students marched in Washington, protesting the war in Vietnam. (04/17/65)

U.S. forces, previously in Vietnam only as military advisers, were authorized for combat for the first time. (07/08) President Johnson sent 50,000 more troops to Vietnam. (07/28/65)

Medicare became law. (07/30/65)

At the first White House Conference on Equal Employment Opportunity, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was dubbed “the bunny law” as a result of a discussion on whether Playboy Clubs would have to hire male bunnies. (08/65)

The Watts Riots erupted in Los Angeles. (08/15-20/65)


A survey of women graduates at Stanford University (CA) found that 70% planned not to work at all when their children were under age 6, and only 43% intended to work full time even after their children were over 12. A survey of 1972 graduates would show a considerable change in views. (06/65)


Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioners (EEOC) were appointed to oversee enforcement of the Civil Rights Act. Aileen Hernandez, a future president of NOW, was the only woman appointed to the Commission. Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr. was named chair. (1965)

The EEOC issued its first set of guidelines for employers on state protective legislation. The State laws could be interpreted as a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ) exception to Title VII, provided the employer acted in “good faith” and that the laws effectively protected rather than discriminated against women. The EEOC did not define what constituted “protection” or “discrimination.” (12/02/65)


The St. Joan’s Alliance, a British-based Catholic lay women’s organization, established a U.S. branch to campaign for women’s equality in the Catholic Church. (02/21/65)


Casey Hayden and Mary King, women active in SNCC, wrote a paper on the role of women in the movement. The paper was attacked by male radicals. It was published as a two-part article, “Sex and Caste,” in Liberation, (April, December issues, 1966).


In Griswold v. Connecticut, a state law banning the provision of contraceptives to married couples was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, which declared that “the right to privacy” implicit in the Bill of Rights guaranteed access to birth control for married couples. The majority opinion was written by Justice William O. Douglas. A second concurring opinion written by the now-retired Justice Arthur J. Goldberg, and joined by Chief Justice Earl Warren and Justice William Brennan, Jr., grounded the right to privacy in the Ninth Amendment and said that the rights enumerated in the first eight amendments were not an exhaustive list. Wrote Goldberg: “The Ninth Amendment simply shows the intent of the Constitution’s authors that other fundamental personal rights should not be denied such protection or disparaged in any way simply because they are not specifically listed in the first eight constitutional amendments.” The right to privacy became the basis for striking down abortion laws in Roe v. Wade in 1973. (06/07/65)

Dr. Pauli Murray and Mary O. Eastwood published an article in the George Washington Law Review entitled, “Jane Crow and The Law,” a comprehensive examination of women’s legal status under the Constitution and the implications of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. (11/65)


Frances Perkins, the first woman ever to serve in a President’s cabinet, died at age 83. Perkins was appointed Secretary of Labor by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933, serving for 12 years. Among the social legislation she championed was the Public Works Administration, the National Recovery Act (NRA) and the Social Security Act. (05/14/65)

The Second National Conference of State Commissions on the Status of Women was held, attended by 322 participants representing 44 state commissions. The six remaining states without state commissions also sent representatives. (07/28-30/65)

Dr. Pauli Murray addressed the National Council of Women of the United States at the Biltmore Hotel in New York. Aware of the EEOC conflicts over the sex-segregated “help-wanted” ads in the newspapers, and with Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., chair of the EEOC present, Murray declared, “If it becomes necessary to march on Washington to assure equal job opportunities for all, I hope women will not flinch from the thought.” (10/12) The New York Times headline: “PROTEST PROPOSED ON WOMEN’S JOBS; YALE PROFESSOR SAYS IT MAY BE NEEDED TO OBTAIN RIGHTS.” This coverage of the event prompted Betty Friedan to immediately telephone Murray, establishing an important feminist link-up. (10/13/65)

The Backlash

As the movement for liberalized contraception and abortion laws gained momentum, the Catholic Church began to organize Right to Life groups. (1965)

The Education Research Institute was established by the American Conservative Union as a research arm. It sponsored the National Journalism Center to train young right-wing writers with the hope of placing them in professional positions as news reporters. The Institute is a recipient of grants from the Adolph Coors Foundation. (1965)

“The New American Female, Demi-feminism Takes Over” by Marion K. Sanders in Harper’s magazine (July) argued that “an unoppressed minority of the most discussed sex do not feel sorry for themselves-and wish their self-appointed champions would find something else to fret about.”

At the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) conference, a discussion of “women’s issues” elicited “storms of ridicule and verbal abuse.” (12/65)

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