The People History

What Happened in 1964 Important News and Events, Key Technology and Popular Culture

What happened in 1964 Major News Stories include The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is signed into law, The Beatles hold the top five positions in the Billboard Top 40 singles in America, Race Riots in Major US Cities, First pirate radio station, Radio Caroline, is established, 24th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is Ratified, Elizabeth Taylor marries Richard Burton for the first time, U.S. Surgeon General reports that smoking may lead to lung cancer, Mods and Rockers fight at British Seaside Resorts

Jump To 1964 Fashion -- World Leaders -- 1964 Calendar -- 1964 Technology -- Cost Of Living -- Popular Culture -- Toys

Cost of Living 1964

How Much things cost in 1964
Yearly Inflation Rate USA 1.28%
Yearly Inflation Rate UK 3.5%
Year End Close Dow Jones Industrial Average 874
Average Cost of new house $13,050.00
Average Income per year $6,000.00
Gas per Gallon 30 cents
Average Cost of a new car $3,500.00
Loaf of bread 21 cents
United States Postage Stamp 5 cents
Average Monthly Rent $115.00
Ticket to the movies $1.25

Below are some Prices for UK guides in Pounds Sterling
Average House Price 3,360


1964 as the war in Vietnam and US Congress Authorizes war against N Vietnam more American servicemen were dying, and after three civil rights workers were murdered in Mississippi the president signed the Civil Rights act of 1964 but this did not stop the violence as it continued to increase in many American Cities. Lyndon Johnson was also returned to power after a landslide victory. This was also the year The Beatles took the world and America by storm and Beatlemania went into overdrive as they released a series of number one hits including "I want to hold your hand" , "All my Loving" . Other British groups also found success including The Rolling Stones and The Animals and together with the American Talent of The Supremes and Bob Dylan many say this was one of the greatest years for music in the last century. Also one young loud talented boxer by the name of Cassius Clay won the Boxing World heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston.


Vietnam War

  • Three North Vietnamese torpedo boats attack the US Destroyer Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin US Congress Authorizes war against N Vietnam Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
More Information and Timeline For History Of Vietnam War From 1960 to 1964
1. Leading up to 1960 check out earlier Vietnam War History Check Out 1960
2. 1961 May Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson visited Saigon and declared Ngo Dinh Diem the "Winston Churchill of Asia. Johnson assured Diem of more aid in molding a fighting force that could resist the communists.
3. 1963 January 3rd Vietcong units defeat South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) in Battle of Ap Bac
4. 1963 November 2nd Coup d'état in South Vietnam and Ngo Dinh Diem is assassinated Major General Duong Van Minh takes control of South Vietnam
5. 1964 January 30th In a bloodless coup, General Nguyen Khanh seizes power in Saigon. South Vietnam
6. August 2nd to 4th Sea battle between the North Vietnamese Navy's Torpedo Squadron and the destroyer USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy
7. August 10 Tonkin Gulf Resolution (officially, Asia Resolution, Public Law 88-408) passed by United States Congress
8. The Tonkin Gulf Resolution gave U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson authorization, without a formal declaration of war by Congress, for the use of conventional military force in Southeast Asia
By the following year over 200,000 US Troops are involved in the Vietnam war and sustained American bombing raids of North Vietnam, dubbed Operation Rolling Thunder, begin lasting for the next 3 years.


Boston Strangler

  • The Boston Strangler Albert DeSalvo is captured
More Information and Timeline For The Boston Strangler Murders
1. 1962 First Victim Anna E. Slesers is found strangled with the cord from her Bathrobe
2. 1962 Seven more victims are murdered Mary Mullen, 85, Nina Nichols, 68, Helen Blake, 65, Ida Irga, 75, Jane Sullivan, 67, Sophie Clark, 20 and Patricia Bissette, 23
3. 1963 Four more victims are murdered Mary Brown, 69, Beverly Samans, 23, Evelyn Corbin, 58 and Joann Graff, 23
4. 1964 January 4th The final victim Mary Sullivan, 19 is found
5. 1964 October 27th Albert DeSalvo is arrested and later confesses to being the Boston Strangler
6. 1967 Albert DeSalvo is found guilty and sentenced to Life Imprisonment
7. 1973 is found stabbed to death at Massachusetts Correctional Institution formerly known as MCI-Walpole
Though the crimes were attributed to Albert DeSalvo, investigators of the case have since suggested the murders (sometimes known as the silk stocking murders) were not committed by one person because the victims from different age and ethnic groups, and that there were different modi operandi.


Warren Commission

  • Warren Commission report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy concludes Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone
More Information and Timeline for the Warren Commission
1. President John F. Kennedy is shot and killed on November 22nd, 1963 while visiting Dallas, Texas by Lee Harvey Oswald.
2. On November 29th, 1963, only a week after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, President Lyndon B. Johnson creates the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy.
3. Chief Justice Earl Warren is appointed to head the commission and they were tasked with investigating the death of President Kennedy.
4. The Warren Commission, as it was called, spent nearly a whole year traveling to Dallas, listening to witnesses, examining government reports and looking into the alleged shooter's background.
5. On September 24th, the report was presented to President Johnson and then on September 27th, 1964 it was released to the public.
6. The report concluded that the gunman Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone with an unknown motive in assassinating President Kennedy and the Jack Ruby had acted alone in his murder of the suspect Oswald.
7. It was also reported that the Secret Service had not made adequate preparations for the president's Dallas visit.
8. The results proved to be somewhat controversial as there was some conflicting evidence and many people believed in different conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination such as there were multiple shooters involved or that foreign governments arranged the assassination.


The Civil Rights Act of 1964

  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is signed into law by President Johnson.
More Information and Timeline for the Civil Rights Act of 1964
President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law on July 2nd, . The Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it illegal to discriminate against someone based on their race, religion, sex, national origin, or the colors of their skin. It also made segregation in public places illegal, enforced the desegregation of schools and addressed unfair and unequal access to voting and voter registration.

The law was considered one of the crowning achievements during the civil rights movement and ended the Jim Crow laws that had legalized segregation in the United States since the end of slavery and the Civil War. While it did not solved the country's racial issues or end prejudice, it was the first step in creating a more fair and equal society.


Martin Luther King Jr. -- Nobel Peace Prize

  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr receives the Nobel Peace Prize.
More Information and Timeline for Martin Luther King Jr. and the Nobel Peace Prize
On October 14th, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The prize was awarded to him for his efforts in leading the non-violent resistance against racial prejudice and segregation in the United States. King was only 35 years old when he received the prestigious prize, making him the youngest recipient at the time. King was awarded $54,123 of prize money, of which he donated to his cause in furthering the Civil Rights Movement.

Elizabeth Taylor marries Richard Burton

  • Elizabeth Taylor marries Richard Burton for the first time.
More Information and Timeline for Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
Having first met while filming the movie Cleopatra in 1961, actors Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor make their much publicized relationship official on March 15th when they are married in Montreal. The two had both been married when they first started their relationship, a scandalizing event that garnered attention from the Vatican, which condemned them. The Burton-Taylor affair and marriage had the public fascinated and marked the beginning of the public's enthrallment with celebrity relationships. The pair were married until their divorce in June of 1974. They remarried each other in 1975 but divorced for a second time in less than a year.

1964 Back In Time Gifts

Mariner 4 spacecraft

  • The Mariner 4 spacecraft is launched by NASA.
More Information and Timeline for Mariner 4
The Mariner 4 spacecraft is launched on November 28th with the mission of photographing and studying the atmosphere of Mars. The Mariner 4 spacecraft reached Mars in July of 1965 and was the first successful mission to reach the red planet as well as the first to provide images of another planet from deep space. There were a total of twenty-one black and white photos that Mariner 4 relayed back to Earth. The spacecraft stopped communicating with NASA in October of 1965 when its antenna was no longer pointing in the correct position. The Mariner 4 space probe resumed communications in 1967 but was deactivated at the end of that year.

Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States

  • Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States Supreme Court Case decided.
More Information and Timeline for Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States
The United States Supreme Court made its decision on the Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States court case on December 14th, The motel had been refusing to allow African-American patrons to stay there and was subsequently charged with violating Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title II of the Civil Rights Act made racial discrimination illegal in places that offered public accommodation if it affected commerce. The court upheld the Title II Commerce Clause as constitutional and declared that places of public accommodation did not have a right to pick and choose guests as they pleased without regulation because of the involvement in commerce.


More News and Key Events From 1964

U.S. - University of California
  • Students storm the administration building and stage sit in at the University of California 800 are arrested.

U.S. - The Beatles
  • The first Beatles US Album Release "Introducing the Beatles," is released on January 10 News Events in the US by Vee-Jay Records

Malta - independence
  • Malta gains independence from the UK

U.S. - Cassius Clay
  • Cassius Clay Beats Sonny Liston on February 25th for World Heavyweight championship

Egypt -- Aswan Dam
  • Work Begins on The Aswan Dam by diverting the Nile to a manmade canal.

UK / France -- Tunnel
  • The British and French Governments announce commitment to build a tunnel under the English Channel

Scotland -- Forth Road Suspension Bridge
  • The Queen opens the Forth Road Suspension Bridge connecting Edinburgh to Fife

United States - War On Poverty Campaign
  • President Lyndon Johnson declares a War On Poverty Campaign.

U.S. -- Ford Mustang
  • The first Ford Mustang from Ford Motor Company is made.

U.S. - Verrazano Narrows Bridge
  • Verrazano Narrows Bridge is opened joining Staten Island and Brooklyn

U.S. -- 24th Amendment
  • The 24th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is Ratified which removed the right to vote in federal elections on payment of a poll tax or other types of tax. Available as a downloadable image on our Public Domain Images Page

UK -- death penalty
  • The abolition of the death penalty in UK

US - Washington D.C.
  • Washington D.C. residents are able to vote in a presidential election for the first time.

US - most powerful earthquake
  • The most powerful earthquake in U.S. history at a magnitude of 9.2, strikes South Central Alaska

Race Riots in Harlem
  • Race Riots in Harlem New York, Elizabeth, NJ, Paterson, NJ, Jersey City, NJ, Rochester, New York, Dixmoor, Chicago, Ill, Philadelphia,

U.S. - Poll Tax
  • The Poll Tax becomes illegal in all US states as it been used as a blunt tool for barring poverty-stricken African-Americans and whites from participating in the electoral process.

  • The so called BRAIN DRAIN of UK Scientists from UK to USA

UK - Mods and Rockers
  • Easter and Whitsun outbreak of Mods and Rockers on 18th May Fights and disturbances on British Seaside Resorts

South Africa - Nelson Mandela
  • Nelson Mandela and seven others are sentenced on June 12th to life imprisonment in South Africa
  • South Africa are barred from the Olympic Games in Tokyo due to their Apartheid Policies

Palestine - Palestinian Liberation Organization
  • The PLO Palestinian Liberation Organization, is established. Ahmad Shukeiri is the first leader with Yasser Arafat as one of the founding members.

UK - Interest Rate is Raised to 7%
  • The UK Interest Rate is Raised to 7%

UK - population
  • UK Report expects population to explode over next 20 years and plans for 3 new towns including Milton Keynes

U.S. - Ku Klux Klan
  • Three civil rights field workers disappear after investigating the burning of an African American church by the Ku Klux Klan.

U.S. - James Hoffa
  • James Hoffa is found guilty and sentenced to eight years on bribery charges

U.S. - World's Fair
  • World's Fair held in New York

U.S. - smoking - lung cancer
  • U.S. Surgeon General reports that smoking may lead to lung cancer

U.S. - Star Of India sapphire
  • Star Of India sapphire stolen from American Museum of Natural History in New York

Cyprus - Civil War
  • Civil War breaks out in Cyprus between Greeks and Turks

Tanzania / Malawi / Malta - Independence
  • Tanzania Gains Independence From Great Britain and combines the former Tanganika and the Island of Zanzibar
  • Malawi Gains Independence From Great Britain
  • Malta Gains Independence From Great Britain

Peru - Soccer Match Riot
  • A riot during a soccer match between Peru and Argentina ends with the loss of 300 fans dead.

UK - Great Train Robbers
  • Great Train Robbers get 30 years each

Brazil - military coup
  • A military coup d'etat in Brazil led by Gen. Humberto Castello Branco

U.S. - Jack Ruby
  • Jack Ruby is convicted of the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of President Kennedy

Japan - Olympics
  • The Summer Olympics are held in Tokyo, Japan

Austria - Winter Olympics
  • The Winter Olympic Games are held in Innsbruck, Austria

Popular Culture 1964

  • Sidney Poitier becomes the first black actor to win the "best actor" Oscar
  • "Hello Dolly," "Funny Girl," and "Fiddler on the Roof" premier on Broadway in New York.
  • The Rolling Stones release debut album, "The Rolling Stones"
  • The Beatles make their first appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show.
  • The Beatles have 13 singles Billboard's Hot 100 at the same time
  • The first pirate radio station, Radio Caroline, is established
  • The Beatles hold the top five positions in the Billboard Top 40 singles in America
  • Bob Dylan releases "The Times They Are a-Changin" many consider a 1960s classic as it captured the changes hapening in society
  • BBC2 starts broadcasting in the UK.
  • Pablo Picasso painted his fourth Head of a Bearded Man
  • The Sun Newspaper is first published in the United Kingdom
  • Hasbro launch G.I. Joe an action figure for boys to join the Barbie Doll For Girls.
  • Buffalo Wings ( deep fried chicken wings coated with hot sauce ) are made at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is published written by Roald Dahl
  • Top of the Pops premieres on BBC television.
  • Elizabeth Taylor marries Richard Burton for the first time

Popular Films

  • The Carpetbaggers
  • It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
  • The Unsinkable Molly Brown
  • My Fair Lady
  • Mary Poppins

Popular Musicians

  • The Beatles
  • Roy Orbison
  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • Simon and Garfunkel

Born This Year

Teri Hatcher December 8th
Keanu Reeves September 2nd
Russell Crowe April 7th
Lenny Kravitz May 26th


  • BASIC (Beginners' All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code), an easy to learn high level programming language is introduced.
  • IBM announces the System/360.
  • The worlds first high speed rail network opens in Japan
  • First Ford Mustang is manufactured
  • Sony introduces the first VCR Home Video Recorder History of Video Recorders
  • The first driver less train runs on London Underground
  • China explodes its first Nuclear bomb

Inventions Invented by Inventors and Country ( or attributed to First Use )
Computer Mouse USA by Douglas Engelbart
Bubble Wrap USA by Marc A Chavannes

Major World Political Leaders

Australia -- Prime Minister -- Sir Robert Menzies --
Brazil -- President -- Joao Goulart -- Till 1 April
Brazil -- President -- Ranieri Mazzilli -- From 2 April
Brazil -- President -- Ranieri Mazzilli -- Till 15 April
Brazil -- President -- Castelo Branco -- From 15 April
Canada -- Prime Minister -- Lester B. Pearson --
China -- Chairman of the People's Republic of China -- Liu Shaoqi --
France -- President -- Charles de Gaulle --
Germany -- Chancellor -- Ludwig Erhard --
India -- Prime Minister -- Jawahar Lal Nehru -- Till 27 May
India -- Prime Minister -- Gulzarilal Nanda -- From 27 May
India -- Prime Minister -- Gulzarilal Nanda -- Till 9 June
India -- Prime Minister -- Lal Bahadur Shastri -- From 9 June
Italy -- Prime Minister -- Aldo Moro --
Japan -- Prime Minister -- Hayato Ikeda -- Till 9 November
Japan -- Prime Minister -- Eisaku Sato -- From 9 November
Mexico -- President -- Adolfo Lopez Mateos -- Till 30 November
Mexico -- President -- Gustavo Díaz Ordaz -- From 30 November
Russia / Soviet Union -- First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union -- Nikita Khrushchev --
Russia / Soviet Union -- First Secretary of the CPSU -- Leonid Brezhnev --
South Africa -- Prime Minister -- Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd --
United States -- President -- Lyndon B. Johnson --
United Kingdom -- Prime Minister -- Sir Alec Douglas-Home -- Till 16 October
United Kingdom -- Prime Minister -- Harold Wilson -- From 16 October 1964

Political Elections

-- United States Presidential Election -- 1964 -- -- Lyndon B. Johnson (Democratic) Defeats Barry Goldwater (Republican) --

-- British General Election -- 1964 -- -- Harold Wilson ( Labour )defeats Alec Douglas-Home ( Conservative ) and Jo Grimond ( Liberal ) --