In 1960 John F. Kennedy (JFK) was elected president. At the age of forty-three, the handsome and wealthy Kennedy was the youngest person to be elected president. Kennedy's youthful idealism seemed to inspire the entire nation. He established the Peace Corps, in which thousands of young people volunteered to help the poor in third-world countries. The president also promised that Americans would walk on the moon before the end of the decade.
On February 1, 1960, the historic events of the decade unexpectedly began. Four unknown black students staged a sit-in at a segregated lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, and started what was soon called "the movement."
From that point until the August 1963 [civil rights] march on Washington [led by Martin Luther King Jr.], there commenced an era of unmatched idealism in America.
Then in 1963 America experienced an unparalleled tragedy when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963.
Throughout the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays in 1963 America mourned for their fallen president. As the new year dawned, the sadness of the previous autumn was driven away when the music of the Beatles arrived in America.
By January 1964, The Beatles' "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," was blasting out of millions of record players and car radios. In February, when the Beatles appeared on the popular Ed Sullivan Show, more than half the television sets in America were tuned in to watch.