Monroe Gallery of Photography
Monroe Gallery of Photography


1968: It Was Fifty Years Ago Today
50 photographs from one of the most tumultuous years in United States history.


Title: U.S. Marines at battle of Hue, Vietnam, 1968
by John Olsen

The year 1968 marked many changes for the United States. It signaled the end of the Kennedy-Johnson presidencies, the pinnacle of the civil rights movement, the beginning of Women's rights and Gay rights, and the beginning of the end of the war in Vietnam. More than that, it meant a change in public attitudes and beliefs. Photojournalism had a dominating role in the shaping of public attitudes at the time. Now, the exhibition comes amid a time of heightened awareness from political, racial, and social tensions.

The year started with the Viet Cong opening the Tet Offensive by attacking major cities of South Vietnam, a move that triggered President Lyndon B. Johnson's call for peace negotiations. Johnny Cash recorded "Live at Folsom Prison", Eddie Adams photographs a Viet Cong officer as he is executed by Nguyen Ngoc Loan, a South Vietnamese National Police Chief. This photograph made headlines around the world, eventually winning the 1969 Pulitzer Prize, and sways U.S. public opinion against the war. On March 16, the Mai Lai massacre further shocks the nation, and on March 31st, President Lyndon B. Johnson surprised the nation by choosing not to run for reelection. On April 4th, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee, leading to riots in Washington, D.C. and other cities. In late April, student protesters at Columbia University in New York City take over administration buildings and shut down the university, only one of many college protests that would unfold across the county.

In June, Robert F. Kennedy, former U.S. attorney general and U.S. senator from New York, was assassinated in Los Angeles while campaigning for the Democratic Presidential nomination, and Bill Eppridge records a lone busboy trying to comfort Kennedy as he lays sprawled on the kitchen floor of the Ambassador Hotel. In August, the Democratic National Convention in Chicago was marred by clashes between Vietnam War protesters and Mayor Daley's police force. At Mexico City's Summer Olympic Games, African American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos won gold and bronze medals, then bowed their heads and raised clenched fists during the playing of the U.S. national anthem in protest of U.S. racism. And in November, as the Beatles' "White Album" is released Richard Nixon was elected President with running mate Spiro Agnew, making one of the most extraordinary political comebacks in U.S. history. Finally, in December, Elvis Presley's "1968 Comeback Special" airs on NBC television and Apollo 8 enters orbit around the moon.

In culture, Barbarella, Funny Girl, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Planet of the Apes, Rosemary's Baby, and Yellow Submarine dominate the box office; the Fillmore East opens in New York, Hair opens on Broadway, and "Hey Jude" by the Beatles and "Jumpin' Jack Flash by The Rolling Stones top the music charts.

Title: Peace Anti-War Rally, Central Park, Spring 1968
Artist: Amalie R. Rothschild
Title: Hippie Girl, Haight Asbury, 1968
Artist: Steve Schapiro
Title: Feminists at a rally, Washington, DC, 1968
Artist: Steve Schapiro

Title: Woman's Liberation March, New York City,1968
Artist: Ken Regan
Title: Anti-war protest,Washington, DC, 1968
Artist: Ken Regan
Title: The Worst is Yet to Come, New York, c. 1968
Artist: Steve Schapiro

Title: Championing His Champion, Madison Square Garden, 1968
Artist: Grey Villet
Title: Bobby Seale meets with Students, UC Santa Cruz, January 1968
Artist: Other Photographers
Title: Photographing protestors at Anti-Nixon rally, Washington, DC, 1968
Artist: Steve Schapiro

Title: Martin Luther King, Alabama, 1965
Artist: Steve Schapiro
Title: Dr. Martin Luther King assassination, Memphis,Tenn., April 4, 1968; Photograph by Joseph Louw
Artist: LIFE Magazine Photographers
Title: Martin Luther King Jr's Motel Room Hours After He Was Shot, Memphis, Tennessee 1968
Artist: Steve Schapiro

Title: Coretta Scott King at her Husband's Funeral, April, 1968
Artist: Tony Vaccaro
Title: Martin Luther King, Jr., at the R.S. Lewis & Sons Funeral Home in Memphis, 1968
Artist: Art Shay
Title: Honor King, End Racism, 1968
Artist: Art Shay

Title: Bobby Kennedy campaigns in IN during May of 1968, with various aides and friends: former prizefighter Tony Zale and (right of Kennedy) N.F.L. stars Lamar Lundy, Rosey Grier, and Deacon Jones
Artist: Bill Eppridge
Title: The Kennedy campaign travels through the Watts section of Los Angeles on the last day before the primary, 1968
Artist: Bill Eppridge
Title: Robert Kennedy addresses the crowd after the California Primary, Ambassador Hotel Ballroom, June 5, 1968
Artist: Bill Eppridge

Title: Busboy Juan Romero tries to comfort Presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy after assassination attempt, June 5, 1968
Artist: Bill Eppridge
Title: Ethel speaking to her husband Robert as Jean Kennedy Smith kneels nearby, Ambassador Hotel kitchen, June 5, 1968
Artist: Bill Eppridge
Title: The Robert F. Kennedy funeral train travels through Trenton, New Jersey
Artist: Bill Eppridge

Title: John Kennedy Jr. at Robert F. Kennedy's Funeral, St. Patrick's Cathedral,1968
Artist: Bob Gomel
Title: Bodies of women and children killed by U.S. troops near the village of My Lai, South Vietnam, March 1968
Artist: Other Photographers
Title: U.S. Marines at battle of Hue, Vietnam, 1968 by John Olsen
Artist: LIFE Magazine Photographers

Title: Street Execution of a Viet Cong Prisoner, Saigon, 1968
Artist: Eddie Adams
Title: Dead Vietcong, Saigon, 1968
Artist: Eddie Adams
Title: I Ain't going....
Artist: Steve Schapiro

Title: Nixon on La Salle Street, Chicago, 1968
Artist: Art Shay
Title: Nixon Women await his arrival, O’Hare Airport, 1968
Artist: Art Shay
Title: Richard Nixon giving a speech to the residents of Suffolk County, NY while on the campaign trail in 1968
Artist: Irving Haberman

Title: Clear the Park, Chicago, 1968
Artist: Art Shay
Title: Poet Allen Ginsberg shown raising his hands in meek surrender to the police, Chicago Democratic Convention, 1968
Artist: Art Shay
Title: Allen Ginsberg at protests outside Democratic Convention, Chicago, 1968
Artist: Ken Regan

Title: Abbie Hoffman at protests outside Democratic Convention, Chicago, 1968
Artist: Ken Regan
Title: Playwright Jean Genet demonstrates in Grant Park Chicago 1968 against Chicago Mayor Daley’s police. Next to him is novelist William Burroughs and novelist Terry Christian who wrote “The Magic Christian.”
Artist: Art Shay
Title: "Welcome Democrats" Hilton Hotel, Michigan Avenue, August 1968, Democratic Convention
Artist: Art Shay

Title: Jesse Jackson at the George Wallace for President Convention, 1968
Artist: Amalie R. Rothschild
Title: George Wallace for President Convention, 1968
Artist: Spider Martin
Title: Ali in Harlem on 125th Street during his exile period, when he was stripped of his boxing license for his conscientious objection to the Vietnam war, 1968
Artist: Brian Hamill

Title: Boxing champion Muhammad Ali posing in front of the Alvin Theater during production of play "The Great White Hope", NY, 1968
Artist: Bob Gomel
Title: Astronauts
Artist: Other Photographers
Title: 1968 Olympics Black Power salute, by John Dominis, Time Inc
Artist: John Dominis

Title: Arlo Guthrie on set of ”Alice’s restaurant”, 1968
Artist: Amalie R. Rothschild
Title: Timothy Leary, Arlo Guthrie on Set of Alice's Restaurant, Massachusetts, 1968
Artist: Steve Schapiro
Title: Marianne Faithful during recording for the Rolling Stones' "Their Satanic Majesties Request"
Artist: Shepard Sherbell

Title: Janis Joplin at the Fillmore East, NYC, 1968
Artist: Elliott Landy
Title: Andy Warhol, Janis Joplin, Tim Buckley, at Max's Kansas City, NYC, 1968
Artist: Elliott Landy
Title: Jimi Hendrix, Fillmore East
Artist: Elliott Landy

Title: Bob Dylan, Infrared, 1968
Artist: Elliott Landy
Title: Actress Jane Fonda in publicity still for "Barbarella," 1968
Artist: LIFE Magazine Photographers
Title: Peggy Guggenheim, Venice, Italy, 1968
Artist: Tony Vaccaro



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