The Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club was founded as the East Greenbush club on March 2, 1960. That means our organization will turn 58 next Friday.
Some of us clearly remember 1960, some remember it a little less clearly, and some were not even born then. Here’s a look at what was going on during that particular Leap Year:
• President Dwight D. Eisenhower was visiting the South American nation of Uruguay and suffered from a touch of tear gas that drifted his way when police in the capital city of Montevideo used the gas on rioting students.
• Chubby Checker released his recording of the pop song “The Twist,” and it sparked a worldwide dance craze.
• Comic actress and producer Lucille Ball filed for divorce from husband Desi Arnaz after 19 years of marriage, effectively ended the wildly popular “I Love Lucy” franchise of TV shows and films.
• The U.S. government announced it was sending 3,500 military personnel to a place called Vietnam.
• “Ben Hur” won the Oscar for Best Film.
• The National Football League announced the addition of two franchises — the Dallas Cowboys for the 1960 season and Minneapolis-St. Paul for ’61. Later in the year, the first regular season game of the new American Football League is played in Massachusetts, with the Denver Broncos defeating the Boston Patriots, 13-10.
• In Greensboro, NC, four black college students staged a sit-in at a segregated lunch counter in a Woolworth’s department store. That triggered numerous non-violent protests across the South as the civil rights era began heating up.
• In Buenos Aires, Argentina, a team of agents from the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad kidnaps fugitive Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann and spirits him to Israel where he is tried, found guilty of crimes against humanity during World War II, and is executed.
• Dozens of countries, particularly in Africa, gain independence from their colonial rulers France, England, Belgium, and Italy.
• The Kennedy-Nixon debates are held throughout the year, and Kennedy is elected 27th president in November.
Of course, many, many more historic happenings in science, academics, sports, politics, entertainment and other fields took place in 1960, but this smattering may jog your memory.