Rachel Carson's book, which explored the detrimental effects of the use of insecticides on the environment, is seen as an inspiration to the environmental movement.
In "The Feminne Mystique," Betty Friedan discusses the trend of unhappy women produced by the traditional role of wife and mother in American society. It is widely recognized as the springboard for the feminist movement.
In August of '63, high school sophomores were more likely found at the movies watching Frankie & Annette than at home watching the March on Washington.
Music acts such as Peter, Paul and Mary performed at the March on Washington.
Alcatraz federal prison was closed. Because it was accessible only by water it was the most expensive prison to maintain.
CONELRAD, the civilian communications system via radio for emergency situations was replaced by a new Emergency Broadcast System which would use the entire broadcast band.
For the Class of ’65, the sophomore year was something old and something new.  The new of course was high school.  Lincoln Public Schools then had a three year high school.  What today would have been our freshman year had been spent in junior high as ninth graders.  Going into high school in September of ’63 was a vast new experience.  “The Links” yearbook described us as “bewildered,” but proclaimed that we would “find our place.”  The old was the world around us; a world that most of us only knew from images on a television screen or words coming out of a radio.  That world was the world that had been defined in the 1950’s with two major components:  the cold war and the civil rights movement.  The two major events of the coming year would reflect those components as the world would come as close as it ever would to nuclear war with the Cuban missile crisis and the nation’s eyes would become focused on civil rights as 250,000 gathered in the nation’s capital to demonstrate for “Jobs and Freedom.” 

As we first entered the halls of LHS, we might have been aware of Ku Klux Klan cross burnings in Louisiana, nine astronauts being named to the Apollo space program (Neil Armstrong among them), continued violence along the Berlin wall, and the ever persistent nuclear bomb tests.  We certainly were aware that Marilyn Monroe had died, perhaps a suicide (August 5, 1962).  We knew that “everybody’ doing a brand new dance” (“The Locomotion” by Little Eva); we knew that Elvis Presley’s new movie was “Kid Galahad.”  We might have known (but probably didn’t) that Pete Best had been replaced by Ringo Starr.  We weren’t aware that Patrick Ewing had been born (August 5th) in Kingston, Jamaica.  But foremost on our minds were bigger issues, such as how to get to our locker and still be on time for our next class or how we were getting to the football game on Friday night.

While the major news events of the day were not the primary focus of the 1962 sophomore, looking back on that year it becomes evident that the issues of the 1950’s were coming to a head and a stage was being set for the tumultuous 1960’s.  We were somewhat disinterested spectators to the world and certainly had no prescient insight into the nascent developments of the world to come.  The messages of “Silent Spring”  and “The Feminine Mystique” registered on our radar no more than the domestic upheavals in Vietnam.  By the time the year ended perhaps some of the more shocking images began to infiltrate our teenage minds.  Perhaps the sight of a Buddhist monk in flames on a Saigon street, or a fellow teenager attacked by police dogs on the streets of Birmingham would capture our attention.  Perhaps some of us grew up that sophomore year and would “find our place” that would ultimately lead us into the Woodstock generation.  More than likely, most of us remained children of the ‘50’s, more inclined to the excitement of “Beach Party” and less motivated by the “I have a dream” speech.   Whatever the individual journey might have been, the communal experience of the Class of ’65 sophomores was a pilgrimage from the childhood home to the teenage streets of the city; from the “can I get a ride to” to “where should we go tonight?”  Between the newscasts announcing another nuclear test and another racist assault there blasted out of our radios the sound of freedom we loved …. “If everybody had an ocean …. “ (“Surfin’ USA by The Beach Boys).
Cuba had been a persistent issue in US international affairs since Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution installed a communist state on the island nation. The US had not been pleased when Castro had nationalized US holdings there and the Cuban government had subsequently become a Soviet ally. With Cuba as one of the chess pieces in the Cold War, shortly after President Kennedy took office, Cuban expatriots, with the aid of the US attempted an invasion at the Bay of Pigs. The invasion attempt failed and President Kennedy refused to provide US air support. The Soviets used the US sponsored invasion as an excuse to provide Cuba with weapons -- specifically intermediate range nuclear missiles. The Soviet Union only had a limited number of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the US from Soviet launch places, and their accuracy and reliability was questionable. But the missiles being placed in Cuba could reach most US cities and would be quite accurate. A U2 flight over Cuba discovered the missiles on October 14th and the President was informed on the morning of the 16th. A committee of advisors known as EXCOMM was put together and met in private over the next several days to put together a proposed response. The final result of EXCOMM's deliberations was to put a blockade on Cuba that would keep supplies from reaching Cuba that would make the missiles operational. On October 22nd, the President announced the blockade via a televised address to the nation. Over the next five days, the two super powers came close to direct military attacks. A US reconnaisance plane was shot down over Cuba and depth charge were launched against a Soviet submarine. Finally, using back channel negotiations, a diplomatic solution was reached on October 27th. Publicly, the agreement was that Russia would remove the missiles and that the US would guarantee no further invasions of Cuba. Privately, part of the agreement was that the US would subsequently remove missile bases in Turkey.

1963 had been a year of big headlines for the civil rights movement, most of them alarming to a nation that was still struggling to reconcile its proclaimed "liberty and justice for all" with events that revealed profound racial discrimination. On May 2nd, in Birmingham, Alabama, a month long protest of institutional segregation erupted into violence. Over a thousand students marched in protest -- eventually leading to a total of 1,200 arrests for a jail system capable of handling 900. The Birmingham Commissioner of Public Safety, Bull Connor decided the next day to head off the protestors before they reached downtown and turn them back with fire hoses and dogs. Film footage and newspaper photos flooded the media and raised national conscience. Eventually federal troops were sent to Birmingham to establish order. In June, Jim Crow signs were removed from public places in Birmingham. On June 11th, Governor George Wallace of Alabama made good on his threat to "stand in the schoolhouse door" to defend segregation when he did just that to stop three black students from enrolling at the University of Alabama. It was largely a publicity stunt -- the three students were enrolled. On that same day, President Kennedy addressed the nation calling for a Civil Rights Act which would guarantee voting rights, desegregate schools and public accomodations, and remove racial discrimination from the workplace. On June 12th, Medgar Evers, a black civil rights activist, was shot and killed in his driveway in Jackson Mississippi. To promote the Civil Rights Act, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference pulled together the other national civil rights proponents and planned a mass protest march to be held at the nation's capitol. Baynard Ruskin organized the event which ultimately brought 250,000 to Washington, D.C. On August 28th, the march culminated in a gathering in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed the crowd: "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-eveident, that all men are created equal.'"