Whilst We Were Gone

So we went missing for two months during one of the most revolutionary, apocalyptic years in modern history. And stuff happened.

The end of February saw the birth of second-wave feminism in the United States in the form of a book called The Feminine Mystique, by Betty Friedan. Amongst other things, it exposed the fact that although advertisers routinely proclaimed that women would be happier as housewives, national statistics showed that unhappiness amongst American women had increased the more they had retreated from professional employment.

In March, Pakistan and China signed an agreement ratifying a new border between the two countries – an agreement that India refuses to recognise to this day. The treaty brought Pakistan closer to China but weakened its Cold War ties with the United States.
The legendary prison of Alcatraz, off the coast of San Francisco, was closed by order of Robert F. Kennedy, before Bolivia won their first and only Copa America football tournament, aided by the fact that they hosted all the games in unusually high altitude to which most of the other teams were unaccustomed. They have not hosted an international tournament since.

In April, the civil rights movement in the US had stagnated. After a failed attempt to desegregate the city of Albany in Georgia, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference set their sights on Birmingham in Alabama, a city King calls the most segregated in the country. Protests begin with a boycott of all businesses, in an attempt to open up employment for the city’s African American people.

A week later, the US nuclear submarine Thresher sinks in the Atlantic, killing all 129 personnel on board. At the end of the month, a terrorist attack in Canada carried out by a group advocating an independent state of Québec kills a night-watchman at a Canadian Army recruiting centre.

And so, at the start of May, we return to Birmingham, a powder-keg of protest, discontent and institutional racism. Its fuse is about to be lit by one police chief. His name is Theophilus Eugene Connor, but he is better known as Bull.


Full-length stories for March and April will be added to Orbital in due course. Stay tuned.


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