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photo of students on Duke campus, 1968

Students at Duke University hold a vigil after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968. . About the photograph

American society seemed to change at breakneck speed in the 1960s, all of it fueled by activism and protest and generating, in turn, strong conservative opposition. Continuing protest for civil rights for African Americans was joined by a push for equal rights for women, efforts to end poverty, battles on university campuses over free speech, the beginnings of a gay rights movement, and — as we’ll see in the next chapter — arguments at home over the Vietnam War. In this chapter we’ll examine some of these movements and the changes they succeeded — and didn’t succeed — in creating.