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This Sceptred Isle

Beeching, Profumo, and Martin Luther King's Dream
In 1963 de Gaulle refused Britain entry into the EEC. Another infuriating embarrassment was the Profumo Affair. John Profumo, Secretary of State for War, had an affair with a prostitute Christine Keeler. It was found out that Christine Keeler also knew a Soviet intelligence officer. Profumo denied this in the House of Commons but it was proved true and Profumo was forced to resign.

In America Martin Luther King was campaigning for racial equality and delivered his famous "I have a dream" speech. In the same year (November 1963) President John Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

Towards the end of the year it became obvious that Macmillan was too unwell to continue. He resigned. The Earl of Home became Prime Minister, renounced his title and successfully fought a by-election at Kinross. He sat in the Commons as Sir Alec Douglas-Home

Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King

  • Born in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Son of a Baptist minister
  • Became a civil rights campaigner
  • Sought racial equality in the United States
  • Encouraged black people not to give up their seats to white people on board buses in Alabama
  • Organised a huge demonstration march on Washington DC in 1963
  • Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 1964
  • Assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on 4 April 1968

did you know?
The Great Train Robbery took place in 1963 and so did the government's Beeching Report on railways which led to the closing down of services, especially branch lines.

Extract from Martin Luther King's Speech 28th August 1963 in Washington DC
"There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the colored citizen is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. .... We cannot be satisfied as long as the colored person's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. ... We cannot be satisfied as long as a colored person in Mississippi cannot vote and a colored person in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.

"Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by storms of persecutions and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. ...

"I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed . . .

"I have a dream that one day out in the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

"I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by their character.

"I have a dream today.

"I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; that one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

"I have a dream today.

" . . . So let freedom ring from the hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that, let freedom, ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi and every mountainside."

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1958 The Life Peerages Act is passed
1959 Oil is discovered in the North Sea
The Vietnam War begins
1960 Cyprus and Nigeria become independent
1961 South Africa leaves the Commonwealth
1962 The National Economic Development Council is formed
1963 The Profumo Affair
Macmillan resigns due to ill-health
Douglas-Home becomes Tory Prime Minister
1964 General Election. Labour win and Harold Wilson becomes Prime Minister
1965 Winston Churchill dies
Sir Alec Douglas-Home resigns as Tory leader - succeeded by Edward Heath
Rhodesia declares UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence)
1966 Barclay's Bank introduces the first British credit card
1967 The Pound is devalued
1968The Commonwealth Immigration Act is passed
London and Paris student riots

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