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1968: The Year That Rocked Our World

1968: Voice of the Reader

Remembering an unforgettable year.

Evie Glodic, 61, Knightdale, North Carolina
I was a senior at the University of Georgia and graduated in August 1968. I received a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education. I did my student teaching at Chase Street School in Athens, Georgia. My supervising teacher was Mrs. Johnnie Burke.

She was black and I am white. Several people were not too happy that my supervising teacher was black, but let me tell you she was wonderful and I feel that I got a wonderful insight on teaching fifth-grade students from her. In fact, I received two A-pluses and an A for my final grade. She was very professional and set a good example by her actions. It was Johnnie. It wasn’t Johnnie’s color. She taught me how to handle the children by following her example.

Johnnie was a wonderful person and I felt that I got the best experience of my entire time at Georgia from her.

Mike Scheafer, 54, Costa Mesa, California
1968 was a critical year in my life. The events that occurred that year definitely steered my destiny. Two of my heroes, Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, were senselessly gunned down. It seemed that it was too soon from the murder of my other hero John Kennedy, and it was. As a young teen I was anxious about my future and possible war duties in Vietnam. The events in Chicago of '68 stirred my passion for politics and guided my belief system for years to come. I got active in the anti-war effort, but knew if I was to be called to serve, I would.

As the son and grandson of veterans, I felt that I would have served if drafted into military service. I would have made it known to the service that I did not believe in the war and would probably have asked for noncombat duty. I love my country and would have served it. I had extreme respect for my father and what he did in World War II and Korea. The same sentiment for my grandfathers who served in World War I. I would not have broken the law by refusing to be drafted, which I eventually was. Fortunately for me, I guess, the draft was cancelled two weeks before my report date.

I campaigned for Eugene McCarthy. I was appalled at Richard Daley and was proud of Hubert Humphrey. It led me to become involved today with local government (I am an ex-city council member) and guided me to my work with numerous nonprofit agencies. I was glad to be a part of organizing and working for change.

Mary Aull, 61, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Yes, 1968 changed me in deep ways that are still true 39 years later. I graduated from a small Catholic college in the Midwest and moved to a large East Coast city with a group of people determined to end the war and change the world. I think all of us active in ending the war did just that (too bad we're not as successful now).

Did we change the world? Yes and no. Some things are better for women, people of color and poor people. Many things are not. For me, 1968 meant I'd never see the world the same way and commit my life to making the world better than when I entered it.

I think I am doing that. I am an anti-war, anti-violence, pro-choice, animal welfare, equal-rights-for-all activist. I plan to do all of this for many years to come.

Margaret C. Wright, 71, Summerfield, Florida
I was living in Baltimore when the riots broke out after Dr. King was killed. I was visiting my mother-in-law, and she had a bay window that overlooked the street, and I saw people going into the drugstore and appliance store across the street and coming out with stuff. There was a curfew, and they had told us not to be on the street, but this was broad daylight. It was amazing to me. I was on maternity leave as a kindergarten teacher, and people were doing all kinds of things, rolling washing machines up and down the street. I was stunned. I was afraid—I really was. People actually died as a result of those riots. I don’t think that drugstore ever opened up again under that same owner.

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