“You’re going to get a concept that maybe this really is one world and why the hell can’t we learn to live together like decent people.” ~ Astronaut Frank Borman, on seeing the entire earth from outer space as he and the crew of the Apollo 8 returned from orbiting the moon.
In 1968, protests were seemingly everywhere, and Northern Ireland took note. A civil rights movement was started, and protests called for greater equality for the Catholic minority. The previous year, activists in Belfast drew inspiration from Martin Luther King and his civil rights movement.
The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association demanded equal voting rights, fairer public housing, an end to ‘gerrymandering,’ and an end to discrimination in employment.
By 1968, the civil rights movement was beginning to gather support, and in August 1968, they were invited to hold a march in early October. A Protestant group announced plans to march the same day, and subsequently, all marches were banned.
On the day of the march, a few hundred civil rights protesters planned to walk from the predominantly Protestant area of Derry to the center of the city. Marchers were confronted by rows of police officers. The police used batons and a water cannon in an attempt to disperse the marchers and violent skirmishes broke out. “The Troubles” would last another thirty years, ending (most would agree) with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.
Here’s the #13 song from Billboard’s Year-End Top 100 Singles of 1968
“Mony Mony” by Tommy James and The Shondells