US Postage Stamps in the 1960’s
The Sixties were, for citizens of the United States, a decade of progress and a decade of unrest. There was a war in Vietnam. There were assassinations, including that of President John F. Kennedy, America’s first Catholic president. There was a renewed interest in American folk music and blues music along with a cultural “British invasion” that changed the course of popular music. There were hippies in the streets of Haight-Ashbury and Greenwich Village and there were astronauts on the moon. There were civil rights marches and there was the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There was feminism and the Chicano Movement and lots more.
It was, astrologers hoped, the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, an age of peace and love, though in retrospect that hope was probably premature.
While most be-ins were peaceful, Americans were not strangers to violence in the Sixties. In addition to JFK’s, other assassinations included those of NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers by a member of the Ku Klux Klan in 1963, Malcolm X in 1965, Che Guevara in 1967, and Martin Luther King, Jr. And Robert F. Kennedy in 1968.
Still, it was a good time to be alive, especially if one was young. There was hope and optimism and idealism. And lots of fun clothes to wear.
American postage stamps issued during the 1960’s were fairly conservative; there never was a hippie U.S. Postmaster General. The American Credo postage stamps, a set of six 4-cent postage stamps with quotes from famous Americans, was a notable way to begin the decade. Toward the end of the Sixties, there was a four-stamp beautification issue, urging Americans to plant for more beautiful streets, highways, cities, and parks. By that point, the rate to mail a first-class letter had increased to six cents.