In any other year, the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. would have stood out as the tragedy that defined the troubles of its time. But in 1968, it was only the first — followed quickly by the signing of the Civil Rights Act and the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, and played out as anger at America’s involvement in Vietnam mounted — to shake, challenge, and change the country.
A new exhibit at the Pusey Library, “Harvard, 1968,” uses King’s death as a touchstone to explore what it meant to be a student experiencing, and helping shape, the political, cultural, and scientific revolutions that swept the world in that turbulent year.
These major historical markers live on in the photographs, letters, speeches, newspapers, posters, and a recording that document the upheaval on campus and put University events into a wider context. Also featured are views of others in the Harvard community, including some of the key faculty voices of the time.
“Harvard, 1968,” curated by Juliana Kuipers, Emily Atkins, Megan Sniffin-Marinoff, and Virginia Hunt of the Harvard University Archives, will be on view at the Pusey Library through June 14. It is free and open to the public weekdays 9 a.m.‒5 p.m.