February 5

Bob Douglas becomes the first African American elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

March 2

The first man-made satellite leaves the solar system.

April

Student Antiwar Movements Then and Now

By Layla Marie Caba, age 10 and IndyKids staff

Police officers confronting antiwar demonstrators on UCLA campus in 1972. Fifty two were arrested.

The United States entered the Vietnam War on Nov. 1, 1955, with the apparent intention of trying to prevent the spread of communism. A huge percentage of Americans opposed the war and felt that the devastation caused by the violent assault was immoral. It is estimated that by the end of the war in 1975, over 1 million soldiers and civilians died in the conflict.

By 1972, this organized dissent had spread all over U.S. campuses, and most students opposed the war. April saw one of the largest organized movements with an estimated 100,000 people flocking to New York City to march. Many of these protesters were high school students. In May, violent antiwar protests broke out at the University of Minnesota, an event that would later be referred to as the Eight Days in May. This event was part of the last wave of protests nationally.

As a result of the unrest, antiwar movements erupted across the United States. The agenda of these protests was to demand an end to military intervention in Vietnam and to promote pacifism.

Now decades after the antiwar movement emerged, the world is still immersed in warfare and human rights abuses. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, students once again took to the streets and rallied across the United States and world in mass acts of dissent. These youths waved blue-and-yellow flags and led marches on and off campuses. 

Ukrainian Student Association, University of Illinois

Youth-led groups like the Dissenters, a national organization, are paving the way for the next generation in antiwar efforts. “We’re building local teams of young people … to force our elected officials and institutions to divest from war and militarism,” say the Dissenters on their website. “We are building grassroots power to cut off war elites once and for all.”

The antiwar movements during the Vietnam War had a deep impact on American culture, and they succeeded in changing attitudes throughout the military. As a direct result of this movement, the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18. Antiwar movements from 50 years ago and today reveal the power of student activism.

April 12

NASA’s space shuttle program is officially launched.

April 17

Women are finally allowed to compete in the Boston Marathon.

June 3

Sally Priesand becomes the first female rabbi in the United States, and the second female rabbi in Jewish history.

June 23

Title IX Turns 50: But Has It Achieved Its Goal of Equality?

By Neena Sapkota, age 13 and IndyKids staff

Patsy Mink, the first Asian American woman and first woman of color in Congress.

Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on a person’s sex within education, turns 50 this year, and it’s still having a big impact today. The bill was created by Rep. Patsy Mink in 1972. Mink was the first Asian American woman and first woman of color in Congress. One of the biggest impacts the new law had was in sports. Once passed, Title IX created a more equal playing field for female athletes. 

Before Title IX, women were not offered athletic scholarships, they struggled to gain funding for their facilities and equipment, and there were no women’s sport championships. “There has been a significant increase in the number of young girls playing sports since Title IX was enacted,” says lawyer Amy Trask in an interview with CBS Sports. Our country has a long history of sexism and discrimination based on gender, which is why laws like Title IX are so important. Enforcing laws like this are critical in trying to tackle inequality. 

U.S. Women’s World Cup champions cheered by tens of thousands in NYC, July 2019. Photo courtesy of Tey-Marie Astudillo

Last year, the U.S. Department of Education stated that the protections of Title IX now extend to transgender students and members of the LGBTQ+ community. In the 2021 legislative session, 23 states considered bills that target LGBTQ+ youth. Most of these bills limit the healthcare that transgender youth have access to or outright ban them from participating in school sports. Title IX should now, by law, prohibit these discriminatory bills from being passed. 
But 50 years after passage of Title IX, are women still struggling to be seen as equal? A 2020 study by Champion Women found that 90% of universities still do not meet Title IX standards and continue to discriminate against women. In May, it was announced that the U.S. women’s soccer team would be paid the same as the men’s, a decision which could not have been possible without Title IX. The team’s legal battle for equal pay is just the latest step in the slow and ongoing walk toward gender equality.

July

50 Years Ago: Trailblazing Shirley Chisholm Made History 

By Cayzlen Rodriguez, age 9 and IndyKids staff

Shirley Chisholm’s presidential campaign poster, 1972

Just eight years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination, in 1972 Shirley Chisholm became the first person of color and woman to run for president of the United States, winning 152 electoral votes. Prior to this, Chisholm became the first Black woman to be elected to Congress in 1968. 

Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1924, Chisholm came from one of New York City’s poorest communities. Before getting into politics, she attended Brooklyn College and went on to earn her master’s degree in elementary education from Columbia University about five years later.

After college, Chisholm joined the Bedford-Stuyvesant Political League, an organization that fought for civil rights. She also joined groups such as the League of Women Voters and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Chisholm was an advocate for improving childhood education, immigrant rights and expanding child care for women.

Ketanji Brown Jackson, confirmed as a justice of the Supreme Court

Once Chisholm was elected to Congress in 1968, she became a champion for many welfare programs, like expanding the Food Stamp Program and protecting reproductive rights. While serving on the body, she refused to take a back seat. “I have no intention of just sitting quietly and observing,” Chisholm said in her first House speech, where she spoke against the continued funding and support of the Vietnam War. She also co-founded the National Congress of Black Women, which advocates for women of color in education, politics and economics. 

While Chisholm did not win the presidency, she did lay the foundations for future generations of Black women. In February, Ketanji Brown Jackson finally became the first Black woman to serve as a justice of the United States Supreme Court. Still today, 50 years later, no woman or Black woman has been president of the United States.

“[Chisholm] understood what we were lacking in America, and being ‘unbought’ is to stand up for yourself, understanding that nobody can take away what’s inside of you.” 

Barbara Bullard, president of the Shirley Chisholm Institute

September 2

Dartmouth becomes the last Ivy League college to admit women.

September

1972, The Birth of Video Game Consoles!

By Madison Harris, age 11 and IndyKids staff

The original game console: Magnavox-Odyssey

Ever wonder what the first game console was? Back in 1972, the Magnavox Odyssey home video game console was released. Created by Ralph Baer—who also created the original concept for Pong, which was also released the same year—the Magnavox Odyssey offered people the opportunity to “participate in television,” something which had never been done before!

In a world where virtual reality gaming now exists and the advent of the metaverse is upon us, it’s hard to imagine what this invention would have been like 50 years ago. While the Magnavox Odyssey was not a very big success, it did pave the way for every video game console that came after it.

Research has suggested that video games can help kids develop problem-solving skills, improve cognitive ability and mood, and reduce anxiety. At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, Verizon found that gaming was up 75% after just the first week of mass self-isolation. Video games proved a fun and comforting way for kids and adults alike to connect and enjoy time together safely. 

Gaming in 2022

“People learn how to negotiate, collaborate, to take turns, to think critically with others,” says Isabela Granic, professor of developmental psychopathology at Radboud University in the Netherlands, in an interview with Time. “People learn how to persevere in the face of failure. To take failure over and over and still work at some kind of goal.”

While there are benefits to playing video games, it’s just as important to limit screen time and get outside whenever possible. Research has shown that too much game playing can have a negative impact on physical health, sleep schedule and can create a lack of motivation.

November 7

Attorney Joe Biden is elected to the U.S. Senate.

November 22

U.S. ends 22-year travel ban to China.

December 7

Apollo 17 launched, the final manned lunar landing mission where the crew takes the famous “blue marble” photo of the entire Earth.

Word Bank

Communism: A type of government as well as an economic system (a way of creating and sharing wealth). In a Communist system, individual people do not own land, factories, or machinery. Instead, the government or the whole community owns these things. Everyone is supposed to share the wealth that they create.

Pacifism: The view that violence is always wrong

Dissent: To publicly disagree with an official opinion or decision

Discrimination: The unfair treatment of one particular person or group of people