US National Portrait Gallery Looks Back at 1968
The year 1968 was a time of great social and political unrest in the United States.
The Vietnam War had reached a turning point.
The Civil Rights Act was signed into law, which helped guarantee fair housing to all Americans.
On television, people were watching everything from the summer and winter Olympics to the first manned orbit of the moon.
Newsmakers from 1968 included President Lyndon Johnson, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Junior, and then-presidential candidate Richard Nixon.
It was also the year when the Smithsonian Institution opened the National Portrait Gallery to the public.
The museum is a short walk from the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the museum is presenting a show about that memorable year and the people who helped shape it.
It is called "One Year: 1968, An American Odyssey."
The show offers 30 images -- from photographs, paintings and magazine covers that represent that period.
Museum director Kim Sajet says the show is especially timely, as the nation is once again dealing with major political and social changes.
A large part of the dissatisfaction 50 years ago was U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
Americans increasingly opposed the war.
President Johnson supported the war effort, and the government in South Vietnam.
His unpopularity is represented in a political cartoon that is part of the exhibit.
Artist David Levine created the cartoon.
The image shows Johnson as King Lear, the lead character of the Shakespeare play of the same name.
As theater-goers know, the king slowly loses his ability to think clearly.
Other major social and political issues were entering American culture in 1968, too.
Sajet says she sees many similarities between 40 years ago and today.
"So for example, there is a very dramatic cover that was put on Time magazine in June to describe a story that they were doing about the gun in America, and it's very confrontational because a gun is literally pointed at you, the reader, (the) viewer. This is, of course, a conversation that continues in America today."
There is also a photograph of Shirley Anita Chisholm of New York.
She was the first African-American woman elected to the House of Representatives.<