oodstock, the moon landing, the Stonewall Riots: 1969 was a notable year, to put it mildly. First came the Stonewall Riots, demonstrations by the LGBTQ+ community against police raids that are often viewed as some of the most important milestones for the early gay rights movement.

Then, there was the Apollo 11 space launch, an almost unbelievable sight, in which Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin achieved the unthinkable by stepping foot on the moon.

And finally, just a few weeks later, more than 400,000 people trekked to a 600-acre dairy farm in upstate New York for some pretty memorable musical performances known as Woodstock.

Our faculty experts share their unique perspective on how these events changed the societal landscape 50 years ago.



Ron DiIulio

Ron DiIulio
Director of UNT's astronomy lab

"Our phones have 10 times the capability of the computer that took those astronauts to the moon. The things we look at as commonplace, like our smart watches, were science fiction. They're less than 50 years old -- the dreams weren't even there."



Clark Pomperleau



Clark Pomerleau
Associate professor in UNT's Department of History

"The Stonewall Riots provided an opportunity for disenfranchised trans women and gender non-conforming young people to assert their right to hold public space and then to organize for political gains. It was part of this broad activist conversation about tactics and issues."



Sara Outhier



Sara Outhier ('12 M.S.)
UNT music librarian for digital and audio services

"Sometimes you find yourself in a moment where you're like, 'Oh my goodness, this is historical.' Woodstock was an event where I think people who were there knew it was a special time in their lives, a special time in the world, and that they were in the right place at the right time."

Want to learn more?

Check out our episode of UNT Pod devoted to the summer of 1969 or search UNT Pod wherever you listen to podcasts.

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