45th Anniversary: 1968 Revisited

Earthrise“Earthrise” Image via: Nasa

This year FRCH celebrates its 45th anniversary. If you put those years in reverse you could watch how this company has evolved through ownership, name changes and office spaces. You would see the breadth of its creative power and you would see how this company helped shape the careers of hundreds of employees. And then you would arrive in the year 1968. Though most of us have a general sense of history, and can assemble in our minds an approximate timeline of major historical events, I would think it hard to name specific dates . . . even years. And the question is, who would really care? What good does it to recall our history? Better yet, what is so important about honoring certain dates, in this case, an Anniversary? If we can use the birth of FRCH as a microcosm, the answer may lie in understanding context.

I knew the sixties were a period of social revolution and experienced unimaginable turmoil. I also knew it fostered some great cultural achievements. But, not having lived in the sixties, I wanted to look back to see what specific events occurred in 1968 and get a semblance of what it must have been like to start a business. Here is what I found:

1968 witnessed the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy. The Vietnam War reached a boiling point with the North Vietnamese launching the Tet Offensive. The Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of South Vietnamese General, Nguyen Ngoc Loan, executing a Viet Cong prisoner was captured. Women’s Liberation groups joined in a massive demonstration targeting the Miss America Contest. African-American athletes at the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City demonstrated by performing the black power salute during the National Anthem. Nixon was elected the 37th president of the United States. The Beatles recorded and released the White Album. Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey premiered in theatres to initially mixed reviews from critics and audiences alike. And in the last days of the year, the first image of Earth from space was photographed during the Apollo 8 mission.

MartinLutherKingDemonstrators2001-A-Space-Odyssey

Having looked back I can only imagine what it must have been like to live during such a tumultuous time. The guts it must have taken to pursue a dream when dreamers, it seemed, were dying all around you. I imagine our founder, Mr. Jim Fitzgerald Sr., at the moment he decided to act on that dream. I imagine him as courageous and determined, optimistic and fearful, genius and brash, rebellious and forthright.

This blog series will look back on this consequential year to give perspective on how far we’ve come as a company and culture, and celebrate our achievements from both the past and present.

Images via: Nasa, Associated Press and Warner Bros.

About mikeruehlman
Designer at FRCH Design Worldwide

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