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History of Motown

Motown's history is shown in relationship to world history. Click each year along the timeline to see how the two synched up.

Engineers construct a disc-cutting machine so “demos” could be on a record rather than the master tape.

Smokey Robinson becomes a vice president of Motown Records.

Mary Wells appears on American Bandstand with Dick Clark

Martha & the Vandellas are nominated for “(Love Is Like) A Heatwave”, written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Edward Holland, Jr.

Medgar Evers, NAACP field secretary, is assassinated in Mississippi.

Led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., more than 125,000 people march for civil rights down Woodward Ave. in Detroit. King first delivers “I Have a Dream” speech, which is recorded on the Gordy label.

More than 250,000 people participate in the Freedom March on Washington, D.C., to hear Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and ten other civil rights leaders speak, which is also recorded on the Gordy label.

Stevie Wonder performs at the Olympia Music Hall in Paris, France for a two-week engagement.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, Fred Shuttlesworth and others are arrested in a Birmingham protest for “parading without a permit”.

The Beatles release the album Please Please Me.

The Coca-Cola Company debuts its first diet drink, TaB cola.

ZIP Codes are introduced in the U.S.

James Meredith becomes the first black person to graduate from the University of Mississippi.

John F. Kennedy assassinated in Dallas, Texas.