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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.

Norman Whitfield begins producing the Temptations.

Motown grosses $20 million.

Gladys Knight and the Pips, Tammi Terrell, and the Isley Brothers sign with Motown.

Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson sign with Motown as staff writers.

Motown purchases four additional properties.

Motown purchases another studio Golden World Records (Studio B) and acquired Edwin Starr in that acquisition.

Science fiction serial “Star Trek” premieres.

Miniskirts come into fashion; color television becomes popular.

Bill Cosby wins Emmy award as best actor for the television series “I Spy.”

Robert C. Weaver becomes the first African American Cabinet member, by being appointed United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

In an interview published in The London Evening Standard, John Lennon comments “We’re more popular than Jesus now,” eventually sparking a controversy in the United States.

U.S. troops in Vietnam total 250,000.

Martin Luther King, Jr. makes his first public speech on the Vietnam War, in New York City.

The National Organization for Women (NOW) is founded in Washington, DC.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Freedom of Information Act, which goes into effect the following year.

Race riots occur in Lansing, Michigan and Cleveland, Ohio.

Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton found the Black Panther Party.