It was the year when the very fabric of American society appeared to be tearing apart as two towering figures, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert Kennedy, were assassinated at the peak of the civil rights movement in 1968.
The war in Vietnam was costing thousands of young lives and anti-war protests were erupting in the streets.
David Margolick is author of The Promise and the Dream, which looks into the intertwined fates of King and Kennedy.
"American attitudes towards government, toward the credibility of its leaders, all of that changed in 1968 and I think we are still paying the price for it," he told Inside Edition.
Dr. King was shot dead on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis 50 years ago Wednesday.
That night Robert Kennedy, who was running for president, made a dramatic appeal for calm to a predominantly African-American audience saying, "I had a member of my family killed and he was killed by a white man."
“It was an extraordinary thing because he never spoke about his brother's murder publicly. It was first time he had ever done that,” Margolick told Inside Edition.
Six weeks later, Kennedy himself was gunned down, another victim of a turbulent year that shook America.
“These were the two most hopeful figures in America in that era and when they were both killed, I think there was an element of despair that set in from which the country has never recovered,” the author said.
1968 was also a year that changed American pop culture as Hollywood explored groundbreaking themes in movies like The Graduate.
That summer, the Olympics were held in Mexico City and the iconic image of U.S. track stars Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood at the medal podium with black leather gloves and their fists in the air to call attention to social injustices in the country.