In 1955, When Longest Serving Rep. Dingell Took Office...

PHOTO: Rosa Parks seated toward the front of the bus, Montgomery, Alabama, 1956.
Underwood Archives/Getty Images

Rep. Dingell is soon set to break record: longest serving member of Congress. With 29 terms under his belt and 57 years, five months and 26 days in office, Dingell has had a first-hand view of history as it happened. Here are some of the historical events he has seen--and sometimes, helped shape--since the year he was elected, 1955.

There Were Only 48 States

The American flag only had 48 stars in 1955 because neither Alaska nor Hawaii were states in the union. In Congress, Dingell voted on both the Alaska Statehood Act in 1958 and the Hawaii Admission Act in 1959 to allow both to become a part of the United States.

Gas Cost 25 Cents Per Gallon

A gallon of milk was about 90 cents A McDonald's hamburger costs about 15 cents. Perspective can be found knowing that the minimum wage was 75 cents per hour.

Population Growth

The U.S. population has roughly doubled since 1955, when it was at 166 million. Today it is more than 300 million. Even more dramatically, the world population has almost tripled, going from 2.8 billion to more than 7 billion.

Rosa Parks Refuses to Give Up Seat

After a hard winter day of work in 1955, Parks got on a bus and refused to move from her seat when the driver re-designated it a "white section." Her famous stubbornness eventually snowballed into the Montgomery Bus Boycott and became the catalyst and symbol for the Civil Rights Movement. John Dingell eventually voted 'yes' for the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Presidents in Office

It has been said that Dingell has met more U.S. presidents than the queen of England. After 29 terms in Congress, he has been in office during the administrations 10 presidents: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama. When he first entered Congress, John F. Kennedy was still a Senator.

Emergence of Technology

The year Dingell entered Congress was the year both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were born. It was two years before the first satellite, Sputnik, and 14 years before the landing on the moon. Ten years after he took office, the microwave oven just started to become a common household appliance.

United States Military Conflicts

Since 1955, the U.S has engaged in seven major military events including Vietnam, U.S. invasion of Grenada, U.S. Invasion of Panama, Persian Gulf War, Intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Invasion of Afghanistan and the Invasion of Iraq.

His Wife Was 1 Year Old

Dingell was only 29 when he first replaced his father—who had passed away—in a special election to become a Michigan congressman. His current wife, Deborah, was a mere 1 year old when he was first elected. Twenty six years later, at the age of 55, he married her and they have been together for 32 years.

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