Hippies and the 1960's in the United States
In the 1960's, a movement called the Hippies counter culture movement came into being in the United States. The main belief of those who adopted a different type of lifestyle during this period was that life was all about being happy. Happiness was all that mattered. They had no thought for the consequences of how they lived. They were in rebellion against their parents' way of life. However, their parents had given them a very good way of life. Hippies called government 'Big Brother' and the 'Establishment.' They had no respect for life as it was in the U. S.
Many of these hippies became vegetarians, wanted to save the environment, started using dangerous mind-altering drugs and wanted to be free of previous normal rules of behavior. They opposed violence and cried out for peace so they wanted the U. S. to withdraw from the Vietnam War. Many chose to live in communes. A commune is a living situation where all members share in the work and food and living conditions.
To show they were different, hippies adopted a different manner of dress. They wore whatever would distinguish them from what normal people wore. They wore tie-dyed clothing, beads and ragged clothes. Sometimes they wore no shoes or just sandals. Usually they bought their clothes at flea markets or second-hand stores. They were rebelling against free enterprise businesses. Men wore long beards. Women didn't wear makeup.
The term 'hippie' comes from a man called Harry Gibson who wrote a song in 1940 called Harry the Hipster. In his song, the word hipsters was another name for beatniks, followers of the Beat Generation literary movement in New York City's Greenwich Village. In their writings, they talked about being against everything that the current culture stood for. The term, 'hippie' first was seen in writing in an article written on September 5, 1965, by San Francisco newspaper reporter Michael Fallon.
By June of 1966, a section of San Francisco, California, called Haight-Ashbury, became a center of the hippie movement. About 15,000 hippies had moved there. They were mainly writers, artists, musicians and beatniks. A theater group called the Diggers wanted to provide a different or alternative society. They opened a store which gave away free food which was sometimes stolen by them, and free drugs. They held music and art events.
On January 14, 1967, a Be-In event was held in Golden State Park in San Francisco. This event had huge media coverage around the country and made the hippie culture even more popular. Thirty-thousand hippies attended. Drugs were put in sandwiches handed out at the event and the attendees sang and danced. A song called San Francisco urged visitors to wear flowers in their hair if they visited the city. Hippies also came to be called 'flower children.'
By the end of the summer of 1967, many of the hippies moved on from Haight-Ashbury because the area had become full of crime and problems. The movement went eastward. More normal teens adopted the manner of dress of the hippies and other fashion trends, but not necessarily the lifestyle. Many violent and unlawful activities began to occur within the hippie movement. By 1970, the hippie culture's influence began to decline.
The hippie movement affected society in many ways, through changes in music, literature, the arts and fashion. However, many people believe that this hippie movement began a lowering of morals and values in the country.
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