The Impact Of The Hippie Counterculture Hippies And The Civil Rights Movement

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The decade of the 1960's is well known for being a period of vast change in the United States. The Civil Rights Movement was in full swing and had the U.S. on its heels. Inspired by the Civil Rights Movement and the spirit of the times, student activism became prevalent across the nation. A second wave of Women's Rights also arose during this decade and adopted tactics similar to that of the Civil Rights Movement. Another well-organized group that rose to prominence during the 1960's was the Black Power Movement, which differed from the Civil Rights Movement in many ways, but was also concerned with the Black struggles. All of these movements changed the landscape of U.S. politics and society. However, one can argue that the hippie counterculture …show more content…
Hippies were aware of the political turmoil the country was in. They sympathized with other movements which aimed to improve the human conditions for all individuals in the U.S. and promoted equality as well as equity. The hippie movement opposed the Vietnam war, but not because they were antiwar activists. Although some may have been antiwar sentiments, most hippies believed that going to fight in Vietnam or otherwise aiding the war in Vietnam meant one had succumbed to the "Establishment." This was contrary to their belief of rejecting everything that was pertinent to dominant U.S. society, politics or otherwise. Despite these beliefs, hippies were apolitical. It seems unusual that a group so visible to all of society could be apolitical or lack any real positions on important matters. While working for Look Magazine, William Hedgepeth joined the hippie movement in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco in order to understand first-hand what the movement was all about. Hedgepeth found that many things meant nothing to the hippies of the Haight-Ashbury district. This was characterized by an encounter with a fellow tenant. After asking for the time, Hedgepeth was met with the following response: "Naw, man, we never know what time it is." Clearly, some hippies were so intent in rejecting the "establishment" that they even ignored time. Furthermore, Hedgepeth found that the hippie movement valued individualism. Each hippie wants to "do this thing" and they preach that "you don't try to force your 'thing' on anyone else."

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