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‘My God! They’re Killing Us’ – 45 years ago today

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‘My God! They’re Killing Us’: Newsweek’s 1970

Coverage of the Kent State Shooting

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Ohio 1970 Kent State University

https://youtu.be/68g76j9VBvM

Kent State

U.S.
Newsweek’s May 18, 1970, cover. Newsweek archives

Kent State University, in the rolling green hills of northeastern Ohio, seems the very model of a modern, Middle American university. Until last year, the most vicious outbreak of violence there was a 1958 panty raid launched against two women’s dormitories, which resulted in the prompt dismissal of 29 students. Recently, the radical spirit had begun to drift over the 790-acre campus—but only a fraction of the school’s 19,000 students was affected. Antiwar rallies attracted no more than 300 people at best, and even the appearance of Jerry Rubin of the Chicago Seven drew only about 1,000.

Given the setting, the sudden volley of rifle fire from National Guard troops that killed four Kent State students and wounded 10 others last week echoed even more loudly than it might have at one of the capitals of campus protest such as Berkeley or Columbia. The bloody incident shocked and further divided a nation already riven by dissent over the war in Indochina. More than that, the shots fired at Kent State were taken by some as a warning that the U.S. might be edging toward the brink of warfare of sorts on the home front.

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The prologue to the tragedy was probably provided by Richard Nixon himself four years earlier when he announced the U.S. intervention in Cambodia. The next day, Kent State students held peaceful protests rallies on campus. Later, the combination of warm spring air and cold beer at local taverns in Kent, a leafy community of 29,000 not far from Akron, prompted some young people to pitch a few bottles at police cars. When members of the town’s 20-man police force returned to clear the area around midnight, the scene turned violent—and the night ended with the sound of shattering bank and store windows as a campus-bound mob of several hundred students rampaged through town.

ROTC

Police charged that among the rioters they had spotted two militants just released from jail after serving six months on charges stemming from disorders last year. The students denied this. And the following night, antiwar elements rallied again, later turning their wrath—and fire bombs—on the rickety 24-year-old ROTC building on the Kent campus. With the building in ruins and the townspeople in an angry uproar, a request was made by Mayor Leroy Satrom that Governor James Rhodes call in the National Guard. “If these anarchists get away with it here,” said a lifelong Kent resident, “no campus in the country is safe.”

The governor was eager to oblige. Having made campus disorder a key issue in his hard campaign for the U.S. Senate, Rhodes quickly ordered in men from the 107th Armored Cavalry Regiment and the 145th Infantry Battalion, declared martial law—and then showed up himself to set the tone in a public address. Attributing the violence to students “worse than the ‘brownshirt’ and the Communist element and also the night-riders in the vigilantes…the worst type of people that we harbor in America,” the governor pledged: “We are going to eradicate the problem…. It’s over within Ohio.”

Kent State Photo from the Kent State massacre, published in the May 18, 1970, issue of Newsweek. Newsweek archives

Orders

Off the podium, said a reliable source, Rhodes all but took personal command of the guardsmen. Without consulting top guard officials or the university administration, he reportedly ordered that all campus assemblies—peaceful or otherwise—be broken up and said the troops would remain on campus 12 months a year if necessary. “There was no discussion,” an insider informed Newsweek, “because it wouldn’t have done any good. The governor had made up his mind.”

The guardsmen were already tired and tense, having been brought in from five days on duty in the Cleveland area during the wildcat Teamsters strike. Though many were young and some were even Kent State students, most of the troopers seemed to share the antipathy to student protests characteristic of small-town Ohio. They got through Sunday with no serious incident. But with the start of classes on Monday, the scene was set for a fatal confrontation.

Despite Rhodes’s ban on rallies—or perhaps unaware of how all-embracing it was—antiwar students were gathering for a noon rally while hundreds of their less political schoolmates ambled from class to lunch. Five times a campus police official called for the students to disperse, but they ignored the directive and rang the iron “Victory Bell” usually sounded after football games. Finally, the guard began to move, fully loaded M-1 rifles at the ready, along with some “grease guns” (.45-caliber submachine guns) and .45 pistols. Barrages of tear gas from M-79 grenade launchers began to move the crowd of students up a knoll, at the top of which perched Taylor Hall, a modern, pillared building housing the College of Fine and Professional Arts, the Department of Architecture and the School of Journalism.

Hail

The eddying student mob pelted the guardsmen with rocks, chunks of concrete, the troopers’ own belching gas grenades and all the standard porcine epithets. From atop the knoll, known to trysters as “Blanket Hill” before the construction of Taylor Hall, a composite group of some 100 guardsmen from the 107th and 145th sent a smaller detachment of about 40 troopers down to clear the young people from a football field and parking lot. The hail of student-hurled rocks and cement continued. So did the guard’s gas barrage, until there were no gas grenades left. Several times, some of the troops were seen to kneel in what seemed to be firing positions, apparently to frighten off their attackers.

It was at this point, about 25 minutes after noon, as the smaller detachment marched back up to join the larger group, that guardsmen thought they heard a single shot. Almost instantly, there was a salvo from troopers on the knoll that lasted at least three seconds. No warning had been issued, and few students knew the guardsmen’s rifles were even loaded. ‘They’re firing blanks,” said one student to another, “otherwise they would be aiming into the air or at the ground.” And, indeed, some of the 16 or 17 guardsmen who fired about 35 rounds in all may have done just that; others, unbelievable as it seemed, had fired right into the crowd of students. The shrieks and moans that quickly filled the air foreshadowed the toll: four dead, 10 wounded, including a youth paralyzed from the waist down by a bullet in the spine. Ignoring cries for help, the guardsmen marched away.

Newsweek Photo from the Kent State massacre, published in the May 18, 1970, issue of Newsweek. Newsweek archives

Around Taylor Hall, the students, many with tears streaming down their cheeks, were horrified and enraged. “My God! My God! They’re killing us,” thought freshman Ron Steele of Buffalo. “I thought the soldiers had gone insane or it was some kind of accident.”

William Fitzgerald, a 29-year-old graduate student in history, felt it was no accident. “It was butchery,” cried Fitzgerald. And a correspondent for campus radio station WKSU told his editor, via walkie-talkie: “I’m coming back. I’m sick…disgusted.” Psychology professor Seymour Baron, who had persuaded guard Brigade General Robert Canterbury to have his men put up their weapons after the fusillade, now was arguing infuriated students out of trying to follow the troops across the Commons. “They’ll kill you,” he warned.

Not one of the four dead had been closer than 75 feet to the troops who had killed them—and there was not the slightest suggestion that they had been singled out as targets because of anything they had done. Indeed, all available evidence indicated that the four dead students were probably innocent bystanders.

  • Sandy Scheuer, 20, of Youngstown, Ohio, had been searching for a lost dog on campus only shortly before the shooting, and a friend said she was on her way to a speech-therapy class when she was hit. “Sandy must have thought it was over and stood up,” said Sharon Swanson. “I saw her lying there, hit in the neck.”
  • William Schroeder, 19, of Lorain, Ohio, an ROTC member, was watching “mainly because he was curious,” according to fellow psychology student Gene Pekarik.
  • Allison Krause, 19, of the Pittsburgh area, was walking with her boyfriend to a class when the firing began. “She had just stopped to look around and see what was happening,” said a fellow student.
  • Jeffrey Glenn Miller, 20, of Plainview, New York, who looked most like a radical, had carefully steered clear of the jumpy campus the night before and had told his mother by telephone: “Don’t worry, I’m not going to get hurt…. You know me, I won’t get that involved.” Miller’s connection with the militants with third-hand at best, judging by a mysterious note from a friend found later in his room. “I guess I missed you again,” it said. “My friends from Michigan are on their way here to start some trouble. I’ll look for you later.”

In the aftermath, Ohio guard brass obdurately defended the conduct of their men. They quickly whisked away the troops who had fired the fatal rounds and then tried to explain what had happened. First, they contended that the volley had not been ordered but that it was fired in response to a sniper’s bullet; the next day, they were forced to admit they had no real evidence of any such sniping. However, there was an unaccounted for bullet hole in a metal sculpture outside Taylor Hall that some felt was consistent with a sniper shot from a rooftop; and more mystery was added with reports that a bullet wound suffered by one victim, as well as some shell casings on campus, did not match the ammunition authorized for the guard.

Ultimately, guard commanders rested their case on what seemed an extraordinary Ohio National Guard regulation that permits each individual soldier to shoot when he feels his life is endangered. “I am satisfied that these troops felt that their lives were in danger,” said General Canterbury, 55, who was in charge of the troops. “I felt I could have been killed out there…. Considering the size of the rocks and the proximity of those throwing them, lives were in danger…. Hell, they were 3 feet behind us…. I do think, however, that under normal conditions, an officer would give the order to fire.”

Kent State Photo from the Kent State massacre, published in the May 18, 1970, issue of Newsweek. Newsweek archives

‘Bastards’

Some guardsmen on campus evidenced little if any regret over the killings. “It’s about time we showed the bastards who’s in charge,” said one. And many of the townspeople of Kent shared the same sentiment. “You can’t really help but kind of think they’ve been asking for it and finally got it,” said a motel clerk. What did the troops who did the actual firing think? “They didn’t go to Kent State to kill anyone,” cried the wife of one of the men who fired at the students. “I know he’d rather have stayed home and mowed the lawn. He told me so. He told me they didn’t fire those shots to scare the students off. He told me they fired those shots because they knew the students were coming after them, coming for their guns. People are calling my husband a murderer; my husband is not a murderer. He was afraid.”

Even granting the genuine fear felt by the guardsmen, disturbing questions persist about their behavior during the episode. The guard insisted that the men fired as they were about to be “overrun” by the students. But if the troops were so closely surrounded, how was it that nobody closer than 75 feet away was hit? And if the rocks and bricks presented such overwhelming danger, how did the troops avoid even one injury serious enough to require hospital treatment?

If the danger was not quite as great as first portrayed, why could not the detachment’s cadre of officers—a top-heavy group of four or five captains and Brigadier General Canterbury himself—keep the men under control. A 22-year-old drama student named James Minard charged that he saw an officer give the command to fire. “This lieutenant had his arm raised and carried a baton,” Minard said. “When the baton came down, they fired. I was apparently the only one who saw it; nobody believed me.” A well-connected guard source flatly told Newsweek‘s James Jones and Jon Lowell: “There had to be some kind of preliminary order.”

Spark?

Ohio’s Democratic Senator Stephen Young said in Washington that he had learned the firing was actually touched off by a nervous guardsman whose rifle went off when he was hit by a tear-gas canister or rock. Other observers wondered whether a student photographer, armed while on assignment for the university and the police, might have provided the spark—although an initial police check indicated his gun had not been fired.

As a spring rain washed the bloodstains from the campus, Kent State President Robert I. White ordered the university closed (for the rest of the quarter, it developed), and asked for a high-level investigation of the entire affair. After a visit by six Kent students, President Nixon announced that such an inquiry would be conducted by the Justice Department. The guard itself and the Ohio state police are also investigating the shootings. But even before the evidence was in, 1,000 Kent State faculty members rendered a verdict of their own. Prevented from meeting on the campus, they crowded into a nearby Akon Unitarian church and passed this resolution: “We hold the guardsmen, acting under orders and under severe psychological pressures, less responsible for the massacre than are Governor Rhodes and Adjutant General [Sylvester] Del Corso, whose inflammatory statements produced these pressures.”

‘Do More’

Beyond that there was little left but to bury the dead. In New York City, nearly 5,000 mourners joined the family of Jeffrey Miller at services addressed by Dr. Benjamin Spock, who declared that the Kent State killings “may do more to end the war in Vietnam than all the rest of us have been able to do.” There were smaller, simpler services for Allison Krause, but emotions ran just as high in her hometown. “I can’t blame 18-year-olds for not wanting to go to Cambodia and be killed,” said Krause’s mother. “Look, I had a daughter and now she is dead.”

Allison’s father was even angrier. “May her death be on [Nixon’s] back,” he snapped. His daughter, he said, “resented being called a bum because she disagreed with someone else’s opinion.” “Is dissent a crime?” he asked. “Is this such a reason for killing her? Have we come to such a state in this country that a young girl has to be shot because she disagrees deeply with the actions of her government?”

Sighed a neighbor: “You have no idea how this has brought the whole thing about the war and campus dissent home to this neighborhood…no idea at all. If someone like Allison is killed, my God….”

This story originally appeared in the May 18, 1970, issue of Newsweek with the headline “My God! They’re Killing Us.”

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The counterculture of the 1960s was marked by a growing distrust of government

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The counterculture of the 1960s was marked by a growing distrust of government

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The American Counterculture refers to the period between 1964-1972 when the norms of the 1950s were rejected by youth.
Key Points

◾Counterculture youth rejected the cultural standards of their parents, especially with respect to racial segregation, the Vietnam War, sexual mores, women’s rights, and materialism.

◾Hippies were the largest countercultural classification comprising mostly white members of the middle class.

The counterculture movement divided the country.

◾The movement died in the early 1970s because most of their goals had become mainstream, and because of rising economic troubles.
Terms

◾quash

To defeat forcibly.

◾stagflation

Inflation accompanied by stagnant growth, unemployment or recession.

◾counterculture

Any culture whose values and lifestyles are opposed to those of the established mainstream culture, especially to western culture.

A counterculture developed in the United States in late 1960s. This movement lasted from approximately 1964 to 1972, and it coincided with America’s involvement in Vietnam. A counterculture is the rejection of conventional social norms – in this case the norms of the 1950s . The counterculture youth rejected the cultural standards of their parents, specifically racial segregation and initial widespread support for the Vietnam War.

Woodstock Youth

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This photo was taken near the Woodstock Music Festival in August, 1969. The counterculture in the 1960s was characterized by young people breaking away from the traditional culture of the 1950s.

As the 1960s progressed, widespread tensions developed in American society that tended to flow along generational lines regarding the war in Vietnam , race relations, sexual mores, women’s rights, traditional modes of authority, and a materialist interpretation of the American Dream. White, middle class youth, who made up the bulk of the counterculture, had sufficient leisure time to turn their attention to social issues, thanks to widespread economic prosperity.

Vietnam War Protest

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The counterculture of the 1960s was marked by a growing distrust of government
, which included anti-war protests like this.
Unconventional appearance, music, drugs, communitarian experiments, and sexual liberation were hallmarks of the sixties counterculture, most of whose members were white, middle-class young Americans. Hippies became the largest countercultural group in the United States . The counterculture reached its peak in the 1967 “Summer of Love,” when thousands of young people flocked to the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. The counterculture lifestyle integrated many of the ideals and indulgences of the time: peace, love, harmony, music, and mysticism. Meditation, yoga, and psychedelic drugs were embraced as routes to expanding one’s consciousness.

The Peace Sign
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The peace sign became a major symbol of the counterculture of the 1960s.

Rejection of mainstream culture was best embodied in the new genres of psychedelic rock music, pop-art, and new explorations in spirituality. Musicians who exemplified this era include The Beatles, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, and Pink Floyd.

New forms of musical presentation also played a key role in spreading the counterculture, mainly large outdoor rock festivals. The climactic live statement of this occurred from August 15–18, 1969, with the Woodstock Music Festival held in Bethel, New York. During this festival, 32 of rock and psychedelic rock’s most popular acts performing live outdoors over the course of a weekend to an audience of half a million people.

Countercultural sentiments were expressed in song lyrics and popular sayings of the period, such as “do your own thing,” “turn on, tune in, drop out,” “whatever turns you on,” “eight miles high,” “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll,” and “light my fire. ” Spiritually, the counterculture included interest in astrology, the term “Age of Aquarius,” and knowing people’s signs.

The counterculture movement divided the country. To some Americans, these attributes reflected American ideals of free speech, equality, world peace, and the pursuit of happiness. To others, the counterculture movement reflected a self-indulgent, pointlessly rebellious, unpatriotic, and destructive assault on America’s traditional moral order.

In an effort to quash the movement, authorities banned the psychedelic drug LSD, restricted political gatherings, and tried to enforce bans on what they considered obscenity in books, music, theater, and other media. In the end, the counterculture collapsed on its own around 1973.

Two main reasons are cited for the collapse. First, the most popular of the movement’s political goals—civil rights, civil liberties, gender equality, environmentalism, and the end of the Vietnam War—were accomplished (to at least a significant degree), and its most popular social attributes, particularly a “live and let live” mentality in personal lifestyles (the “sexual revolution”)—were co-opted by mainstream society. Second, a decline of idealism and hedonism occured as many notable counterculture figures died and the rest settled into mainstream society and started their own families.

The “magic economy” of the 1960s gave way to the stagflation of the 1970s, the latter costing many middle-class Americans the luxury of being able to live outside conventional social institutions. The counterculture, however, continues to influence social movements, art, music, and society in general, and the post-1973 mainstream society has been in many ways a hybrid of the 1960s establishment and counterculture—seen as the best (or the worst) of both worlds.

“If You’re Going to San Francisco

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“If You’re Going to San Francisco

IF YOU ARE GOING TO SAN FRANCISCO
SCOTT MCKENZIE

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Counterculture of the 1960′
“If You’re Going to San Fransisco…Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.”

The Hippie Lifestyle
The period of the 1960’s was a time of rapid social change and immergence in the United States. A leftist and liberal philosophy within the society, coupled with the powerful anti-Vietnam War movement, made the 1960’s an extremely memorable era. Fueled by the urge to break away from the conservative mindsets of the ideal 1950’s family, the counterculture generation took a stand against such restricting factors. In doing so, the “hippie” culture took root and spread throughout the United States, mainly amongst the young, college students who were attracted to such a free lifestyle. Philosophies such as free love, communal living, and experimentation with various mind-altering drugs were trademark of the hippie lifestyle. Partaking in activities such as these separated the people from the previous churchgoing, family oriented decade and a powerful counterculture developed.

        “If it feels good, do it,” sums the entire attitude of the hippie generation. Each lived a carefree life in which they could express themselves to the fullest and carry on unrestricting customs that were never before seen in society. Constraint of the body as well as the mind was ruled non-cohesive in the beliefs of this new generation. The people wanted to be as free as possible and did so by expressing themselves in unlimited ways. The common characteristics of the hippie were long hair, second-hand, colorful clothing, flowers and beads as well as sandals or bare feet. Sexual experimentation thrived through the culture as free love and casual relations took the place of family values and strict Christian beliefs in a lifetime partnership. 

“The counterculture questioned sexual morality and proposed many different models: extended sexual families, sex orgies, sex-therapy groups, acceptance of homosexuality and, most of all, a positive, joyful celebration of sexuality, as opposed to the uptight morality of the previous generation,” (Miles 13).

The open and free sexuality brought about a huge shift in the culture of the United States. People of the counterculture no longer felt the harsh constrictions of society and they each experienced a strong feeling of liberation because of this. When birth control became readily available to the public, women were given more freedom in their sexuality and this fueled the philosophy of free love. Such freedom among the hippie community sparked questioning of sexual roles and demonstrated how the hippie culture was contributing largely to the change of customs in society.

        As contemporary personal values and beliefs flourished, people of these similar views tended to join together through communal living. Many hippies of the nation migrated to the West coast of the United States after they dropped out of college to express their freedom and beliefs in a nonrestrictive society.

“Searching for a place in which they could feel free to express their political views and creative spirit, many found themselves in California or New York. Most gravitated to a desolate part of San Francisco known as the Haight-Ashbury District. This neighborhood, close to San Francisco, State College, provided homes for many students,” (Hoy 2).

People of the counterculture found communal living beneficial to their personal needs as well as to their essential beliefs. When living with other people who possess the same views and methods of survival, the group generally tends to conflict with one another much less. When people find benefit in easier living, namely in communes, they are able to agree with the people around them, in turn creating a generally peaceful environment. One of the most popular hippie gatherings was in the Haight-Ashbury District in San Francisco, California. Sparked by the opening of a Psychedelic shop that sold books on drugs and oriental philosophy, flutes, beads, and other hippie paraphernalia. The youth of the counterculture were attracted to this and were quickly drawn to the area. The district provided places to live for the growing population of college dropouts and fed the culture that was driving the counterculture of the United States. There are numerous cases, however, in which when not controlled or peaceful, communes can be a negative thing. If not cautious, the commune could turn into a cult. One of the most famous “communes” of the era was under Charles Manson, a crazed murderer and essential madman. He is highly notorious for acts of sodomy, violent murder, rape, and robbery, among numerous other serious felonies (Miles 272). Manson’s cult is prime example of how communal living could be an evil institution. Although there are unfortunate cases such as this, for the most part, communal living was beneficial to the people within the institution and was a peaceful way of sharing the wealth of life.

        Along with free love and revolutionary philosophies, the drug culture was a main and important attribute to the new counterculture of the United States. It was not uncommon for hippies to have marijuana or LSD in their possession. Mind altering drugs were extremely popular amongst the youth culture because they were able to free their minds more effectively.

“While listening to this (psychedelic rock) some hippies smoked marijuana or took LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), a powerful drug that includes hallucinations,” (Hoy 2).

Getting high was the ultimate method for a hippie to release their minds and relieve any sort of impurity or stress in their life. Drugs were a lifestyle, providing income for the majority, usually just enough money for personal marijuana purchase and basic living costs. Rising celebrities, mainly on the rock scene front, such as Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles experimented in the drug culture. Hendrix dabbled heavily in LSD while the Beatles experimented with LSD as well and marijuana on occasion. Paul McCartney of the Beatles answers questions,

“’Do you think you have encouraged your fans to take drugs?’

‘I don’t think it will make any difference. You know, I don’t think it will make any difference. You know, I don’t think my fans are going to take drugs just because I did,’” (Miles 237).

The celebrities claim to not want to directly influence the fans into taking on the drug culture, but were rather experimenting with it for their personal curiosity or interest. Even though marijuana was technically illegal, it was only the rich and famous who were caught and penalized with scandal. This was mostly because the conservative remnants of society rejected the hippie lifestyle and its influence on society as a whole. Conservatives took action and turned events into scandals in order to downplay and discredit the hippie movement. Although drugs such as marijuana and LSD have been illegal, except for medicinal uses, before and during the 1960s, they were not uncommon in the slightest. Drugs were readily available to the common hippie of the 1960s and allowed them to free their mind and experience an alternate way of life.

        The hippie lifestyle matched that of any other new and different way of life, revolutionary and for the most part, popular. The 1960’s was a period in which college students “tune in, turn on, and drop out”, like psychedelic drug research advocate, Timothy Leary states. The revolutionists of the era expressed their New Leftist beliefs by expanding their sexual freedoms, living together in communes, and involving themselves in the powerful drug culture which would allow them to ideally live by their free beliefs. The hippie lifestyle was truly a side of society which effectively expressed and practiced their ways of life alongside the disapproving conservative America of the previous decade.

Express Your Inner Hippie;

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Express Your Inner Hippie;

Counterculture of the 1960’s

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Express Your Inner Hippie;

the Art, Fashion and Music of the 1960’s

The counterculture of the United States brought on a new sense and philosophy of life and along with this, different and new ways of expression. The counterculture youth of the nation utilized their first Amendment rights to their full advantage in terms of protest, music, literature and art. The freedom of expression was the main attribute to the carefree, hippie lifestyle. The youth expressed their beliefs through freedom of expression by dawning eccentric clothing, creating new artwork and literature, and expressing themselves through song.

With new ideas about life came new designs for clothing and trends in the 1960’s. Designers fashioned new clothing for the expanding hippie culture whom were attracted to the bright, psychedelic colors and patterns. The drug culture and massive quantities of LSD being consumed fed the appeal of such bizarre fashion. “‘With acid, there was an emergence of young people dressed to die for’ –Christopher Gibbs,” (Miles 255). Designers purposefully created patterns and colors that imitated an “acid trip”.

“The patterns, suitably enough, were created by the burning of acetate colored slides with acid…Colors and materials floated, crossed over into one another and seemed to expand and blur as the wearer danced,” (Miles 255).

People made statements with their outlandish attire and attitudes. The clothing was a way in which the youth could express themselves to the public as free individuals who had no regard for what people had to say about them or how they dressed. Some hippies did not feel the need for such expensive, outrageous clothing. Some were content with less expensive or home-made clothing.

“The 1960’s describes hippies wearing flowers in their hair, dressing in second-hand clothes from thrift and army surplus stores. They wore ponchos, bell-bottoms decorated with patches and embroidered tie-dye shirts, leather sandals, bright colors, and intricate patterns…Women wore men’s clothes and ‘granny dresses’ without bras because they found them too restricting,” (Hoy 1).

Some hippies did not feel the need to spend so much money on the highest and fashionable trends of the era. Instead, they kept their attire simple and used what money they made for essential living and most times drugs.

The fundamental origin of the 1960’s hippie culture was derived from the “Beat Generation” of the late 1950’s. Generally known as “Beatniks”, these people started to really experiment in the field of art, namely poetry.

“Beatniks frequently rejected middle-class American values, customs, and tastes in favor of radical politics and exotic jazz, art and literature,” (‘Beatnick’ 1).

The “New Beats” developed into the Hippie Generation in the 1960’s as the culture in popularity and exposure increased dramatically. Beatniks were struggling artists, trying to find new ways to express themselves and quickly found an outlet in poetry. Aside from new literature which fed the public alternate ways of life and philosophies, the psychedelic poster business took form and exploded onto the scene. Bold, fluorescent colors and intricate patterns were also reflected in the art of poster making. The fascination with such bizarre patterns and colors was apparent through both the clothing and the posters.

“1966 was the year that psychedelic posters really took off…The letters were often so distorted that they were very difficult to decipher-unless you were stoned. This made the posters and the events they were advertising more appealing,” (Miles 100).

People would design these posters such as fashion designers created clothes and outfits for the hippie generation to wear. People of the generation were highly attracted to them, just as much as they were attracted to the drug culture that was thriving in the nation. Andy Warhol, a famous artist of the era, designed album covers for bands as well as works of art. He is known for many works, among them the psychedelic four-frame portrait of Marylyn Monroe and the can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup. Busses that transported hippies to the West Coast, such as San Francisco, were painted with similar designs and plenty of bright colors. Bright colors and intricate patterns, as well as deep thought were methods of effective expression during the counterculture era.

Throughout the decades of the 20th century, each has had their own label in terms of musical revolution. For example, swing was popular in the 1920’s, jazz and blues through the next two and a half decades, and rock ‘n’ roll in the conservative 1950’s. The 1960’s era is known for the emergence of psychedelic rock, a genre which hippies listened to when high on drugs, believing they could reach a higher place. The “British Invasion” of bands from England contributed to the explosion of this new rock genre in the United States. “Then came the Beatles, followed rapidly by the Stones and a whole explosion of beat groups that transformed rock ‘n’ roll, if not overnight, then in a year or so,” (Miles 76). The Beatles were a crazed sensation in the United States; they gained a solid fan base in the country amongst the youth. Amongst the most popular groups were the individuals who spoke out against issues with their music. People such as Bob Dylan expressed his protest point of view through acoustic singing and song-writing. He soon became “an electrified spokesperson for a generation in 1965.” (Miles 50). Artists such as Dylan were able to express their views on current issues of the country because they had a right to do so, and because they wanted to be heard. Janis Joplin, a female artistic activist, both for anti-war protest and feminisms in this era because she was able to express herself through music, much like the rest of the counterculture in the United States. The new-wave genre of psychedelic rock took firm hold on the nation and grew more defined as its popularity expanded and the hippie generation found another effective way to freely express themselves.

With a completely worry and carefree lifestyle, the people of the Hippie generation and counterculture used their rights as citizens of the United States to their advantage. They could outright ridicule America’s involvement in the Vietnam War and make statements against the restrictive society that possessed the previous decade. Counterculture youth made statements with their fashion sense, their creative and appealing artwork and through their own voice, either through poetry and literature or song. It was never uncommon to see people of this generation dressing bizarrely, or even simply, painting the flowers and peace signs on the side of an old bus in neon colors, and never without a guitar or flute. Through each of these means, the hippie generation effectively defines their views and purpose, and in turn, positively share it with the rest of society.

Works Cited

“Beatnik.” RetroGalaxy.Com. 2007. Online. Internet. 06.06.07. Available:

http://www.retrogalaxy.com/culture/beatniks.asp

Hoy, Rosemary. “Flower Children Chose Alternative Lifestyle.” Borderlands.

Internet. 06.03.07.Available:

http://www.epcc.edu/nwlibrary/borderlands/14_flower_children.htm.

Miles, Barry. Hippy. New York. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc, 2003.

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The home page of musician, songwriter, blogger and photographer Kenny Wilson from Leicester U.K.

John Walters

thoughts on writing, travel, and literature

jsb: Getting Healthy

Holistic Wellness: Your Health, Your Life, Your Choice

Formentera Blues

Back to the island...

Revolutionary Musings

My everyday thoughts as they come to me

The Godly Chic Diaries

BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH

Allegra Sleep Fine Art

Taos, New Mexico

deep fotografie

deep fotografie

Be ▲rtist - Be ▲rt Magazine

GLOB▲L - M▲G▲ZINE

concretebologna

the world of art

Psychedelic Traveler

Your psychedelic travel guide around the globe

SherayxWeblog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Welcome To My World

A World Where Fantasies Are Real And Dreams Do Come True

PT Boat Red

The WWII US Navy career of my father, Red Stahley, PT boat radioman.

All Thoughts Work™ Outdoors 5

Hiking with snark in the beautiful Pacific Northwest 2014 - 2018

In the Zone

Photos, art, and a little bit of lit....

power of h Weblog

I wish I'd been born seven hours earlier

Paint Your Landscape

A Journey of Self-Discovery & Adventure

India Destinations

Exploring Best Indian Destinations for You

Before Sundown

remember what made you smile

Feuersteincomics

Comics und andere Werke des Künstlers Denis Feuerstein

rahulkumar961

Bit of this, bit of that

Rants, Raves and Random Thoughts

Diary of a Shipwrecked Alien

papergong

Music In The Key Of See

THE RUSTY PROJECT

Fe2O3.nH2O photographs

-GET YESTERDAY’S NEWS TODAY-

Jon Wilson’s 1920’s and 1930’s - a unique time in our history.

rabirius

photography and other things

Bohemian Butterfly

Beautiful gardens, garden art and outdoor living spaces

Art by Ken

The works and artistic visions of Ken Knieling.

Canadian Art Junkie

Visual Arts from Canada & Around the World

andrei plimbarici

Calatorind Descoperi

Edward R. Myers Photography

Captured moments of life as I see it

Kathy Waller

~ Telling the Truth, Mainly

TrappersWildWest

Historian. Artist. Gunmaker.

On The Road Again 2018

Touring the USA on a Moto Guzzi Breva 750.

Cavalcade of Awesome

All Pax. All Nude. All the Time.

phototexas

Welcome to My World......

johncoyote

Poetry, story and real life. Once soldier, busnessman, grandfather and Poet.

Gypsy Road Trip

Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

All Thoughts Work™ Outdoors

Hiking with snark in the beautiful Pacific Northwest 2011 - 2013

膜龍工坊

光華商場筆電,手機,翻譯機,遊戲機...等3C產品包膜專門店

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