The 60's Not so Rockin'

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The 1960s was a time of optimism and rebellion, but not for everyone. I interviewed my Grandparents Roberta (Copeland) Bradley and James Bradley, in order to see the 60s from both a man’s and a woman’s perspective. Before conducting the interview, I didn’t know much about the 1960s, I knew the bold points like civil rights, Cuban missile crisis, feminine movement and Vietnam. I learned most of my information through reading the chapters of my history book. Reading the textbook helped me know the background information on which I would be asking the questions, also have a timeline of the events in mind while conducting the interview. However, I did watch videos on Historychannel.com and PBS.org to see if I could find more in depth information. My grandparents both lived in Texas in small towns away from the hustle and bustle of the larger cities. In 1960, my grandmother lived in Odessa, Texas. She was a 26 year old farmer’s daughter. She was sadly widowed in 1958 and moved back home with her family. She is the middle child of seven children, the only one not to attend college due to her early marriage. Being a member of a poor farm family, my grandmother had two jobs. One was working at a pie shop making pies, and the other was working at a rag house cutting old clothing to make rags. The rag house is where she personally encountered racism towards blacks. The mistreatment of the black women in the rag house was seen to be acceptable in the eyes of the other white women, but to her it was not. She was raised and learned not to differentiate people based on their color. It opened her eyes to a whole new beginning. Being the feminine movement was in its second wave; my grandmother took advantage of being single. She took advantage of not being a stay at home mom, being allowed to have sexual relations without the worry of pregnancy. Oral Contraceptives (birth control) was one major step for a women’s reproductive freedom. Since she lived in a small town, the abandoned barns were turned into a place to dance, drink, and experiment. Alcohol, marijuana, and LSD were amongst the many things people were experimenting with. This is the time when people began to question religion and spirituality. Although she did join the revolt of “organized authority” She did in fact question her faith. In ’64 she wanted a fresh look on life, so she took a job at a high school in El Paso, Texas. New town meant new opportunities and a new love.

My grandfather was a 31 year old veteran (wwII) who lived in Rakin, Texas. He was raised on a farm but considered his family “middle class” because his family had farm hands and a maid. Being that the families help was black he grew up with the black children of the maid; he saw the person not a color. He was taught to judge a man on his work ethics not his race. He had always seen blacks as equals, but it wasn’t until his dearest friend was hung from a tree in his family’s drive that he really understood racism. He went to the University of Houston on a football scholarship; sadly after two years, he was kicked out for not focusing enough on school work instead of football. He then started working as a janitor for the local high school. Although still young and single, his life was pretty routine, parties, drinking, and drugs didn’t have any effect on him. Money was always an issue, he didn’t get the chance to enjoy thing because he was always broke. He wanted a better lifestyle more than just middle class. In 1964, he was hired by a company called El Paso Natural Gas, which entitled him to move. It gave him hope that things would be different, and they were because, that’s where he met my grandmother.

My question is; did men and women of the ‘60s see things differently? My interview concluded my thoughts. The Cuban missile crisis was an act to prevent another world war, an act of “quarantine” to see if the Soviet Union would back down, but when I asked my grandparents I received a different take...
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