The Hippie Culture
Many generations have come and gone, and many have made an impact on American life. The Sixties were definitely one of those generations that left its mark in history. The people of this generation didn't follow the teachings of its elders, but rejected them for an alternative culture, which was their very own (Harris 14). This new subculture was such a radical society that it was given it's own name which is still used to this day. They came to be known as, the Hippies.
The Hippie movement originated in San Francisco, California and spread across the United States, through Canada, and into parts of Europe (World Book), but the Hippie movement had its greatest influence in America. During the 1960's a radical subculture labeled as Hippies stunned America with their alternative lifestyle and radical beliefs. All Hippies were young, from the ages of 15 to 25(Worldbook). The young hippies split from their families for various reasons. Some rejected the idealistic views of their parents', some just wanted to free themselves from society's current norms, and others were simply outcasts, who could only fit in with the Hippie population. Most Hippies came from wealthy middle class families. Some people would say that these youngsters were spoiled and throwing their lives away, but to the Hippies this was the way of life and no one was going to tell them different. Hippies came from all over with various backgrounds to congregate in San Francisco on the corner of Haight Street and Ashbury Street, where the world got its first glimpse of this peculiar sub group. This corner which lies in the very center of San Francisco came to be known as the Haight Ashbury District.
There was a tour bus that ran through the Haight- Ashbury District area in San Francisco called the Gray Line. The tours promotional brochure contained the statement: "The only foreign tour within the continental limits of the United States" (Stern 147). The Hippies were so different that the significant people in the city didn't like the idea of a large hippie community growing in their city. In the years of 1965 and 1966 the Hippies took over the Haight Ashbury district (Cavan 49). There they lived and spread their psychedelic theme through out the whole area. In the Haight Ashbury district there were two parks where the hippies would hang out, Golden Gate Park and Buena Vista Park. The more famous of the two parks was the Golden Gate Park (Cavan 43). The single most important event that put the Hippies on the map was held at the Golden Gate Park. It was called the Trips Festival. The Trips Festival was a weeklong festival designed to celebrate the LSD experience (Stern 148). LSD was said to be an intellectual tool to explore psychic inner space,' a new source of kicks for thrill seekers, the sacramental substance of a far-out mystical movement or the latest and most frightening addiction to the list of mind drugs now available in the pill society being fashioned by pharmacology (Clark 59). Besides this festival dozens of other events took place at Golden Gate Park, some of which were free concerts by The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane and Anti-War rallies held by Hippie political leaders. The other park is called the Buena Vista Park and is known for housing hippies at night and for socializing during the day. As the 1960's progressed, the youth in America united. "In 1969, 400,000 young people materialized for three dizzying days to listen to rock and blues music, to wear funny clothing or no clothes at all, to talk, sing, dance, clap hands, to drink beer or smoke pot and make love-but mostly to marvel again and again that they were all there together" (This Fabulous Century 64). This festival was held in a small town in up state New York and came to be called Woodstock, named after the town it was held in. One of the basic foundations of the Hippie movement was the excessive use of illegal drugs. The...
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