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The Water's Edge » The Twenty Best Vietnam Protest Songs

(Courtesy Reuters) Sunday marks fifty years since the first U.S. combat troops arrived in South Vietnam. To mark the anniversary of the war that changed America, I am doing a series of posts on the best histories, memoirs, movies, and novels about Vietnam. Today’s topic is protest songs. Much as poetry provides a window into the Allied mood during World War I, anti-war songs provide a window into the mood of the 1960s. Bob Dylan, “Blowin’ in the Wind” (1963). Phil Ochs, “What Are You Fighting For” (1963). Barry McGuire, “Eve of Destruction” (1965). Phil Ochs, I Ain’t Marching Anymore (1965).

Tom Paxton, “Lyndon Told the Nation” (1965). Pete Seeger, “Bring ‘em Home” (1966). Arlo Guthrie, “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” (1967). Flower Power. Make love, not war.

Flower Power

Don't trust anyone over 30. Turn on, tune in, and drop out. I am a human being — please do not fold, bend spindle, or mutilate. These and many more became slogans for emerging youth culture — a counterculture — in the 1960s. The baby boom was entering its teen years, and in sheer numbers they represented a larger force than any prior generation in the history of the United States. The Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco gave rise to many of the popular rock groups of the era, including Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead.

Never more than a minority movement, the so-called "hippie" lifestyle became synonymous with American youth of the 1960s. The sexual revolution was in full swing on American college campuses. In addition to changes in sexual attitudes, many youths experimented with drugs. Like the utopian societies of the 1840s, over 2000 rural communes formed during these turbulent times. The common bond among many youths of the time was music. Dr. Vietnam Protest Movement. When the Vietnam War started only a small percentage of the American population opposed the war.

Vietnam Protest Movement

Those who initially objected to the involvement in Vietnam fell into three broad categories: people with left-wing political opinions who wanted an NLF victory; pacifists who opposed all wars; and liberals who believed that the best way of stopping the spread of communism was by encouraging democratic, rather than authoritarian governments. The first march to Washington against the war took place in December, 1964. Only 25,000 people took part but it was still the largest anti-war demonstration in American history. As the war continued, more and more Americans turned against it. People were particularly upset by the use of chemical weapons such as napalm and agent orange. In November, 1965, Norman Morrison, a Quaker from Baltimore, followed the example of the Buddhist monk, Thich Quang Due, and publically burnt himself to death.

President Lyndon B. 5. Anti-Vietnam War Movement. Dana Mejías Teacher San Diego, CA /upload/Mejias.jpg I am a middle school teacher in San Diego and was fortunate enough to attend a SHEG workshop in...

5. Anti-Vietnam War Movement

Mark Helman teacher Taichung, Taiwan /upload/webform/mark_helman.jpg A huge thank you to the Stanford History Education Group! Loi Laing Miami, FL /upload/webform/Loi%20Lang%20testimonial.jpeg I can't recall how or when I stumbled upon Reading Like a Historian, but it was a... Nicole Ritter Fort Mill, SC /upload/webform/testimonial_ritter.jpg. The Sixties and Protest Music.