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Counter Culture -

By: Meg , Rose , Molly
Who they were
• During late 1960s a lot of younger people were dissatisfied with the war In
Vietnam and the way society in general was going. Because they espoused a lot of
seemingly radical ideas, like free love, tolerance and anit war attitudes, the media
deemed their views counterculture
• Flower Children- hippies, they created new styles of dress, experimented with
psychedelic drugs, lived communally and developed vibrant music scenes.
• Some formed commune to live as far outside the established as possible
• After Summer Of Love, it spread from san Francisco and Berkley to many US and
Canadian cities, as well as European capitals
• As members grew older and moderated their lives and views the counterculture
was largely absorbed by the mainstream
• Practiced acts like reusing trash and recycled materials to bid geodesic domes for
• Hippies were often vegetarian and believed in eco-friendly environmental
practices. They championed free love and sexual liberation, particularly for
women. They also promoted the use of psychedelic drugs which they believed
expanded their consciousness.
What is the Counter Culture?
• Counterculture of the 1960s was the anti-establishment
cultural phenomenon that developed first in US and UK
then spread throughout much of the western world
between the early 1960s and mid 1970s with London, NYC,
and San Francisco being the hot beds of early counter
culture activity
• A counter culture is a culture of a group of people,
particularly among the young, whose values and lifestyles
are considerably different and often diametrically opposed
to those established culture.
• Started because of general distrust of government,
practiced free love, mid altering us of psychedelic drugs
and localized notion of freedom
Where, When, and Why?
• 1960s – originate on college campuses
• 1964 – Free Speech Movement at University of California, Berkley. It
had its roots from the civil rights movement in the South
• It was mainly among young people
• It began with issues from the Vietnam war, and drafting and arose with
people talking about social issues around campus
• Social issues- the remain issues talked about were dress code, student
freedom, course requirements, and discriminations
• Students began non violet protests on campus such as sit ins and
taking over college buildings
• 1965- SDS started a nationwide protest against the draft
• Hippies- the main areas for hippies were Urban locations such as San
Francisco and East Village in New York
• 1969- Woodstock Festival, in New York was a “ three days of peace,
music, and love.” and was about 300,000- 400,000 to support love and
peace in the United States
• Hippies wanted peace and there nonviolent protests, festivals, and
organization were there way of expressing that to the world an making
Big music names in this era:
 Bob Dylan
 Grateful Dead
 The Doors
 Janis Joplin
 Jimi Hendrix
 The Who
Musical Influence
• During this era music “fearlessly” put drug references into their lyrics.
Since famous musicians decided to make this drug use public, more
people were being opened up to “safe” drug use.
• An entire new genre of music called “Acid rock” was formed.
Some examples –
• The Doors: “Break on Through”- alludes to the new insights gained from
drugs and the chemical stimulations in the brain they produce.
• Bob Dylan: “Subterranean Homesick Blues”- starts off with the lyrics
“Johnny’s in the basement mixing up the medicine”. Which is also a
reference to drugs and the making of them.
• “Rock bands such as The Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead, and The Who
not only sang of drugs but also became avowed users, frequently
celebrating the creative consequences of some elixir.”
• Jan 14th 1967 human be-in in San Francisco organized by Michael Bowen caught
the culture and media’s attention
• Drop art= painted rocks that were dropped off a loft roof and onto sidewalk by
John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg), Drop City= success, after visitors would take the
idea of communes and spread them
• As with film, press, and music, art in the 1960s responded to the new
counterculture, primarily in pop art and psychedelic art. For example, pop art
challenged traditional fine art by including imagery from popular culture such as
advertising, news, etc. The concept of pop art refers as much to the art itself as to
the attitudes that it led to, and Andy Warhol is often considered representative of
this type of art.
• Psychedelic art also emerged in response to the counterculture, and is defined as
any kind of visual artwork inspired by psychedelic experiences induced by drugs
such as LSD. During the 1960s, psychedelic visual arts were often a counterpart to
psychedelic rock music. This psychedelic art also represented the revolutionary
political, social and spiritual sentiments that were derived from these drug-
induced, psychedelic states of consciousness
Drug culture- “turn on, tune in, drop
• The counterculture movement included a lot of new
recreational drug use.
• LSD and marijuana were the two drugs that went major in this
era do to the want to “expand” one’s mind.
• The dangers of drugs were not known or as well known as
they are today. Scientists were trying to decipher if the use of
LSD could be beneficially and truly expand the minds’ of the
• At most festivals, including the Summer Of Love, ambulances
were readily available to the public since it was known that
everyone would be doing drugs.
The Summer of Love
• Known as the “Wild Hippie
party” included free food,
medical care,
entertainment, and
communal living.
• The Summer of Love took
place in San Francisco.
• Most of The Summer of
Love took place in Haight-
Ashbury section of the city.
• Sexual experimentation began as a
way to have fun and yet another
way to not meet the expectations
of society.
• The Counter Culture Movement
stressed the idea of free love for all.
• The Free-Sex Movement was the
introduction of the idea that
people could have sex with as many
people as they wanted
• Public nudity also became more
welcomed and popular.
• Society's rules were being bent.
• “People were beginning to regard sex
the same way they regarded
marijuana, if it's relaxing and
pleasant with no major side-effects,
why not?”
Critical reading questions
• The hippies were certainly no strangers to controversy; and, what got them into
the most trouble was their use of illegal drugs. Which "hippie" drug, however, was
perfectly legal until 1966?
• Most hippies loved to protest; and, the Vietnam war provided an ideal excuse to
complain loudly. On October 21, 1967 in Washington DC, what did close to 70,000
war protesters gather in an attempt to do?
• Rock music was most often the sound that accompanied the hippies when they
gathered or traveled. This music was new and exciting, influenced by rock and roll,
folk, country, and the blues. The hippie musicians also started to mix rock with
their ever expanding minds, and psychedelic rock was born! Which of these is
generally considered the first psychedelic band
• The hippies were usually aged between 14 and 26; the boys often grew their hair
long; and, many hippies walked around barefoot. What style is generally NOT
associated with them?
• The peace sign is a well known hippie symbol. It was designed in 1958 by British
artist Gerald Holtom. Originally, it was created for use by the Direct Action
Committee Against Nuclear War. The symbol was not copyrighted; so, it began to
appear all over the world. How did Gerald Holtom come to create his peace
symbol design?
• “Singleton, Carl.” The Sixties in America.” Pasadena, California: Salen,
1999. Print.
• Howard, Gerald. “the Sixties.” New York: Washington Square, 1982; Print.
• Dickstein, morris. “Gates of Eden: American Culture in the Sixties.” New
York, 1977. Print
• • Source: Boundless. “Art and Music.” Boundless U.S. History.
Boundless, 16 Sep. 2014. Retrieved 20 May. 2015 from