Sixties Essay Research Paper Many social changes

Sixties Essay, Research Paper

Many social changes that were addresses in the 1960s are still the issues

being confronted today. The ?60s was a decade of social and political

upheaval. Inspite of all the turmoil, there were some positive results: the

civil rights revolution, John F. Kennedy?s bold vision of a new frontier, and

the breathtaking advances in space, helped bring about progress and prosperity.

However, there was alot of negative effects: student and anti-war protest

movements, political assassinations, and ghetto riots excited American people

and resulted in lack of respect for authority and the law. The decade began

under the shadow of the cold war with the Soviet Union, which was aggravated by

the U-2 incident, the Berlin Wall, and the Cuban missile crisis. along with the

space race with the USSR. The decade ended under the shadow of the Vietnam war,

which deeply divided Americans and their allies and damaged the country?s

self-confidence and sense of purpose. Even if you weren?t alive in the ?60s,

you know what they meant when they said, ?tune in, turn on, drop out.? you

know why the nation celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.? birthday. All of the

social issues are reflected in today?s society: the civil rights movement, the

student movement, the sexual revolution, the environment, and more controversial

of all, Hippies. The sixties is also known for its rapid birth rate. Nearly 76

million children were born to this generation, and for that they are called the

?Baby Boomers.? Suprisingly, even though so many children were being born,

not many parents knew how to raise them. The parents of the 50s and 60s were so

concerned with the world around them that going to work was the only image

children had of their fathers. Kids didn?t understand why they worked so much

just to gain more material possessions. Children of this generation grew up

learning just about how to be free and happy. Most of the time, when thinking

back to the sixties, people remember hearing about things such as sex, drugs,

and racism. However, what the often tend to overlook is the large emphasis

freedoms had on the era. This does not just refer to the freedoms already

possessed by every American of the time. This focuses on the youth?s fight to

gain freedom or break away from the values and ideas left behind by the older

generation. These fights were used to help push for freedoms from areas such as

society?s rules and values, competition, living for others first, and the

older generation?s beliefs as a whole. Including the freedom to use drugs. The

younger generation just wanted a chance to express their own views rather than

having to constantly succumb to the views of the older generation. In order to

find these unique and different qualities in each other and themselves, the

younger generation turned to drugs. This was another freedom which they were

required to fight for since the older generation did not support drug use as a

source of pleasure and creativity. This could basically be considered an out

right rejection of the older society?s values. Drugs were also seen as a

freedom from reality. Then enable the youths to escape to a different kind of

world. Because of the youths? great desire to achieve a universal sense of

peace and harmony, drugs were sometimes a very important part of one?s life.

Sometimes, they would plan a day or evening around the use of a major drug so

they could enjoy it to the fullest extent. This could almost be considered

ironic in the sense that while trying to gain one freedom, the ability to use

drugs, the youths appeared to have lost another freedom, the ability to live

their own lives. It seems more as if their lives were controlled by the drugs

and the drugs? effects than by the people themselves. The combination of the

defiance, revolution, and drugs created a major hippie era. Thousands of hippies

would flock to the party capitals of the world for the high of a life time.

Haight Ashberry, San Francisco, was once considered hippie central for the

world. Here people would just line the streets with drug use, sex, and wild

music. In 1967, came the ?Summer of Love.? This period was not unlike the

previous acts of hippies, just more intense. And to top off the hippie era, one

of the largest concerts in the world took place in Woodstock, New York. During

several days of music, sex, and drugs were abused heavily, almost to the point

of complete stupor. But even though it may have seemed like Mayhem, it was one

of the greatest moments of the 60s. The monumentum of the previous decade?s

civil rights gains led by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. carried over into the

1960s. But for most blacks, the tangible results were minimal. Only a minuscule

percentage of black children actually attended integrated schools, and in the

south, ?jim crow? practices barred blacks from jobs and public places. New

Groups and goals were formed, new tactics devised, to push forward for full

equality. As often as not, white resistance resulted in violence. This violence

spilled across TV screens nationwide. The average, neutral American, after

seeing their TV screen, turned into a civil rights supporter. Black unity and

white support continued to grow. In 1962, with the first large-scale public

protest against racial discrimination, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Gave a

dramatic and inspirational speech in Washington, D.C. After a long march of

thousands to the capital. The possibility of riot and bloodshed was always

there, but the marchers took that responsibility of first-class citizens. When

King came to the end of his prepared text, he swept right into an exhibition of

impromptu oratory that was catching, dramatic, and inspirational. ?I have a

dream,? King cried out. The crowd began cheering, but King, never pausing,

brought silence as he continued, ?I have a dream that one day on the red hills

of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be

able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.? Everyone agreed the

march was a success and they wanted action now! But ?now!? remained a long

way off. President Kennedy was never able to mobilize sufficient support to pass

a civil rights bill with enough power over the opposition of segregationist

southern members of congress. But after his assassination, president Johnson,

drawing on the Kennedy legacy and on the press coverage of civil rights marches

and protests, succeeded where Kennedy had failed. However, by the summer of

1964, the black revolution had created its own crisis of disappointed

expectations. Rioting by urban blacks was to be a feature of every ?long, hot,

summer? of the mid-1960s. About this same time, the term, black power was

coming into use. It meant to infer long-submerged racial pride in Negroes.

Martin Luther King, Jr. specifically sought to rebut the evangelists of block

power. ?It is absolutely necessary for the Negro to gain power, but the term

black power is unfortunate, because it tends to give the impression of black

nationalism. We must never seek power exclusively for the Negro, but the sharing

of power with white people,? he said. Unfortunately, the thing that really

moved the civil rights movement along significantly was the murder of Rev.

Martin Luther King Jr. in late 1965. Rioting mobs in the Negro suburb of Watts

California, pillaged, burned and killed, while 500 policemen and 5000 nation

guardsmen struggled in vain to contain their fury. Hour after hour, the toll

mounted: 27 dead at the week?s end, nearly 600 injured, 1700 arrested, and

property damage well over $100 million. The 1960s could definitely be considered

the most controversial decade of this century. Hippies, racism, drugs, war, and

breaking every rule that had ever been set gave this time a very deserved place

in history


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