1960 1970 Essay

1359 words - 5 pages


During the 1960s the United States was going through a lot of social changes. One of the major trends was the widespread use of illicit drugs. The most common drugs used were hallucinogens, marijuana and LSD. Two men, Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey, were known as "the so-called acid gurus" of the sixties. They helped gain the recognition of LSD seemingly overnight. Leary and Kesey made very public exploitations and wrote many books to explain and vilify this phenomenon. It all happened so suddenly and soon after young men were wearing long hair and growing beards and the women dressed like peasants and wearing psychedelic colors. All of them dirty, drugged and carefree. They were known as hippies. Being a hippie was the primary trend of the sixties but to elders it was frightening and mystifying. Rock music became the most important way to unite the new hippie aesthetic. Brilliant colors and hallucinogenic imagery emerged from the music and was called psychedelic. Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane among others were the first bands to jump into the psychedelic bandwagon in the sixties. In 1969, Woodstock, a music festival full of peace and happiness united over 450,000 people, causing numerous problems for the crowd.

In 1960, John F. Kennedy was elected president. But Kennedy’s term came to a short and devastating end. On November 22, 1963 President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas and Lyndon Johnson took over. During the sixties the Vietnam War was escalating and was the focus of many of the major protests. On January 30, 1968, "the North Vietnam army overran Saigon, making a daring predawn attack on the United States Embassy". There were more than 57,000 U.S soldiers killed in the Vietnam War. The Civil Rights Movement was another great catalyst for social protest in the sixties. The goal was to promote racial justice and equality in America. The progress was slow but there were many great men to fight for the rights of every American. The most influential leader known is Dr. Martin Luther King. He and his followers called the attention of discrimination against minorities by organizing rallies, strikes, and marches. He convinced President Kennedy and later President Johnson to put legislation and discrimination to an end. King was sadly assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968 while setting up a garbage worker's strike. But King’s strength and determination influenced other well-known activists such as Malcolm X, Leroi Jones and Stokely Carmichael.

In a more peaceful battle during the Cold War, the Space Race was started during the 60’s. President Kennedy made the bold statement that the U.S. would put a man on the moon before the end of the decade. In 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American in space. In 1963, John Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth. President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, but in 1969 the President Kennedy’s promise was kept as Apollo...

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