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AMST 3100 The 1960s The Counterculture


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Title: AMST 3100 The 1960s The Counterculture

AMST 3100 The 1960s The Counterculture
The War at Home
  • The rise of the counterculture reflected a loss
    of faith in the liberal reforms promoted by John
    Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.
  • As faith and idealism toward liberal reforms
    declined, radicalism grew among specific elements
    of American society. Many of these late 1960s
    radicals came from the frustrated civil rights
    advocates, frustrated war protestors, college
    students, Hispanic youth, feminists, gays, and
    youth culture in general.
  • Radicals believed that the system itself was too
    corrupt for the changes needed and it was time to
    tear it down and rebuilt it into a more
    democratic, inclusive (multicultural),
    peace-oriented, and egalitarian system.

Street riot by members of the counterculture in
Berkeley, California. By the late 1960s, the
counterculture had shifted away from liberal
democratic reforms and toward radicalism.
Blacks From Civil Rights to Black Power
  • By the mid-1960s, SNCC had split apart from the
  • The SCLC remained a liberal reform movement with
    the basic goal of racial assimilation.
  • At first, the SCLC envisioned SNCC as their own
    youth group spin-off, but by 1964 SNCC did not
    agree with this characterization.
  • SNCC, led by increasingly radicalized people like
    Stokely Carmichael in 1966, began to reject the
    American Dream of assimilation to advocate a more
    rapid and radical change toward black
  • SNCC had become more skeptical toward the system.
    It had tackled racism in the Deep South and had
    seen federal agents passively watch SNCC members
    be brutalized by Southern racists.

Stokeley Carmichael addresses a SNCC rally in
Florida in 1967. The theme of SNCC rallies during
this period was black power. Black power
advocates rejected the melting pot version of the
American Dream, favoring a pluralistic vision of
multi-ethnic equality. Rather than deny their
African-ness they sought to affirm it Im
black and Im proud! However, the black power
movement frightened many whites because it came
across as militant.
Rising SNCC Radicalism
  • The beginning of the split between the SCLC and
    SNCC probably occurred during the famous 1963
    March on Washington where King gave his I Have a
    Dream speech.
  • John Lewis, the leader of SNCC at that time, had
    written a speech that was critical of the federal
    government. Lewiss script asked the question,
    Which side is the federal government on? That
    sentence and other critical commentary was
    censored by organizers of the March to avoid
    offending the JFK administration.
  • Lewis and others had become frustrated at the
    passivity of the Kennedy administration.
  • Then they went through Freedom Summer and
    proffered the MFDP at the 1964 Democratic
    Convention, only to be insulted by a gesture of
    2 token seats. Now it was LBJ who frustrated
    SNCC, and SNCC stormed out. The system itself was
    broken, they concluded.

John Lewis in the foreground, with King and
Andrew Young in the background. This photo was
taken during the Selma March of 1965.
James Meredith
  • SNCC would continue to see a lack of sincere
    action on the part of the political system. The
    problem wasnt just the Dixiecrats, they
    concluded. It was the system itself, with its
    entrenched backstage power brokers who were too
    friendly to the status quo.
  • On June 5, 1966, James Meredith started a solo
    march from Memphis to Jackson, Mississippi to
    protest racism. His march was called the March
    Against Fear. Meredith was gunned down by a
    sniper soon after starting this march.
  • This event helped galvanize rising black
    frustration at the system. Stokely Carmichael of
    SNCC vowed to continue the march in Merediths

When civil rights advocates like Stokeley
Carmichael heard Meredith was shot while on his
solo march, they formed a massive new march
against fear and completed Merediths march to
Black Power!
  • The March Against Fear continued. On June 16,
    1966 Stokely Carmichael arrived with other
    marchers at Greenwood, Mississippi and was
    promptly arrested for trespassing when they tried
    to set up camp. Here, Carmichael delivered a
    speech in which he said,
  • "This is the twenty-seventh time I have been
    arrested and I ain't going to jail no more! The
    only way we gonna stop them white men from
    whuppin' us is to take over. What we gonna start
    sayin' now is Black Power!"

Stokeley Carmichael calls for Black Power in
Malcolm X
  • The father of the Black Power movement was
    probably Malcolm X. He was a charismatic and
    influential leader within the Nation of Islam who
    had already become radicalized by the time of the
    1963 March on Washington.
  • He was a strong advocate of militant
    self-defense, and the FBI had been watching him
    for quite a while.
  • While he mostly adhered to the Nation of Islam
    (Black Muslim) teachings, Malcolm X also broke
    from these teachings to embrace black
  • One of his ideological struggles was between
    black separatism (from all other races) versus a
    racially integrated black Muslim movement. He was
    intelligent and ultimately learned to think for
    himself and not rely on ideological dogma to do
    his thinking for him. This probably cost him his
    life, because he was murdered in February, 1965,
    by members of the Nation of Islam for not being
    true to Nation of Islam dogma.

Malcolm X, on the right, with Martin Luther King,
Jr. Both were charismatic leaders. Malcolm X
rejected the assimilation melting pot ideal that
King had seemed to champion in the early 1960s,
preferring a more pluralistic vision of America.
Black Power!
  • The Black Power movement was a rejection of the
    liberal reformist assimilation ideal promoted by
    Martin Luther King, Jr.. They argued that
    assimilation robs black people of their own
    identity and heritage.
  • Rather, Black Power advocates sought racial
    separation in order to preserve their unique
    African-American identities, which had been
    robbed by the European colonialists and American
    slave traders of the past.
  • This movement was a celebration of black
    nationalism (or black identity), complete with
    their own black-run institutions. They argued
    that blacks had to learn to be self-sufficient
    and to fight oppression on their own terms. This
    included organizing community self-help groups in
    the inner cities, as well as an assertion that
    Black is Beautiful, a rediscovery of African
    names, and a celebration of Black culture.

The Black Panthers were one of the outcomes of
the Black Power movement. Formed in 1966, they
advocated a militant defense of their right to
determine their own destiny. But the military
uniforms and open display of weapons made them a
target of J. Edgar Hoover and others who were
frightened they might start a race war.
Black Power!
  • Black power advocates also rejected the
    nonviolent approach of Dr. King, favoring
    violence if used for self-defense.
  • The peace and love thing that King advocated
    was over for most Black Power advocates. It was a
    time for a new militancy - to stand up and say
    Im black and Im proud.
  • This new militancy was particularly aimed at the
    police, who patrolled ghettos like Watts in Los
    Angeles as though they were an occupying colonial
    army. It was time to fight internal colonization.
  • This was not a complete rejection of nonviolence.
    To black power advocates, however, nonviolence
    was a strategy whereas to Martin Luther King, Jr.
    it was a principle.
  • To Stokely Carmichael, blacks needed to unite in
    solidarity, develop a class consciousness, and
    become self-reliant.

The Black Panthers
  • The Black Panther Party (BPP) was formed in
    October, 1966 by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, and
    was the inner city expression of the Black Power
  • It was originally called the Black Panther Party
    for Self-Defense, and was founded in Oakland
  • The Party embraced the basic ideals of the black
    power movement. Essentially it was an expression
    of this movement by poor young blacks who were
    frustrated at the failure of the War on Poverty
    and other reforms of the establishment to make a
    real difference in the ghetto.
  • The Black Panthers developed a Ten-Point program
    calling for Land, Bread, Housing, Education,
    Clothing, Justice And Peace, among other things.
    They instituted a variety of community action
    programs to alleviate poverty and gave young
    black teens positive role models of disciplined,
    responsible behavior.

Black Panther founders Huey Newton, on the right,
and Bobby Seale on the left. The Panthers were
targeted by the FBIs COINTELPRO
(counter-intelligence program), which engaged in
illegal activities to try to destroy the
Panthers. Bobby Seale was also one of the Chicago
The Black Panthers
  • While Stokely Carmichael embraced Black Power,
    Huey Newton and Bobby Seale embraced the Marxist
    notion of power to the people! and considered
    the black underclass an urban proletariat.
  • The Black Panthers would aid in their development
    of a revolutionary class consciousness.
  • The Black Panthers eventually forged alliances
    with Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the
    Youth International Party (YIPPIES), the Chicago
    Brown Berets, and even the Gay Liberation Front.
  • The BPP was most active between 1966 and 1972.

In this photo the Black Panthers are in the
process of forming a coalition with the Peace and
Freedom Party in Berkeley California.
The Black Panthers
  • The Black Panthers were not very well understood
    by mainstream whites, however. The corporate
    media tended to emphasize their militancy
    (despite the fact that it was mostly
    self-defensive) and this frightened suburban
    whites into fears of a race war.
  • Charles Manson tried to exploit this fear in his
    1969 Tate-Labianca murders. These murders, like
    the Altamont Festival that year, helped signal
    the death of the idealistic 1960s.
  • The police were particularly concerned about this
    new black militancy. J. Edgar Hoover and other
    white authorities developed COINTELPRO, a secret
    illegal counter-intelligence program intended to
    infiltrate and disrupt the BPP, civil rights
    organizations, and other subversive groups of
    the 1960s.

Black Panther members and actor Marlon Brando
attend the funeral of Bobby Hutton, a young
Panther believed to be murdered by the police two
days after the assassination of Martin Luther
King. The Panthers were fundamentally an urban,
class-conscious proletariat that advocated black
nationalism the right of African Americans to
decide for themselves their national destiny and
to forge their own institutions.
The Black Panthers
  • The BPP opposed police brutality in the ghetto.
    At that time, the police force was not yet
    integrated and consisted mostly of less-educated
    conservative white males, many of whom were
  • One of the reforms advocated by liberal reformers
    was the integration of the police force. By 1972,
    the police force would be integrated.
  • Both the Panthers and the police died in violent
    confrontations that were shown on the nightly
    news programs. At least 30 Black Panthers died in
    such conflicts by 1970. It is likely that both
    sides initiated conflict, although the Panthers
    always claimed self-defense.
  • This was an era of black urban riots. There were
    more than 130 urban riots between 1965 and 1967,
    with another hundred or more following the death
    of Martin Luther King in April, 1968.

BPP national headquarters office in Oakland,
California, shot out by police bullets. Fall,1968.
The Decline of the Black Panthers
  • In August, 1967, the FBI instructed COINTELPRO to
    neutralize what they called black nationalist
    hate groups and the BPP was targeted for
    elimination. While the SCLC, SNCC, and the Nation
    of Islam had also been targeted by COINTELPRO,
    the Black Panthers were their primary target.
  • The tactics of COINTELPRO included infiltration,
    misinformation, to divide and destroy leadership
    as well as various wings of the movement, and
    even the instigation of violence.
  • By 1972, thanks mostly to COINTELPRO in
    combination with the internal disintegration of
    the BPP, the Black Panthers were effectively
    eliminated as a viable threat to the

J. Edgar Hoover sought to eliminate the BPP
through COINTELPRO. By 1972, he had largely
The Student Movement
  • White students paid attention while SNCC was
    morphing toward the Black Panther Party.
  • SNCC had become a role model organization for
    white activists, too.
  • Like SNCC, college students were initially
    idealistic about changing the world.
  • Students were also influenced by youth culture
    themes that pitted the older generations values
    against the emerging values of the youth culture.
  • It would be the Vietnam War along with the
    restriction of free speech on college campuses
    that would galvanize the emerging student

Student protest buttons from the Berkeley campus
of the University of California.
The Port Huron Statement
  • In 1962, the Students for a Democratic Society
    (SDS) met in Ann Arbor, Michigan to produce a
  • The manifesto they produced was very similar to
    the 1960 statements of SNCC. They were full of
    hope and idealism, they advocated direct action,
    and they showed faith in American institutions
    for humanistic reform.

Click the image above to read the Port Huron
These SDS students were disturbed by many
features of American life
  • The Bomb, the Cold War, militarism and
  • Bureaucracy and over-rationalization
  • The concentration and centralization of power in
    Big Government and Big Business, and the
    corresponding authoritarianism that comes with
    concentration of power
  • Organization Man style bland careerism
  • The blind conformity found on college campuses
    along with in loco parentis and administrative
  • Poverty
  • The injustice of racism and the exploitation of
    people and the environment by powerful
    corporations and governments

The 1962 Port Huron Statement pledged to do the
  • To achieve universal disarmament,
    demilitarization, and peace
  • To use diplomacy rather than militancy as the
    basis of foreign policy
  • To work to eliminate poverty and exploitation
  • To work for civil rights and to respect the
    natural dignity of all humans
  • To revitalize American democracy
  • To create communities with meaningful work and
    leisure activities
  • To make corporations more publicly accountable
  • To respect the environment

These ideas were labeled the new left and they
became part of the ideological infrastructure of
the 1960s counterculture.
The Student Movement
  • In 1962, the baby boomers were attending
    universities in huge, galvanizing numbers.
  • A college degree was now required for many middle
    class jobs.
  • Most students came from the growing middle class
    and had come from economically secure families.
    They could afford to think big.
  • They were aiming for something more than mere
    security they were aiming for happiness and a
    humane social world.
  • Given their affluence, these students were more
    free to think critically about the shortcomings
    of the consumer society.

In the colleges of the 1960s, there was a strong
liberal arts tradition. Students learned about
existentialism, classic literature, the Bill of
Rights, and other ideas that encouraged a
humanistic attitude toward life.
The Student Movement
  • Having been exposed to the civil rights movement,
    the prevailing JFK-style idealism, and
    humanistic ideas taught in college classrooms,
    students began to push for reforms at first
    within the university itself.
  • Some of their first concerns involved in loco
    parentis authoritarianism and censorship. In
    loco parentis means in place of parent and it
    meant that the university had the same power over
    students that their parents had, including
    control over housing arrangements and other
    aspects of students personal lives.
  • Given the popularity of the civil rights movement
    in the early 1960s, white college students saw an
    opportunity to take a stand.
  • Many had joined SNCC in the early 1960s and these
    students brought back the lessons they learned
    from SNCC.
  • Most of the former SNCC volunteers also came to
    share the belief that the problem was not a few
    bigoted individuals in the South. Rather, it was
    the larger establishment. It was the system

White college students who had volunteered to
work for civil rights organizations in the South
learned about organizing, leadership, negotiating
skills and tactics, procuring resources, use of
media, protest tactics, and establishing clear
goals. They brought this knowledge back to their
universities to share with others. It was
The Student Movement
  • Consequently, these idealistic young white
    students who had participated in SNCC activities
    in the South returned to their college campuses
    with a radical message
  • Many of the social problems were built into
    established institutions which function to
    maintain the status quo and which were being run
    by a managerial elite, or what C. Wright Mills
    called the power elite.
  • Some students, frustrated with their bland school
    newspaper, began to publish these ideas in their
    own underground newspapers. This was the start
    of the Free Speech Movement.

The American sociologist C. Wright Mills studied
American society in the 1950s and found that it
was not the pluralistic democracy promoted in
American grade schools. There were deep
structural problems that required structural
The Underground Press
  • One of the main flowers of the free speech
    movement was the proliferation of underground
    newspapers across the country on and off the
    campus. Virtually every city in the country had
    at least one underground newspaper by 1969.
  • Examples of some of the best underground
    newspapers include the Berkeley Barb, the Great
    Speckled Bird (Atlanta), the San Francisco
    Oracle, and the East Village Other (NY City). The
    Charlotte underground press was called the
    Inquisition, started in 1969.
  • The underground newspapers were typically
    distributed on street corners in the
    counterculture neighborhoods. Some had huge
    circulations. The underground press helped
    sustain all aspects of the emerging
    counterculture and influenced young writers like
    Hunter S. Thompson.
  • Click this link for an assortment of underground
    newspapers relevant to the African American

The Free Speech Movement
  • The free speech movement came out of the student
    movement and began in Berkeley in 1964. It
    involved the Students for a Democratic Society
  • On college campuses, an example of institutional
    corruption involved the rights of the students
    toward free speech.
  • Colleges had become over-rationalized
    administrative bureaucracies, with lots of formal
    rules and regulations imposed on students.
  • In loco parentis gave the administrators parental
    power over students.
  • At UC-Berkeley, the administration ruled that
    non-campus political literature could not be
    distributed on campus.
  • This seemed an open violation of academic ideals,
    so students dug in, just as the administrators

The Free Speech movement started on the Berkeley
campus of the University of California in 1964.
Students were organized by the SDS, who
understood that collective not individual
actions would be more effective in changing the
universitys rules.
The Free Speech Movement
  • Berkeley became a rallying point for other
    college campuses to protest the absence of free
    speech (or more specifically the censorship
    policies of the university).
  • The SDS embarked on a campaign across Northern
    urban regions to organize people, and eventually
    they succeeded in winning many of these free
    speech campaigns.
  • This did not involve SNCC, because by 1964 SNCC
    was already beginning to purge its white
    membership. By 1965, SDS and SNCC operated as two
    separate movements, with no dramatic overriding
    issue linking university life to black culture.
  • Yet such an issue was just emerging. LBJ had
    decided to escalate the Vietnam War and by 1965
    the draft was becoming an issue. It would be
    Vietnam that would provide the common galvanizing
    issue that united various elements of the
    counterculture into a powerful force.

Mario Savio was one of the leaders of the free
speech movement. He is seen here at a 1964 free
speech rally on the Berkeley campus.
  • Vietnam was becoming increasingly relevant on
    college campuses for several reasons
  • At that time college students were deferred from
    the draft, so colleges had become safe havens
  • The draft politicized the war and forced young
    people to learn about Vietnam
  • College campuses themselves were controversial
    because they did military research and had
    Reserve Officer Training Cores (ROTC) offices.
  • By 1965, many campuses offered teach-ins on
    Vietnam, often sponsored by SDS.
  • These teach-ins were initially idealistic, but
    became futile as the antiwar protestors witnessed
    the escalation of the war. LBJ wasnt listening.
  • By 1965 there were 175,000 U.S. troops in
    Vietnam, and Johnson was still rapidly escalating
    the war.

This is a teach-in that occurred at UCLA.
Students were frustrated that they were not being
taught about Vietnam in their college classrooms.
With the help of sympathetic teachers and
administrators they organized these
extra-curricular teach-ins to learn more about
Vietnam history, U.S. policy in Southeast Asia,
the Cold War, etc. The teach-ins often exposed
the contradictions of U.S. policy in Vietnam.
The Anti-War Movement
  • By 1966, antiwar protestors were matching the
    governments escalation of the war with their own
    escalation of strategy a draft resistance
    movement along with rising radicalism against the
    military-industrial complex.
  • Throughout 1966-1967, antiwar confrontations
    escalated. Government officials were confronted
    with mass protestors wherever they went.
  • On college campuses, ROTC programs were being
    challenged. These protestors were also
    questioning college military contracts.

The Rise of the Counterculture
  • The Vietnam War provided the galvanizing element
    that united the various protestors of the 1960s.
  • The counterculture was very broad. It was a loose
    group of single-interest subcultures which came
    together because of rising alienation from
    established institutions.
  • Most of these groups had started out idealistic
    about the prospects for reform, but had become
    frustrated with the establishments slow pace of
    change. The escalation of the war provided a
    dramatic example of the establishments failure
    to change.
  • Much of this confrontation was over deep core
    values about what America stood for.

Virtually everyone at this late 1960s rock
concert had at least some countercultural values
in common. Almost all were opposed to U.S. policy
in Vietnam, and this united them. Most were also
distrustful of establishment authority figures,
and most believed in the issue of empowerment, or
taking control of ones own life. But Vietnam had
a visceral reality, given the escalation of the
war and the draft.
Polarization of Western Culture
  • America, like other Western cultures at this
    time, was becoming polarized over two different
    sets of values.
  • If the dominant culture promoted individualism,
    the counterculture promoted communalism.
  • If the dominant culture promoted competition, the
    counterculture promoted cooperation.
  • If the dominant culture promoted careerism, the
    counterculture promoted personal self-discovery.

The Counterculture
  • The counterculture developed its own music,
    fashion and lifestyles to symbolize its
    alternative value system.
  • Many stopped wearing formal clothing and embraced
    inexpensive loose-flowing dresses and casual
    jeans and t-shirts as their anti-fashion
    fashion statements.
  • More than anything else, the counterculture stood
    for freedom and empowerment (against the
    authoritarian establishment).
  • By the mid-1960s, Vietnam, along with the
    lifestyle elements symbolizing personal freedom
    (sex, drugs, and rocknroll) united the
    disparate elements of the counterculture.

The counterculture rejected many of the
mainstream values and institutions of Western
culture, preferring a more humanistic value
system. Even the traditional marriage was
questioned. This is a photo of a hippie wedding,
and you can see that they have reinvented the
The Counterculture
  • The music of the counterculture had become
    increasingly political with anti-establishment
  • Folk artists, with their emphasis on substantive
    lyrics, were at the crest of the wave in the
    early and mid-1960s. Artists like Bob Dylan, Joan
    Baez, Pete Seeger, Phil Ochs, and Simon and
    Garfunkel spoke to youth culture alienation and
    the alienation of social marginals.
  • By the mid to late 1960s pop-rock bands like the
    Beatles and the Rolling Stones would join in and
    the counterculture would become a force that
    could not be ignored.
  • The capital of the counterculture was San
    Francisco, with Haight Ashbury the center of the
    hippie element and Oakland, only 20 miles away,
    the center of the antiwar radical element.

The Grateful Dead at their Haight-Ashbury house.
Communal living and sharing created a sense of
tribe, which was something missing from the
mainstream suburban culture.
The Counterculture
  • Drugs represented another countercultural
    sacrament. Smoking pot became a ritual
    symbolizing shared membership, with the joint
    passed from person to person in a communal
  • Smoking pot was also an act of defiance against
    the law. It symbolized the willingness of a
    person to take a risk for something they stood
    for. In American folklore, outlaws are romantic
    and often symbolize freedom and personal
  • Pot also heightened the senses. The 60s lifestyle
    promoted self-discovery merged with hedonism.
  • Being was more important than becoming.
  • One was to learn by experience not just by
    reading books as Jimi Hendrix captured on his
    first album (1967), entitled Are You
  • By 1967 the countercultural lifestyle was a
    Western culture sensation and San Francisco had
    become Mecca.

Jimi Hendrixs ground-breaking 1967 album, Are
You Experienced, reflected the swirling
creativity, spontaneity, and explosive energy of
the psychedelic movement within the
counterculture. Click the album cover to hear the
title song in mp3 format.
The Counterculture
  • By the end of 1967, the antiwar movement a key
    element of the counterculture - had reached a
  • One the one hand, respectable officials had
    turned against the war and there was growing
    debate among the straights.
  • By the Fall of 1967, public support for the
    Vietnam war had declined to slightly more than
    half the public.
  • On the other hand, many in the counterculture had
    lost faith in Americas capacity to reform its
    institutions and had become radicalized.
  • They saw Vietnam as a symptom of a deeper problem
    and they sought revolutionary changes.
  • Which way the movement would go would be decided
    by the pivotal year of 1968.

The Womens Movement
  • The womens movement was another element of the
    counterculture that emerged in the early 1960s
    but which did not clearly galvanize until the
    late 1960s and early 1970s.
  • Although womens roles had changed toward wage
    work since World War II, there was no
    corresponding shift in womens ideals.
  • Sexism, the belief that women are naturally
    inferior to men, was still popular during the
    1960s. The prevailing attitude was that women
    belonged in family roles.
  • Sociologists term this the cult of domesticity.
    Women are viewed as exclusively mothers and
    wives, with opposite characteristics compared
    with men If men are rational, then women must be
    emotional and if men are strong then women must
    be weak. If men are the leaders, then women are
    the followers. Her natural place is in the home.

Betty Friedan, the author of the 1963 book, The
Feminist Mystique, attends a womens protest
march in 1970 as the womens movement is taking
The Womens Movement
  • In the 1960s, most jobs were still
    sex-segregated. Women suffered under a
    patriarchal system that paid men higher wages.
  • By the 1960s, most middle class women had at
    least a part-time job, yet these jobs continued
    to be womens jobs that paid low wages and
    offered little upward mobility.
  • Many women were so deeply ingrained into the
    ideology of traditional gender roles that they
    considered it heresy to question them. The woman
    was supposed to stand by her man.
  • At that time, unlike the civil rights movement,
    there was no critical mass of protestors to
    provide an alternative ideology.

During the 1940s the government promoted Rosie
the Riveter as a symbol of womens strength in
the industrial workforce. Women were getting
mixed messages in the post-war period as well.
The Feminine Mystique, 1963
  • Unlike the black civil rights movement, women
    initially tended to see their problems as
    individual rather than social. Their unhappiness
    was due to flaws in their own personal lives.
  • In 1963, Betty Friedan published The Feminine
    Mystique. This book exposed womens problems as
    similar to the problems of racial minorities, and
    not simply the result of the personal troubles.
  • Like blacks, women had been oppressed because of
    their ascribed characteristics their physical
  • In the Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan explained
    how she became a good wife and mother, but she
    felt that she was limited in these two roles and
    that she could contribute more to society by
    having additional roles.
  • This book helped ignite the modern womens

Betty Friedan
The Womens Movement
  • The basic principles of the civil rights movement
    are humanism and equality and these messages
    are just as relevant to women as the are to
    racial minorities. In this way, the civil rights
    movement helped bring about the womens movement.
  • The 1964 Civil Rights Act included sex
    discrimination as an incidental feature that was
    not taken very seriously at that time by
    Congress. Indeed, the government initially failed
    to act on complaints of sex discrimination, just
    as they had been slow to act on racial
    discrimination earlier.
  • In 1966, a group of activists formed NOW, the
    National Organization for Women, to pressure for
    the enforcement of the Civil Rights Act.

Shirley Chisholm, first feminist Congresswoman
and NOW member in the 1970s.
The Womens Movement
  • Many of the early NOW members had experience
    working with SNCC, the SCLC and SDS and they knew
    how to build a movement.
  • Yet they had been frustrated in those other
    activist groups because even those groups tended
    to be patriarchal.
  • Women were routinely steered toward clerical work
    and away from leadership roles.
  • In 1964, black women at SNCC even staged a sit-in
    to protest their sexist treatment by the men of
    SNCC. Women were beginning to think that they
    needed their own liberation movement.
  • The SDS also suffered from patriarchy.

This womens march occurred in 1971 in NY City.
The sign in the background on the left says The
women of Vietnam are our sisters. Feminists have
a sense of class consciousness for other women,
but this is difficult to achieve in a patriarchal
society, where women are socialized to obey the
dominant ideologies that define them as
naturally inferior. The significance of NOW
was that they helped instill this feminist class
consciousness, and this seeded the womens
liberation movement.
The Womens Movement
  • As women came together to share their personal
    experiences, they developed a new sense of
    strength and solidarity (class consciousness).
  • By 1967, many women activists decided they needed
    to control their own agenda and they began to
    meet separately from men.
  • This led to consciousness raising sessions, where
    small groups of women would gather and discuss
    their issues. Men were not allowed in these
    meetings, largely because men tend to interrupt
    women (another aspect of patriarchy).
  • In these sessions, women identified a key
    structural problem in Western society
    male-dominated institutions. The goal of the
    womens movement was womens equality.

This is a consciousness-raising session. Women
take turn sharing their innermost thoughts with
each other about any aspect of their lives. As
one person talks, everyone listens without
interruption. These sessions were empowering for
women, who were routinely interrupted and
dominated in their everyday lives in patriarchal
society. These sessions functioned to
de-construct the patriarchal values and ideology
instilled in them from birth.
The Counterculture
  • In 1967, the womens movement was viewed largely
    as a side-show. The ultimate impact of womens
    liberation would not be felt until the 1970s.
  • William Chafe argues that there were three
    pivotal movements during the 1960s that would
    shape the society the civil rights movement, the
    student-antiwar movement, and the womens
  • A fourth key movement we will discuss later was
    the environmental movement, which began in the
    late 1960s and blossomed in the 1970s.

Summary of Value Differences Mainstream Culture
VS The Counterculture
  • Emphasis on Individual
  • Competition
  • Achievement
  • Group superiority values
  • Conformity/obedience
  • Materialism and money
  • Authoritarianism
  • Militarism/imperialism
  • Rationality/bureaucracy
  • Self-discipline
  • Delayed gratification
  • Community
  • Cooperation
  • Happiness
  • Equality social justice
  • Freedom
  • Spiritualism, sharing
  • Democracy
  • Diplomacy/sovereignty
  • Emotionality/tribalism
  • Laid back, go with the flow
  • Immediate gratification

The Counter-response
  • Inevitably the protestors sparked a backlash of
  • There was never a time during the 1960s when the
    protestor activists represented a majority of the
    American population.
  • The majority of Americans felt their way of life
    was under assault. They had devoted their lives
    to conforming to the dominant culture.
  • The louder the protestors were, the more
    resistant and hostile was the backlash.
  • In 1964, only 34 of whites believed that blacks
    were seeking too much too fast. By 1966, that
    figure climbed to 85 as cities were burning and
    Black Power! could be heard from the ghettos.

Antiwar posters like this enraged conservative
law-abiding patriotic citizens who saw the United
States as the greatest nation on Earth. Such
behavior wasnt just rude, it was down right
traitorous. Both sides were polarized by the late
The Counter-response
  • Some of the backlash was due to blue collar
    workers feeling threatened by minority gains.
  • Now their jobs were less secure because they
    would have to compete with blacks and women.
  • By the late-60s, Vietnam had caused inflation
    which threatened the incomes of Americans.
  • Some of the blue collar backlash was also due to
    the nature of the counterculture. Many working
    class workers resented these middle class
    spoiled students who were not taking school
  • This helps explain why there were so many police
    riots directed against the counterculture. Part
    of this was generational hostility, and part was
    class hostility.

The police tend to be members of the working
class and they also tend to be older than
students, who tend to be members of the middle
class. Class, age, race, and other tensions
polarized Americans during the 1960s. The
reactionary counter-response tended to come from
the working class, older people, traditional
values and religious groups, and conservative
white males.
The Counter-response
  • The Silent Majority of Americans sensed a
    crisis in values.
  • Every day they turned on the TV to see protestors
    challenging traditional values and beliefs.
  • Yet during unstable times many people have a
    tendency to cling to these traditional values.
  • They believed their sacred values of blind
    patriotism, religion, monogamy, hard work,
    consumerism, traditional sexuality,
    know-your-place ethnicity, conformity to Biblical
    and political authority, and traditional gender
    roles were under attack.
  • By 1968 they began to rally around the flag with
    messages like America love it or leave it.

AMST 3100