Haight-Ashbury
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The counter-culture movement of the 1960’s can trace its origin back to the town of Haight-Ashbury and the Beatnik movement. Beatniks wanting to take advantage of affordable real estate in California moved to Haight and started a cultural revolution. The philosophy of these hippies (term coined by San Francisco reporter Michael Fallon) was based on Eastern Mysticism, astrology, German writer Herman Hesse, and Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. By 1966 fifteen thousand young Americans had moved to Haight and transformed their lives. This lifestyle was one without greed, loneliness or any other pressures of modern society. A popular slogan “Turn on, tune in, drop out” emerged and showed these hippies desire to resist conformity and basically do their own thing. Drugs and music became symbols of the counter-culture movement during the 1960’s and had the biggest impact on popular culture. The Woodstock festival exemplified the counter-culture movement. Many of the premier musicians of the time gathered for unarguably the most famous rock concert of all time. Towards the start of the 1970’s the counter culture movement began to lose much momentum. Haight-Ashbury became too overcrowded and this led to an overall shift in the environment from one of prosperity to one of poverty. Tens of thousands of homeless people walked the street and the atmosphere was no longer one of peace and love. The drug scene had gotten out of control and violence followed. Police began to more strongly enforce the law on the town. Finally racial tensions which were found all over the nation also threatened to turn into violence. By 1971 Haight-Ashbury had returned to a depressed place as people began to leave just as fast as they had come.


Works Consulted:
"Haight-Ashbury." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. 5 vols. St. James Press, 2000. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/HistRC/
"Hippies and 1960s Counterculture." DISCovering U.S. History. Gale Research, 1997. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/HistRC/
Trevnasty. San Francisco. April. 2007. YouTube. 2 May 2007
http://youtube.com/watch?v=f8MCc6yxKT4