Peace, Love, and Flower Power Too

Many historians describe the sixties as the decade that resulted in the most significant changes in our history. During this week, we are going to explore the sixties era, so that you have a better understanding of what was happening during that time, and hopefully, will appreciate more the context under which The Outsiders was written. You all should have some knowledge of this time period already having read The Wednesday Wars this summer. Please take some time and visit the links below. There is a wealth of information gathered there for you to research, which will take you a few days to explore, certainly more than one night. I encourage you to click on the links within these web pages for further information. I will start classes off this week by showing you an amazing video I found on the sixties which I’m sure will spark many interesting discussions, which I look forward to having!

Once you have had your fill of all things sixties, please respond to my following questions: What defines the sixties for you? (When someone mentions the sixties what do you think of?) What do you feel was the most significant event? What was the most important contribution? If you could time travel and go back to the sixties, where would you go and what would you do? Finally, what did you learn from your readings that you didn’t know before? As always, I am looking for detailed responses and specifics. Because of the wealth of information here, you will have an extra day to respond, Thursday. If you would like to post a blog prompt of your own in regards to the sixties, please do so after Wednesday.

“The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility.” John Lennon

The Year 1967

American Cultural History

The Sixties Official Site

The Sixties Dance Craze

(www.flickr.com/photos/bernissimo/236240848/sizes/m/) Blog Header Photo

83 comments

  1. The sixties, for me was the time of breaking free. Breaking free from the past standards, through music, fashion and free speech.

    The teens, of that time, felt rebellious and for the first time felt comfortable being very intimate with each other. Also at this time the band, The Beatles became extremely famous all over the world, singing songs that expressed the emotions of all youth. The norms of the 1950’s were certainly in the past of the 1960’s. What was ‘normal’ became ‘old fashion’. Free expression was the new norm.

    Martin Luther King Jr. was my hero of the 1960’s. His passion and purpose laid the ground work for the civil rights movement, which laid the ground work for the Presidency of Barack Hussein Obama. Martin Luther King Jr. was born January 15, 1929, and died April 4, 1968. He was a Baptist preacher in Atlanta, Georgia. King gave his most famous speech, “I Have a Dream,” in 1963, and soon after, in 1964, was presented with a Nobel Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination. Which I think was the most important contribution of the 1960’s, as he was presented with this honor.
    If I had the privilege of traveling back to the 1960’s, my dream would be to go to Washington D.C to hear Martin Luther King’s Dream. To be there in the audience would have been historical.
    I learned that there has been significant inflation in the last 50 years. The average price of a house was about $14,000 compared to today’s price of about $308,749. Gas prices were only 33 cents, a striking contract to our $2.75 today. But the most drastic difference, to me was the minimum wage. In 1967, the minimum wage was only a dollar, as today’s workers in Florida are receiving a minimum wage of $7.21.
    Overall, I realized that living in the 1960’s was, in some ways very similar to living now, and in other ways, very different. It’s all relative because, things are always changing. While it’s true that products cost a lot less, the workers were paid less. As noted by the teachers salary of only $5,000 in 1967, the increase of prices today allow us to pay our employee’s a greater amount.
    The icons of the 1960’s, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Beatles will remain America’s icons forever.

  2. After reading the websites, I have learned more about the sixties. When I think of the sixties I see a crowd watching Woodstock (and then the character Woodstock from Classic Peanuts), people with flowers painted on their faces and clothes, and the Beatles crossing Abbey Road. I also think of the Vietnam War and the different opinions of the people living in the time of this war. I do think the war is the most significant event in the sixties because it changed people’s lives and the way they looked at life; there were people who fought for their country in the war, and there were people who hated the war and everyone who took part in it or encouraged it. I do not think the hippies would be hippies unless they had this war to rebel against. The most important contribution to the sixties in my opinion was (above the invention of Gatorade, which hydrates athletes and prevents deaths in dehydration) Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream…” speech. MLK Jr. inspired many people and still inspires many people today, including Barack Obama, our President Elect. Martin Luther King Jr. sent peace, equality, and integration to the people of America, making our future brighter. If I could travel back in time to the sixties, I would be a student who wore scarves, teased her hair until it became twice the size of her head, and listened to the Beatles and the Beach Boys; I would dance the “mashed potato” and “the twist”. I learned a lot of information about the sixties that I did not know before. I learned how to dance the hottest dances from that era, what the people then wore, information about the Vietnam War, and the important events that occurred in the 1960’s. Many exciting things happened in the sixties, and I think we need to remember our past to move on into the future.

  3. To me the prices of food, gas, cars, houses, going to the movies (etc.) define the sixties to me. I listen to a lot of music that was very popular that also defines the sixties to me. When someone mentions the sixties to me, I usually think of violence, and outdoor sports because that all the kids usually did was play outside. They made their own games and did many other fun things. I also think of the music that was heard. One of the websites said that music was easy to understand and it was also peaceful. There are two things that were significant to me, and that was creation of Woodstock that was first outdoor concert. The other significant thing was the Apollo I being destroyed by a fire on the launch pad. To me the most important thing in the sixties when President Kennedy was assassinated. If I were to be back in the sixties, I would do many things. I would go downtown because everything that was there was unique, I would also go to Woodstock. Once I go downtown, I would look through the stores and experience what it would be like if I lived in the sixties. From my readings, I learned that there was a lot of violence and always stay with a few friends to guard each others’ back. I also learned that if there was something bad that was done, the person who did it could get away with it. The Outsiders is a great book and it is very enjoyable. I learned other things too. I learned that new homes would cost about $14,000,00 and new cars would cost $2,000-$4,000.

  4. My thoughts on the sixties are all about hippies, music, and big hair. The sixties were a huge part in our culture. The sixties were the time of new fashions, Woodstalk, MLK Jr., and of course the time when teens voiced their opinions of the world. What happened in the sixties shaped how our culture is today. Without MLK Jr. Barack Obama would never even dream of becoming president. Also without the style and music back then rap and Hollister would probably never exist today. MLK Jr. was probably the most important person in the sixties. Because of him, the segregation of people stopped. He was brave enough to stand up for what he believed in; even though people threatened him he kept fighting for what was right. In the end he won and stopped segregation but unfortunately he was assassinated for doing so. If I could go back I would defiantly go to Woodstalk. It was basically the first big concert in history. 400,000 people joined this concert and they were each a part of our history. I wouldn’t take part in the drugs of alcohol but I would love to listen to the music. One thing I thought was really interesting that I didn’t know about the sixties was that the Barbie Dolls and G.I. Joe action figures were so popular back then. I used to love Barbie’s when I was younger and I think it would be so cool to see what the first ones were like.

    1. @hannah14, I actually have the first Barbies ever made…..if I can get to where I have them stored, I’ll bring them in and show you!

  5. For me the Beatles, rebellions (hippies), and Woodstock define the sixties for me. I already new a lot about the sixties because of my sick obsession with the Beatles. The Beatles define the sixties because a lot of change happened in during this time. Such as bands like the Beatles. With out their contribution to music we wouldn’t have ANY of the music we listen to today. Hippies also define the sixties for me because the sixties are also remembered for the riots and “young folk” standing up for their rights and opposing the war. Also Martin Luther King Jr. and the racial riots. Woodstock is its own category, I think Woodstock represents all the new things coming into our world during the sixties. So pretty much Music and Change define the sixties for me.

    *PEACE*PEACE*PEACE*PEACE*PEACE*

    The most significant event in the sixties…I have no idea. There are so many I can think of. Well I guess the MOST important was probably the racial riots. If there hadn’t been a man like Martin Luther King Jr. then I don’t know what point we would be at involving equality and integration. If the people that followed King hadn’t stood up for their rights, I know that others would. I just don’t know if it would have had the same effect. So I think that is probably the most important event in the sixties, not that any of them were less important, that just seemed to be a BIG one.

    Love, Love, Love, Love, Love, Love, Love, Love

    The biggest contribution to the sixties was probably well, in my opinion, music. I know it might not seem that important to some people, but for me music is my life. With out the Beatles, and those that followed them, we wouldn’t know what a band was, we wouldn’t have rap (I’m not sure if thats good or bad..), and we wouldn’t have music like pop.

    ChAnGe ChAnGe ChAnGe ChAnGe ChAnGe

    Wow, do you even have to ask me that question? Of course I would go back and meet the Beatles and go to Woodstock. I would probably run away to California to join the riots. But all those sound good but the one I would pick is meeting the Beatles and possibly even hanging out with them. I also would love to go to one of their concerts and listen to their music on a record. The Beatles are awesome!

    JOY-JOY-JOY-JOY-JOY-JOY-JOY-JOY-JOY

    Well I never knew that surfing was a BIG thing in the sixties. I never knew that it became famous during that decade. I also never knew that the medicine didn’t have child proof caps. I also never contemplated the money difference, it seems soooo weird how low paychecks were and its unfathomable the low cost of gas; 33¢ !! But then again things evened out in cost and pay, but even for that time I couldn’t imagine 1$ as an income.

    The+End= The End

  6. To me the sixties bring back all the dance crazes, hippies, and people living life for the fun of it! Not much mattered except the rule of living life to fullest and to keep peace. Friends were all so close and most of the time was spent outside! That would be such an improvement in life now! I would love to go back just to live the experience of the sixties.
    What is more significant than Dr. Martin Luther King giving a speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial? A long and powerful speech it was, affective and cannot be forgotten.
    “And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.
    And so let freedom ring…
    And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
    Free at last! Free at last!
    Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” -Dr. Martin Luther King
    The most important contribution would have to be the Vietnam War. Even with all of hippies and protesting it kept on going. It was unsafe and very sad how so many have been lost, it was a huge part in the sixties and in developing the sixties. The war lasted from 1964 to 1975. Citing progress in peace negotiations, On January 15, 1973 President Nixon ordered a suspension of offensive action in North Vietnam which was later followed by the unilateral withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam. The Paris Peace Accords were later signed on January 27, 1973 which officially ended.
    To be able to go back to the sixties would be one of the most amazing experiences possible! I would definitely go back and visit a dance. I love dancing and expressing myself with my friends. If I could go to the sixties and go to a dance I would be amazed to see where everything originated. I think the most fun and creative moves were created then. Such as the Twist, or the Mashed Potato, or even the Swim! Watching a person dance to this is entertaining but imagine watching a whole bunch of people dancing because they wanted to and they were good! I bet it shows a lot about the feeling of the sixties!
    I never knew that so much time was spent outside. I probably should’ve guessed that since there aren’t cell phones or video games like there are now! I am not surprised to find out that one of the best children’s books Where the Wild Things Are was written in the sixties. Plus the fashion was crazy! I love it! Such colorful clothing and the hairstyle of the beehive isn’t my personal favorite but it is creative! The sixties have a huge impact on life now and always will!

  7. Wow! So much stuff happened in the sixties. There were the classic TV shows like The Andy Griffith Show and The Flinstones. Drive in movie theters were popular hangouts. Rock was big with names like Elvis and The Beatles. These greats recorded on old 45 RPM records. Hair was big then. Skirts, on the other hand, were not. There were more dance crazzes than can be named. The sixties started the hippie era. A time of peace, love, and undestanding. The space age started in the sixties with John Glenn and was continued with Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon. This was also a time of equalization. Martin Luther King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. Also people can’t forget the brave people who fought in Vietnam.
    There was also a more peaceful side of the sixties. It was a time where life was for living. It was a time when people would stop to smell the roses. Everything was nicer back then. People were so trusting that they would often leave their car keys in their car. Things were simpler back then. A gallon of gas was 33 cents. A house was 14,250 dollars. A new car was 2,750 dollars.
    The event that I think is most significant from the sixties is the lunar landing. It paved the way for space exploration.
    If I could go back to the sixties I would go back to ’67 as a regular person and just live. I would do everthing a normal kid would do. I would just take time to slow down and smell the roses.

  8. After seeing the sites you mentioned, my view of the sixties has really changed a lot. Before I looked at the sites, I thought that the sixties was a time of craziness with hippies and wild fads that don’t make any sense at all. After exploring the sites, I realized that the sixties was almost like the world was waking up from a deep slumber with tons of energy ready to burst at any second. It was tons of creativity stored up like a dam would store water. But just like a dam, at a certain point it cracks and all of the water flows out so fast and hard that you can’t control it even if you tried to. To me that is the definition of the sixties; a sudden burst of creativity. I think music really defined the sixties. Groups like Elvis, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and other artists made their mark on the sixties. If someone asked the average kid one thing about the sixties, they would most likely say Elvis or The Beatles. That is pretty much all most kids hear about the sixties from their parents. The sixties seems like a crazy time to me, but was probably fun to be a kid in the sixties. You could go outside and play a pickup football game any time of day or just hang out with your friends. Back then you could pretty much just leave your house without telling anybody and be back for dinner. My mom told me that when she was a kid, there was a bell that rang at 5 o’clock and that was when they all went home for dinner. After that they would go back outside until dark. It seems like it was such a simple time. If I could go to the sixties, I would probably just stay for a week and see what it would be like to be able to play outside anytime without worrying about kidnappers or anything. I’m a hyper person and that would almost be a dream for me to be able to run around outside for the whole afternoon. I learned that sixties has a lot more to it than what I thought before I explored the sites. I never knew that games like clue, twister and life got started in the sixties. I also didn’t know there were so many different types of dances back then. When I opened the baseball section, I was surprised that there were so few teams in 1960 and that the separate divisions weren’t made until 1969. It just shows us that things change rapidly. Just as you get used to one thing, times change and you have to get used to that. The digital transition is a perfect example. Now TV is changing and while cable hasn’t changed, people with rabbit ears have to get a convertor box or get cable if they want to watch TV. If you look at TV’s history, we started out with such a small screen and now we have anything from 24” TV’s to 68” TV’s. It makes you wonder how TV will work in 20 years. That’s what defined the sixties for me; change.

  9. When I think of the sixties, images of Hippies, civil right protestors, and peace symbols flash before my eyes. I could hear the Beatle’s “Yellow Submarine” playing and people protesting the war. I think of President Kennedy being assassinated and seeing his family at the funeral. But most of all, I picture my Aunt Eva wearing a Beetle’s wig dancing to the “Twist.” The sixties is defined by the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. Both of these made people take to the streets in protest. American’s were standing up for what they believed in.
    They wanted their voices heard. I think the most important contribution during this period was the people’s ability to come together as one voice and seek change. It taught Americans that they had the ability to change things that they felt were wrong.
    The Vietnam War not only brought Americans to their feet, but it changed our music and our lives. Without the war the peace symbol popularity or the Hippie population may not have exploded. The music of the time was influenced by the war and desire for equality and peace. The music reflected how the people felt during this time and gave them an outlet.
    If I could travel back in time I would love to go to the Woodstock concert. Not just for the music, but to see the people in their psychedelic clothes wanting to change the world.
    I learned a lot about the sixties from the various sites. I can’t believe the effect of inflation. Today, seeing a movie cost about $8 or $10. In the sixties it was about $1.25. What also amazed me is the increase in our life span. Instead of living to the average age of sixty we can make it to our eighties.
    The sixties was a very exciting time for our country. There was so much change going on and people really got to take part in the change. It kind of reminds me of our country today. In a few days the inauguration takes place and our country will have our first African American President. The people of the sixties who fought for equal rights will finally see that their hard work has paid off.

  10. The sixties was a revolutionary time where love, happiness and peace returned to the dull, bleak world. People started to do what they wanted and not what was right and people started to act more informal. The most significant thing was that if the Beatles wouldn’t have came along and change the way people think about music then music would be a whole lot deferent then it is now. The sixties gave us the space program we wouldn’t have space shuttles, lunar landers nor would we have mars rovers if we didn’t have the sixties. If Icould trvel back in time I would go to NASA and work on the Apollo program.

  11. Wow! I knew the 60’s were big but I didn’t know there could be so much information that wasn’t boring historical stuff. When I hear 60’s the first few things I think of are The British Invasion, Woodstock, and hippies. The British Invasion took a big tole on the music industry not in a bad way though. We got some of the greatest artists from The British Invasion. I’m talking about The Beatles, The Who, Duran Duran, The Cure and many more. Some say if you don’t like the classics such as the bands I listed than you don’t know what real music is, and I agree with that. My moms older brother went to Woodstock with a couple of friends. I’ve heard the story from my uncle over and over of how it was amazing, a big beer fest, and one of the greatest moments of his life. He got my mom a shirt I think I’ll bring that in on Friday. Anyways, I think when anyone hears 60’s they think hippies. Hippies were free spirited. They were loving and caring. The violence was no where close to what it is today. But the most important part of the 60’s was a lot of our parents were born at that time.

  12. This may seem kinda bad but when I hear about the sixties I automatically think of drugs. It just seems like all of the Hippies were doing drugs with their colored vans, so that is why I think of it that way. The coming of the Hippies is without a doubt the most significant event that happened during the sixties. There is no way that someone can hear about the sixties and not know about the Hippies that lived during those years. The most important contribution that was made during the sixties is a debatable one. Some people would talk about the scientific achievements that were made and some people might talk about the advancements in cars but I think the message that was ever so famous during the sixties is the most important contribution, “peace”. In my opinion that is what a lot more people need to be thinking about. But sometimes we get to sidetracked by life that we forget how pointless the little things are. We really don’t need to sweat the small stuff because in the end its all going to be okay. If I could time travel into the sixties I would go into a diner and order a cheeseburger and a coke. Also, I would go to an outdoor Beatles concert. One interesting fact that I learned from reading on the websites is that the main reason why the 60’s were so influential was because of the post-war baby boom. I thought that that was very interesting.

  13. First I must say that the sixties were a major time for our country. The thing that I think of when someone says the word “sixties” the first thing that I think of is the hippies and the Beatles. I think of these two things because if it were not for the Beatles modern pop culture would not have developed. I think of hippies because they were also part of a cultural shift in America. The third thing that I think of is the Vietnam War. I think of this because of what this did to our country and theirs. I think that the most important contribution of the sixties is the creation of modern pop culture. If I could go back to the sixties and go to a major event I would go to Martin Luther king Jr.’s I have a dream speech. I would go to this because I think this is a very important turning point in the history of the United States. I learned many things that I did not know here are just a few. I did not know many of the dances from the sixties I learned many of those. I also learned that there were more social groups than I had first thought.

  14. When I think of the 60’s I think of the flower power and peace. I think of all the great dances that were created then. The 60’s seemed like a good time period. I found a lot of interesting facts. My favorite was learning about the dances and I did not know that the Twist and Mashed Potato were from the sixties. I remember seeing those in the classic film Hairspray. I also thought it was unbelievable that instead of using a straighter they used an iron. Now the clothes those were different. They seem ugly to us know so it is hard to believe that was the style and to wear your hair high up holding it with hairspray. I also did not know that minimum wage was only 1 dollar. One of my favorite facts was that everyone would go outside in the morning and not come back until the street lights turned on. To me I don’t think this has changed one bit because I go out every weekend and hang out with friends and don’t come back in until around dinner. This makes me feel like a 60’s person. I was also surprised that Jeopardy was showing in the sixties because I still watch that show. I wonder if the host is the same from back then. The sixties seemed like the musical times. Although I am used to some of the bands mentioned on the websites, such as the beetles, David Bowie, and Jimmie Hendrix because my brother listens to that type of music instead of rap. I also have to admit the Beatles had some pretty good songs which make me understand that there was a British invasion. Learning about the sixties was great. The sixties was a great time period and defiantly changed the way I look at things.

  15. To me, the 60’s was a time of new inventions, fashions, and most importantly freedom! Th kids had more freedom than we do today. They could play in the streets all day and no one would yell at them at all.
    I was amazed to learn that people ate all this junk and never got obese…
    How did they do it?!
    As we were commenting in class, the picture where the girl is having someone iron her hair really freaked me out! I could never do that, what if they got burned… Ouch!
    I think that it was cool how every one would “just go out and make them” (them being friends).
    I think it is also kind of funny how the guy who created the official 60’s site said that they also cared about their appearance and that the men would put on their favorite jeans and a paisley shirt and the girls would put on their slacks or a dress.
    I think it would have been cool to live in the sixties.

  16. It’s quite fascinating for me to read these posts. You (still?) have an original Barbie? In September of 1965 I turned 12 and entered the 7th grade at the Lynwood Ave Jr HS in Farmingville, NY. I thought it interesting to see what each of your students thought about that decade, and that no one mentioned the women’s rights movement.

    A few years ago I had to write an autobiographical piece which I started this way: “It was 1969 and I was a junior at Sachem High School in Lake Ronkonkoma, New York. Lake Ronkonkoma is a small town on Long Island. In 1969 the Long Island Expressway didn’t quite make it there and the war in Viet Nam was raging on. As a student, I belonged to several clubs, including the “FTA” – Future Teachers of America. I was also a musician, playing the French Horn in the high school’s A Band and Orchestra, and sang alto in the A Chorus and Madrigal Group.

    But I felt quite out-of-place in this environment, at odds with the political mores of many of my peers, and I was anxious to leave. I recall quite clearly the chaos of the times, the news reports, the shooting at Kent State in May of 1970. Some of us organized protests at the school. The turn-out to protest the dress code was much more impressive than the silent memorial for the victims of Kent State, and much more successful. I could not wait to leave [high school].”

    A few snippits caught my eye: Victoria14 wrote it was a ‘time of breaking free.’ James14 that it was “the end of the past and the beginning of the future.’ Adrian14 saw the decade as a “burst of creativity,” and another commented that ‘kids had more freedom than we do today.” I loved how Alice14 peppered the words Peace | Love | Change | Joy through her commentary. We did the twist and the limbo rock in our 4th grade class. Yes, they were big crazes. I was a year too young to go to Woodstock.

    But to think it there was not too much stress, I believe, is totally untrue. The basic fabric of society was being torn apart by individualistic expression and major currents that redefined how we live. My top 6 list of significant influences would include the 1)Cold War, 2)Civil Rights Movement, 3)Scientific advances & sci fi tv (Star Trek, Outer Limits), 4)Hippies/peace movement 5)Music & Dance, and 6)End of homogeneity. There was a lot of stress. There were several ‘different’ Americas, but the demographics were not nearly so fractured as they are today. With a burgeoning population, there are many more subcultures. Back then more of us shared the same broadcasts. There weren’t dozens of channels. The news was riveting and not as censored as it is today. The war, the riots, the protests, the music, the dances, all unfolded on TV. I remember watching astronauts walking on the moon for the first time. We were watching TV when Robert Kennedy was assassinated, when Jack Ruby gunned down Oswald. The cameras filmed MLK. I remember watching the Beatles on the Lawrence Welk Show with my sister and girlfriend. Television’s reach in the 60’s was critical both to creating common experience and to creating awareness.

    JFK and MLK’s speeches that your students noted were certainly defining moments. The assassinations were shocking, and revealed the divisions in society. The role of women began to change radically as well. Birth control pills made it possible to postpone parenthood. My mother started college (and became a 3rd grade teacher) the year I started high school. Though the riots at Berkeley made more headlines, she was a student at SUNY Stony Brook where they had riots of their own. Even though it is true that we felt safe enough to play in the streets as children, there was plenty of stress to go around as changes rippled through society.

    I think that the best outgrowth of the 1960’s is that the USA has a more equitable society. When I lived and worked in NYC in the 1970’s on the upper East Side of Manhattan, clientele in a typical saloon was very white. That’s thankfully not true anymore. The election of Barack Obama to the presidency is evidence of that. The decade ended with the shooting of Kent State – a shocking event which I found personally disturbing; but it also ended with the first Earth Day in 1970.

    Hopefully your generation can make more progress towards that equitableness, and perhaps find ways to solve problems with a 60’s twist – peace, love and creativity.

    Thanks for sharing.

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