Trial and Error The 1960’s
The Civil Rights Movement • In the century following the Civil War, African Americans had gained the right of Freedom, but lacked other basic rights and tensions ran high. • Especially in the South, segregation was the norm with many public venues being whites only. The facilities allotted to the black population were inferior. • Eventually the spark was lit after Rosa Parks’ defiance on a Montgomery city bus.
The Leader • Martin Luther King Jr. became the leader for the Civil Rights Movement. • He based most of his actions off the nonviolent ideas of Gandhi. • He was allowed to speak on the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial and gave one of the most memorable speeches in history. • He was assassinated in 1968 by James Earl Ray.
Music of the Movement • There was a response to the movement from both black and white groups. • Much of the music that was hailed during the Civil Rights Movement were African spirituals and slave songs. • Even white artists like Joan Baez and Pete Seeger rewrote several spirituals
Music of the People • Motown became an increasingly popular genre of music after its creation by Motown Records in Detroit. • They attempted to smooth their ghetto upbringing with harmonious tones. • Their music was able to help the Civil Rights movement by dispelling myths about African Americans
Influence of Music • Music played a big role in the Civil Rights movement. • Before MLK’s I Have a Dream speech, folk singer Joan Baez sang the American slave song Oh Freedom. • Folk music was especially involved in this movement. Artists such as Bob Dylan expressed support for African Americans from the white community. • This protest music portrayed ideals of equality.
Vietnam War • Though the U.S. refers to it as “The Vietnam War”, the Vietnamese have always called it “The American War”. • At the time, it was the longest conflict the U.S. had ever been involved in. • It eroded a lot of faith the public had in the government. • The North Vietnamese used “Guerilla tactics”, which helped them win, even though the U.S. had some technological advantages. • The U.S. entered the War hoping to prevent the spread of Communism in Asia.
Roots of the War • It began in 1954, though the U.S. did not officially enter until 1965. • Vietnam was a French colony until the 1950s. • The War occurred because the Communist government set up in North Vietnam attempted to absorb the Western-friendly government in the South.
A Defiant Response • The hippie culture grew out of the outcry against Vietnam. • Hippies held anti-war protests, and also perpetuated such countercultural movements as the drug and sexual revolutions. • The war draft was extremely unpopular, leading to many would-be draftees becoming conscientious objectors, or fleeing to Canada.
Musical Response • The American response to Vietnam was typically political protest songs which seemed removed from the actually war. • The Vietnamese took a different response which can be seen from their music which reflected the sorrow of losing homes, land, and loved ones.
A Disappointing End • Eventually, the government decided to withdraw from Vietnam in 1973. • Two years later, the Viet Cong would capture the Southern capital and officially win the War. • The War divided the country along various sides (Some blaming the government, others blaming the protestors, etc.)
An Age of Protest • With the government-instatement of a military draft, there were high tensions among young men. • College students were among the most active demonstrators against the war in Vietnam and the draft.
The Anthem of Protest • Folk music was the main stage for protest songs in the sixties. • Artists, such as Bob Dylan, wrote lyrics that called for equality in the US and peace abroad. • This was a response to the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War.
Assassination • President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Lee Harvey Oswald was officially blamed, but was murdered shortly after. This, along with other questionable circumstances, would lead to mass suspicion. • Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated in 1968 by a vigilante named Sirhan, though this has since been disputed. • Also, in 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated by James Earl Ray. This, too has since been disputed, most notably by King’s family.
Musical Response • Dion Dimucci wrote a song which reflected the multiple assassinations that took place during the 1960’s. • He like most folk artists focused on the political and social issues of the time and the assassinations shaped much of the culture that existed in America.
A New Culture • “The hippies have emerged on the U.S. scene in about 18 months as a wholly new subculture, a bizarre permutation of the middle-class American ethos from which it evolved. Hippies preach altruism and mysticism, honesty, joy and nonviolence. They find an almost childish fascination in beads, blossoms and bells, blinding strobe lights and ear-shattering music, exotic clothing and erotic slogans.” • Time, 1967
Flower Power • Hippies emerged in American Society in the mid-1960s. • They preached love and peace. They were against the Vietnam War. • The hippies were well known for their experimentation with drugs, such as LSD and marijuana. • Psychedelic rock was the soundtrack for this generation. It often reflected drug-induced “trips” through the use of feedback, electronics, and intense volume.
Discussion • Even though the Civil Rights movement took place 40 years ago is there still lingering hatred toward other races? Why? • The response to Vietnam was centered around college students. Do you think that Mount St. Mary’s and other colleges of today protest similarly to those in the 60s? Why or Why not?