Hippies were a group of human rights and equality advocates that became infamous in the 1960s and ’70s. These rebellious youth went against the lifestyle ideals set by their parents and the political establishments of their time.
The hippie movement begun in the United States but quickly spread around the world. Read on for information about hippies and how they fought for human rights and equality.
History Of The Hippie Movement
The hippie movement rose in America around 1967 in response to the oppressive social and political environment of that period. The main beliefs of hippies included oneness with nature, communal living, frugality, free love, experimentation in art and music and the use of recreational drugs. Hippies could be easily identified by their long hair, afros, and psychedelic clothing.
Hippies drew their ideals from many different philosophies and religions. However, they were greatly inspired by two main influences: bohemianism and eastern religion. Bohemianism was a 19th Century European subculture that promoted unconventional lifestyles such as frugality and free love. Eastern Spirituality, on the other hand, focussed on oneness with the universe and other human beings, karma, as well as the pursuit of enlightenment.
The ‘Human Be-In’ San Francisco concert in the summer of 1967 led to the worldwide spread. It was attended by over 30,000 youth from all over the world and widely publicized by the media. The publicity, unfortunately, led to older generations voicing to its promotion of drugs and sexual immorality.
Social Events That Led To Hippie Activism
1960’s America had a lot of turmoil due to civil rights violations against black people and America’s involvement in the Vietnam war. Originally, hippies stayed away from any political fights or commentaries due to their beliefs. However, as the war escalated in Vietnam and the government became more oppressive hippies started taking part in protests and civil acts of disobedience.
Young men publicly rejected and burned their drafts for the Vietnam war. Muhammad Ali was one of the famous figures that refused his government’s call to fight in Vietnam. Consequently, he faced public ridicule and the loss of his championship belt.
How Hippies Fought For Equality?
Hippies held large public protests against the government and also participated in acts of civil disobedience. For example, hippies in colleges around the US held sit-ins on Sundays whereby they gathered together to sing and publicly protest the Vietnam war.
They also took part in draft card burnings whereby they publicly burned their draft cards despite warnings of arrest and imprisonment by the US government.
While Hippies mainly took part in peaceful protests to promote peace and equality, they had a breakaway group called “Yippies” that protested more violently.
Hippie activism directly influenced America’s welfare system, gay rights, and freedom of religious expression. Hippies, through their activities, improved the quality of life of millions of people.