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1967 - Summr of Love

Summer of Love - some 100,000 hippies gathered in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco to celebrate the counter-culture ethos, challenging society's expectations through rock n roll, psychadelic drugs and free love

The San Francisco neighborhood of Haight-Ashbury became the hub of the counterculture by 1967 after property values plummeted and its older, middle-class citizens made a frenzied dash for the suburbs. The newly low rents attracted beatniks and disaffected student communities in what was nothing less than an invasion.

The hippies came by Volkswagen bus, by thumb, and by foot, armed largely with their idealism and the flowers in their hair. They sought to promote peace and love, tuning in and dropping out.

Record stores openly sold psychedelic drugs right beside their LPs. Exotic wares began filling the streets, representing a hodgepodge of creative interests and identities. All in all, some 100,000 people by some estimates descended on Haight-Ashbury and made it the capital of a counterculture movement that was just then reaching its tipping point.

Kicking off 1967 — and setting the tone for the Summer of Love — was the Human Be-In, a music festival/pro-LSD rally in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park on Jan. 14. The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane performed, poet Allen Ginsberg chanted, and LSD advocates Timothy Leary and Owsley Stanley handed out their wares.. People from all backgrounds came together to protest the Vietnam War and to celebrate love — in short, to ramp up the revolution.

Six months after the Human Be-In, June's Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival virtually set the prototype for almost every music festival to follow. Held on the south face of Mount Tamalpais north of San Francisco, the show featured musicians such as Canned Heat, Jefferson Airplane, and The Doors. In true environmentally responsible fashion, all litter was picked up and binned at the end of it all, leaving the lovely Mount Tamalpais as they found it.

Later that same month, the Monterey International Pop Music Festival further established the connection between music, drugs, and mass outdoor gatherings that were quickly coming to define the burgeoning hippie movement. The likes of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin performed for as many as 90,000 people and the Summer of Love was truly now underway in ways that would resonate throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and across America.


Further Reading


Vanity Fair - LSD, Ecstasy and Utopianism: Hoe the Summer of Love All Began

New York Times - Summer of Love, Summer of War

Stripes - Love, Protest, Music and Madness

Timeline - The I conic Summer of Love in San Francisco

BuzzFeed - Far out Images from the Summer of Love

1967 - Ant war protests

Anti-War Demonstrations - as the war drags on, more and more Americans grow weary of mounting casualties and escalating costs. The antiwar movement grew with 100,000 protesters descending on Washington and marching on the Pentagon, pressuring American leaders to reconsider its commitment

The Vietnam War was costing the U.S. some $25 billion per year, and disillusionment was beginning to reach greater sections of the taxpaying public. More casualties were reported in Vietnam every day, even as U.S. commanders demanded more troops. Under the draft system, as many as 40,000 young men were called into service each month, adding fuel to the fire of the anti-war movement.

Establishment voices, including Senator Robert Kennedy and the influential columnist Walter Lippmann, spoke out against the war. Senator J. William Fulbright held televised hearings that brought antiwar views directly into American homes. Throughout 1966 and 1967, leaders from politics, science, medicine, academia, entertainment, the press and even business announced their opposition to the war.

Large protests sprang up across the country. In April 1967, a milestone was reached when 500,000 demonstrated against the war in New York, the largest such gathering in history. Self-interested draft avoidance evolved into morally driven draft resistance. The thousands of young men, including Muhammad Ali, unwilling to kill and ready to sacrifice themselves to incarceration or a life of exile moved people of all ages. Their cause inspired others to more forcefully oppose the war.

At the same time, a growing split between protest and resistance became evident. On Oct. 21, 1967, 100,000 people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington for a demonstration. But this time, 50,000 broke away to join the illegal March on the Pentagon, more Americans ready to commit nonviolent civil disobedience than at any time in history. Thousands broke through military police lines, and a few even penetrated the Pentagon itself. Hundreds were arrested, many of them younger, angrier and more frustrated than the men and women who had led the first wave of opposition.

Protesters attempted to shut down induction centers in Berkeley, Calif., and New York City. Troop trains were impeded. Campus protesters blocked access to military and C.I.A. recruiters. Clergy members dumped blood on draft records. Hippie organizers manipulated the media with attention-getting stunts.


Racism became a focus when it was revealed that blacks were drafted, assigned to combat units and killed at rates significantly higher than whites were. Martin Luther King Jr. went public with his opposition to the war on these moral grounds, also condemning the war’s diversion of federal funds from domestic programs.


Further Reading


The Guardian - How This 1967 Vietnam War Protest Carried the Seeds of American Division

New York Times - When Martin Luther King Came Out Against Vietnam

San Francisco Chronicle - Vietnam War Protest and Police Savagery in Oakland

1967 - Race Riots

Race Riots - major American cities erupted in flames and fury as a series of race riots shook the nation to its core

The civil disturbances of 1967 showed that relations between blacks and whites were in some ways as toxic as ever and America had not yet moved beyond its original sin of slavery. The hopes of African-Americans for a better future were eroding because of poverty, unemployment, prejudice and police violence--all despite a campaign for racial justice led by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Progress, in the view of many black Americans, was proceeding too slowly and they were in no mood to be patient any longer.

The rioting of '67 showed with vivid clarity how far America had to go and how dangerous the racial climate had become. In this sense, '67 was a harbinger, marked by riots July 12-17 in Newark, New Jersey, where 26 people died, July 14 in Plainfield, New Jersey, July 19 in Minneapolis, July 23-27 in Detroit, July 20-Aug. 3 in Milwaukee, just to name a few. The Detroit rioting was the worst of all, with 43 people killed and hundreds injured. 

A particular pattern emerged: What usually ignited the powder keg of resentments was police brutality or abuse. Triggering the rioting in Newark was an incident on the hot summer night of July 12 in which police arrested John Smith, an African-American taxi driver, pulling him roughly from his cab during a traffic stop. The cops beat Smith and dragged him into the nearby Fourth Precinct station. Hundreds of residents watched from a large public housing project and an angry crowd quickly gathered outside the police building. A false rumor swirled through the streets that Smith had been killed, adding to the outrage.

Residents were too angry for restraint, and violence ensued, as people began throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails, and fires began to spread. Police at the precinct station suddenly came charging out into the crowd with night sticks, shields and riot gear. The people in the street reacted with violence of their own.

This marked the beginning of five days of rioting. Overall, 26 people died; more than 700 were injured, and 1,500 were arrested,. Many stores were burned and looted. When a policeman was killed, the governor sent in the National Guard and ordered the troops to use their weapons if they saw fit. The soldiers massed on some streets to block access and keep people from entering the riot areas or moving from one neighborhood to another. It was an urban nightmare, shown worldwide and across the nation on television. A governor's commission found later that most of the deaths were caused by police weapons and the rifles of the National Guard.

The causes of the rioting ran deep. It was sparked by long-standing anger about policy brutality and also by a sense of hopelessness about unemployment, poverty, bad schools, low rates of home ownership and poor social services, according to city officials and neighborhood leaders. All of this was exacerbated by the fact that the Newark power structure, including the police and the city government, was controlled by whites who seemed to have little understanding of, or concern for, the black community. 

A more lethal riot occurred in Detroit starting on July 23. It was so severe and the consequences so far-reaching that it is remembered in the community as the Detroit Rebellion of 1967, and it is one of the largest civil disturbances in U.S. history.  When all was said and done, 43 people died, 33 of them black, and 342 were injured. More than 7,000 were arrested; 1,700 stores were looted, and nearly 1,400 buildings were burned. About 5,000 people were left homeless. 

The urban catastrophe began, as in Newark, with a police action that residents felt went too far. At 3:35 a.m. Sunday, July 23, cops raided an unlicensed bar and nightclub at the corner of 12th and Clairmount. The streets were full of people trying to stay cool in the stifling heat. A party was going on at the club to celebrate the return of two black servicemen from Vietnam, and tempers flared when police roughed up some patrons who were being arrested.

As the police hauled revelers to the local precinct for booking, the crowd of African-Americans swelled and the antagonism between the white cops and the local residents escalated. There were rumors that the police were using excessive force inside the precinct and had severely beaten one of the women who was arrested. Someone threw a brick or a bottle through the rear window of a police car, and there was an explosion of burglaries, break-ins and fires.

The cops were vastly outnumbered and, since it was very early in the morning, few officers were on duty to quell the uprising. Mayor Jerome Cavanagh, hoping to ease tensions, ordered police not to shoot looters, but his restraint actually increased the break-ins and thefts, authorities said. Many hours later, the Michigan State Police and the National Guard arrived, but by then the rioting was out of hand and spreading. Local residents used their own weapons to shoot at police and other law enforcement officers, and snipers hindered fire fighters attempting to extinguish the many blazes around Detroit.

Finally, on Tuesday, July 25, nearly 2,000 Army paratroopers arrived, ordered to the scene by President Johnson at the request of Gov. George Romney. It took two more days to restore order and on July 27 the rioting finally stopped. But for years the city suffered from the flight of affluent whites to the suburbs, declining overall population, deterioration of its tax base and a harsh reputation as a city that didn't work and where racial animosities were intense.


Further Reading


BuzzFeed - This Is How Disturbing the 1967 Detroit Riots Really Were

New York Times - Five Days of Unrest That Shaped and Haunted Newark

Timeline - The Long Hot Summer

Death of Che Guevara - socialist revolutionary and guerilla leader Che Guevara is killed by the Bolivian army

His leg riddled with bullets, his gun knocked out of his hand, Ernesto “Che” Guevara surrendered. “Do not shoot! I am Che Guevara and worth more to you alive than dead,” he said as U.S.-trained Bolivian forces closed in.


The Argentine-born doctor and Marxist rebel leader who helped Fidel Castro seize power in Cuba was finally captured after 2 1/2 years of living in secrecy.


Guevara, the beret-wearing guerrilla leader who had led firing squads after the Communist victory in Cuba, had abruptly resigned from his government posts and left Cuba to spread the revolution in Africa and South America. But the missions, including the one to arouse an uprising in Bolivia, were all but doomed. On that afternoon of Oct. 8, 1967, Guevara was taken prisoner and carried by soldiers to a one-room schoolhouse in the town of La Higuera in Bolivia, about four miles away from where he was captured.

Félix Rodríguez, a Cuban American CIA operative posing as a Bolivian military officer, would find him covered in dirt inside that schoolhouse the next day. His hair was matted, his clothes were torn and filthy, and his arms and feet were bound. The U.S. government wanted him alive to be interrogated, but Bolivian leaders decided that Guevara must be executed, fearing a public trial would only garner him sympathy. The official story would be that he was killed in battle.

“I looked at him straight in the face, and I just told him, you are going to die ... He looked straight to me and said: ‘It’s better this way. I should have never been captured alive,’ ” Rodríguez recalled. Then Rodríguez left, ordering a soldier to shoot below the neck because that would fit the official story that Guevara had died in combat.

Guevara’s last words were to Sgt. Jaime Terán, the soldier ordered to shoot him: “I know you’ve come to kill me. Shoot, you are only going to kill a man.”

An Oct. 12, 1967, US State Department report, titled “Guevara’s Death — The Meaning for Latin America,” described Guevara as “the foremost tactician of the Cuban revolutionary strategy” who “will be eulogized as the model revolutionary who met a heroic death.” That prediction materialized a week later, when Castro delivered a eulogy to a massive crowd at Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución.

“They are mistaken who believe that his death is the defeat of his ideas, the defeat of his tactics, the defeat of his guerrilla concepts,” Castro said.


Further Reading


Time - Original Report on the Death of Che Guevara

The Guardian - Che Guevara Legacy Still Contentious 50 Years After his Death in Bolivia

1967 - Death of Che Guevara

6 Day War - war breaks out between Israel and its Arab neighbours, resulting in a resounding victory for the Israelis, significantly altering the map of the Mideast and compounding lingering geopolitical frictions

A series of border disputes were the major spark for the Six-Day War. By the mid-1960s, Syrian-backed Palestinian guerillas had begun staging attacks across the Israeli border, provoking reprisal raids from the Israel Defense Forces. In April 1967, the skirmishes worsened after Israel and Syria fought a ferocious air and artillery engagement in which six Syrian fighter jets were destroyed.

In the wake of the April air battle, the Soviet Union provided Egypt with intelligence that Israel was moving troops to its northern border with Syria in preparation for a full-scale invasion. The information was inaccurate, but it nevertheless stirred Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser into action. In a show of support for his Syrian allies, he ordered Egyptian forces to advance into the Sinai Peninsula, where they expelled a UN peacekeeping force that had been guarding the border with Israel for over a decade.

In the days that followed, Nasser continued to rattle the saber: On May 22, he banned Israeli shipping from the Straits of Tiran, the sea passage connecting the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba. A week later, he sealed a defense pact with King Hussein of Jordan.

On June 5, 1967, the Israel Defense Forces launched a preemptive strike on Egypt. That morning, 200 aircraft took off from Israel and caught the Egyptians by surprise, assaulting 18 different airfields and eliminating 90 percent of the Egyptian air force as it sat on the ground. Israel then expanded the range of its attack and decimated the air forces of Jordan, Syria and Iraq. By the end of the day on June 5, Israeli pilots had won full control of the skies over the Middle East.


Israel all but secured victory by establishing air superiority, but fierce fighting continued for several more days. The ground war in Egypt began on June 5. In concert with the air strikes, Israeli tanks and infantry stormed across the border and into the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip.

Egyptian forces put up a spirited resistance, but later fell into disarray after Field Marshal Abdel Hakim Amer ordered a general retreat. Over the next several days, Israeli forces pursued the routed Egyptians across the Sinai, inflicting severe casualties.

A second front in the Six-Day War opened on June 5, when Jordan – reacting to false reports of an Egyptian victory – began shelling Israeli positions in Jerusalem. Israel responded with a devastating counterattack on East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

On June 7, Israeli troops captured the Old City of Jerusalem and celebrated by praying at the Western Wall.

The last phase of the fighting took place along Israel’s northeastern border with Syria. On June 9, following an intense aerial bombardment, Israeli tanks and infantry advanced on a heavily fortified region of Syria called the Golan Heights. They successfully captured the Golan the next day.

On June 10, 1967, a United Nations-brokered ceasefire took effect and the Six-Day War came to an abrupt end. It was later estimated that some 20,000 Arabs and 800 Israelis had died in just 132 hours of fighting. The leaders of the Arab states were left shocked by the severity of their defeat. Egyptian President Nasser even resigned in disgrace, only to promptly return to office after Egyptian citizens showed their support with massive street demonstrations.


In Israel, the national mood was jubilant. In less than a week, the young nation had captured the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria.

The Six-Day War had momentous geopolitical consequences in the Middle East. Victory in the war led to a surge of national pride in Israel, which had tripled in size, but it also fanned the flames of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Still wounded by their defeat in the Six-Day War, Arab leaders met in Khartoum, Sudan, in August 1967, and signed a resolution that promised “no peace, no recognition and no negotiation” with Israel.


Further Reading


BBC - 1967 War: Six Days that Changed the Middle East

Jewish Virtual Library - Israel’s Wars & Operations: The Six-Day War

Magnum - The Six Day War

1967 - 6 Day War
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