The revealing moments of counterculture in San Francisco 1960 – 1967
In Post War World, following the unimaginable death and destruction of the World War 2, the American youth were on the lookout for something more. The introduction of cheap cars and vehicles may have promoted an ever-growing rotation of inter-state migration but once place became a bastion of the counterculture movement: San Francisco.
America was economically thriving after the war, industrial growth and commercial development left much of the youth born during or shortly after the war financially better off than many had ever been before them. However, with the beginning of the Beat movement, instead of rejoicing about their burgeoning wealth they felt isolated and in general ‘turned off’ by the idea of building a family and life as their parents had. They wanted something more.
They started to rally around some common ideals for the new counterculture movement—peace, free love, experimentation, and racial equality—using their new distinction as ‘hippies’ to continue to promote these ideals. But they did so on the road. There was no point trying to implement these new monumental ideals in your backwater town, you had to take your plans on the road and in the ’60s all roads led to San Francisco.
The city, which had for years played host to not only the counterculture movement but for icons of the generation such as Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, The Grateful Dead, had now become a Mecca for every young rebel in the country. It had an open policy to those of different colour or creed, or sexuality and being by the sea made it very easy to mix cultures in the crucible of the city. Thus, filled with the daring ideas of the youth of America, its creativity poured into the US like a saccharine wine, offering the sweetest berries of social progression, art, and music with the undeniable drowsiness of heavy drugs.
It was here, in San Francisco during the 1960s that the image of the counterculture movement and ‘hippie’ culture became crystallised. In the photos below you can have a small glimpse into what life would’ve been like in one of the most liberal cities the world has ever known.