Summer of Love

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The Summer of Love was a social phenomenon that occurred during summer of 1967, when as many as 100,000 people converged on the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, creating a cultural and political rebellion. While hippies also gathered in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Seattle, Portland, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and across Europe, San Francisco was the center of the hippie revolution,[1] a melting pot of music, psychoactive drugs, sexual freedom, creative expression, and politics. The Summer of Love became a defining moment of the 1960s, as the hippie counterculture movement came into public awareness.[2] This unprecedented gathering of young people is often considered to have been a social experiment, because of alternative lifestyles that became common, both during the summer itself and during subsequent years. These lifestyles included communal living; the free and communal sharing of resources, often among total strangers; and free love.[3]

Ironically, the summer of 1967 also saw some of the worst violence in US cities in the country's history — this was because of the race riots that occurred in places such as Detroit and Newark. This aspect of the summer of 1967 is often called "The Long, Hot Summer". The cause of this violence is generally attributed to racial discrimination against African-Americans and the frustration and anger it inspired in black people.[4][5][6]


Early 1967

Inspired by the Beats of the Fifties, who declared themselves independent from the alleged 'authoritarian order' of America, the Haight-Ashbury 'anti-community' rested on a rejection of American commercialism. Haight residents eschewed the material benefits of modern life, encouraged by the distribution of free food and organized shelter by the Diggers, and the creation of institutions such as the Free Clinic for medical treatment.[7] Psychedelic drug use became but one means to find a 'new reality'. Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir comments:

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