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The 1960's Hippies
Who Were the Hippies
Hippies were part of a youth movement, composed mostly of white
teenagers and young adults between the ages of 15 and 25 years-old.
Inheriting a tradition of cultural dissent from the bohemians and the
beatniks, hippies rebelled against established institutions, criticized
middle class values, opposed the Vietnam War, embraced aspects of
non-Judeo-Christian religions, promoted sexual liberation, and created
intentional communities, leading some to describe hippies as a new
religious movement. Hippies were against "political and social
orthodoxy", choosing a "gentle and nondoctrinaire" politics that favored
"peace, love, and personal freedom."
Origin of the word "Hippy"
Reminiscing about late 1940s Harlem in his 1964 autobiography,
Malcolm X referred to the word hippy as a term African Americans used to
describe a specific type of white man who "acted more Negro than
On 5 September 1965, the first use of the word hippie appeared in print. In an article entitled "A New Haven for Beatniks," San Francisco journalist Michael Fallon wrote about the Blue Unicorn coffeehouse, using the term hippie to refer to the new generation of beatniks who had moved from North Beach into the Haight. Fallon reportedly came up with the name by condensing Norman Mailer's use of the word, "hipster" into "hippie". The name did not catch on in the mass media until almost two years later, after San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen began using the term hippies in his daily columns.
The earliest San Francisco hippies were former students at San Francisco State College (later renamed San Francisco State University) who had "dropped out" after they started taking psychedelic drugs and began living communally in the large, inexpensive Victorian apartments in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. Young Americans around the country began moving to San Francisco, and by June, 1966, around 15,000 hippies had moved into the Haight.