Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Sixties- Counterculture Part II

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

There was so much going on in the '60s.  It was like a crazy quilt and trying to make sense of the decade can be mind boggling.  We witnessed a shared history that was filtered by our life's experiences.  To some the decade of the sixties was all about rock and roll, drugs, and free love (helped along with the pill) as a protest to conservatism and social repression of earlier years.

To others it was the rise of feminism: burning bras, ditching restrictive girdles, and trying find a ladder to climb up and break the glass ceiling. Others spent part of the '60s protesting and marching against the war in Vietnam, leading to the downfall of President Johnson. Still, others were immersed in the civil rights movement, marching, sitting in at lunch counters, and riding the bus to freedom.  It was an exciting and radical decade.  Somehow many of these causes, while separate, intersected and built to a huge crescendo by the end of the decade. Remember the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago?  That was wild.

My Aunt Osie in the 60s
What did we do during the 60s?  We missed the wild side of the sixties. I was never a flower child, we didn't do drugs, and didn't go to Woodstock.  Our chief focus was the civil rights movement, raising our young family, and working hard to achieve the so-called American Dream.  However, we were like Rosa Parks, tired of being at the back of the bus. The seminal event of the '60s to us was King's March on Washington where he delivered his prophetic I Have A Dream Speech.

Rosa Parks was one of the gentlest women I've ever met.  She was also composed and friendly.
We were old enough to understand the power and passion of his speech, and young enough to have hope and optimism for the future.  We were on the cusp of a new way of life for Black Americans. Our parents, who were born in the late 1800s, did not have the same confidence.  They had seen too much and been the recipients of many broken promises and prejudices.

The Sixties changed America and the world.  A blog is not the place to rewrite an entire decade, and much of what happened outside of my home is a blur because teaching school (sometimes two shifts), working on my master's degree, and being a mom/housewife took all of my energy.  Sometimes I was overwhelmed.  My husband was a school superintendent in the southern suburbs, worked on his Ph.D at Northwestern in the northern suburbs, and we lived in the city.  It was tough for both of us, but worth every minute.

Central State Alumni Club picnic in the 60s

Easter was a big Day.  You dressed in your best.  Sons Corey and Cam with me.

My mother with four of her 10 brothers and sisters.  The aunt on the far right is still alive and well at 102.

David and his daddy in the '60s

The Moody Clan in Louisiana, late '60s for my husband's mother funeral.  He had six brothers and two sisters.
The 60s impacted the entire world.
  • Africa awoke and 32 nations received their independence from colonialism.
  • The first African America mayor of a major American city was elected.
  • James Meredith registered at Ole Miss.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. won a Nobel Peace Prize.  He was the second African American to win it, Ralph Bunche in 1950 was the first.
  • A wave of assassinations threaten to disrupt the movement.
  • Thurgood Marshall was appointed to the Supreme Court.
  • Sidney Poitier won an Oscar for Lilies of the Field.
  • Bill Cosby starred in a TV series, I Spy.
The times were a-changing.


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  2. Again, your post makes me stop and think about the world around me and the things that have happened which make this world a better place. Beautifully written. What an amazing time to have lived through.

    I enjoyed the pictures, especially the Easter one. You look lovely and so classy in your hat! I always dress up for Easter, that's how I was raised and was shocked when I got married and my husband's family would wear sweat pants to the family functions.

  3. Wonderful and thoughtful post, as usual, Christella. Love the picture with your sons. You were a real beauty. The 60s were good times for me, as I was in high school. Many memories...mostly good. Keep writing!

  4. A lovely post, I enjoyed visiting your blog and I look forward to stopping by often. Wishing you happiness, Katherine

  5. I hope you're going to make a book of these memories. I guess Blogger has a way you can publish your blog to a book.

    When my children ask about the 60's, I tell them I missed them (as far as protests, marijuana, and Woodstock) because I was studying classical music. I sometimes wish I'd been more of a Hippie.

  6. There's an award for you on my blog! (Don't worry, you don't have to do anything with it, just know I enjoy your blog!)

  7. Awesome.... Too many thoughts, experiences, memories stimiulated by this reflection on the sixties. I wrote a Reflection on the Sixties for a book once... Maybe I can find it and share sometime.
    Be well... keep on keepin' on.