The 1960s were an amazing time—amazingly inspiring and amazingly violent. As humanity soared to new heights, and landed a man on the moon, we also sunk to new depths, exploring the seafloor and making new discoveries there as well. During this divided decade, youth and the counterculture battled their elders and the establishment. The 1960s, as has no other decade, “changed the popular culture of the United States dramatically and permanently. The decade was a wild and heady ride, sometimes agonizingly sad, on occasion simply foolish, but seldom boring. Above all it was a time to be young" (Rielly, 2003, p. xiii)
JFK in a speech in July 1960 said: “we stand today on the edge of a new frontier—the frontier of the 1960s, a frontier of unknown opportunities and perils, a frontier of unfulfilled hopes and threats” (Bowen, 1970b, p. 25). We were indeed on the edge, the question was: would we go down in flames, and if so, could we rise from the ashes? As Norman Mailer said of this period: “America’s need in those years was to take an existential turn, to walk into the nightmare, to face that terrible logic of history that demanded the country and its people must become extraordinary and more adventurous or else perish” (Jennings & Brewster, 1998, p. 368). With this overview of the decade in mind let us tke a closer look at the 1960s.