Last class, we briefly touched on the year in which Cotton Comes to Harlem was published, and how this could have influenced its themes. When I think the 60″s, I think good music, peace and love and hippies. However, there was much more to the sixties. Racial tension was rampant, and the KKK was more powerful than ever. One specific case that I found was the 1964 murder of three Civil Rights workers in Mississippi. These workers were leaving jail, after having been arrested for Civil Rights protesting. These deaths sparked outrage and are remembered still as instrumental in the fight for Civil Rights. Behind the hippies, there was violence and injustice, something that Himes pulled from in his novel.
The Hippies were a subculture in the 1960′s that grew out of opposition to the Vietnam War and the resulting draft. They were against established institutions, rejected middle class values, protested nuclear weapons, promoted psychedelic drugs, and created communes. They were pacifists, and often participated in demonstrations like Civil Rights Movement walks, the walks on DC, and anti-Vietnam War demonstrations. In many ways the Hippies came out of a lot of violence, and left us with a good taste in our mouth when in reality it was only the result of a lot of violence. In order for there to be a movement for peace and love, there had to be a time where there was little peace and love available.