This is the fifth installment of an eight-part series by Alex Young – Graduate of the University of Guelph-Humber
By Alex Young
Summary of Findings
Ultimately the Doors were seen as artistic leaders of the hippie movement in America because they were artistically responding to major events that were changing American life.
The Doors symbolically addressed events such as the Vietnam War, the women’s liberation movement, the civil rights movement and violence in America by addressing them in their music. The Doors supported the civil rights movement through their music by being so influenced by the blues and country music of the south and obviously weren’t bigots or they would hate all of the artists that helped them carve out their sound. After listening to all six studio albums, Morrison never talks about any of the females in his music in a negative light, often referring to them as “Queens” or “princesses”, like in the songs “LA Woman”, “Riders on the Storm”, “20th Century Fox” or “Queen of the Highway”.
The hippies were also one of the first group of white people to begin protesting against racial segregation laws in the south during the 1960’s which mainly affected black. Skip Stone is a hippie anthropologist recalled the reaction to hippie protests in the early 1960’s against racial segregation laws by saying, “Civil rights and anti-nuclear protests often included marches, sit-ins, speeches and songs by famous people, signs with slogans, and chants. These protests were always marked by peaceful intent. If things got ugly it was usually due to police tactics or violent counter-demonstrations (by such organizations as the KKK). The SDS, Students for a Democratic Society, got its feet wet in these early demonstrations. They would later organize anti-war campus protests around the country.” The violent reactions to hippie and youth protests to political and social injustices came to a climax on May 4th in 1970 when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on the peaceful protesters, killing four and wounding nine. The incident at Kent State showed the true injustice of how members of Hippie Culture were treated when they were simply trying to get their fellow Americans to re-evaluate their personal stance on the war in Vietnam. Peaceful Hippie protests could not have come during a bigger time of change than they did in 1960’s while John F. Kennedy was in the office dealing with the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and later on, the Vietnam War.