Summary | Bob Dylan | Betty Friedan
Colleges were filling up with students at an especially high rate during this time. But graduation no longer meant a stable job and a nice home. The threat of the war hung like a dark cloud over the lives of Americans.
Still, the economy was performing well, still high on the post World War II boom. New technologies were beginning to saturate the market and for the firs ttime, mass media and commercial selling were spurred on by disposable income in the suburbs.
As the decade wore on, there became a sense of angst in the air. From the war to civil rights to the outright abandonment of authority, youth set out to find a new path to tread upon.
There were drugs to lead the way. Psychedelics were unleashed on the population. Marijuana became the drug of choice for rallies and protests across the nation. Heroin made its emerged as well. For the first time since Prohibition ended, people were openly enjoying and engaging in drugs.
This was a time of freedom, marked with large gatherings and concerts. In a time of revolution and sadness, the counter-culture looked into the future in hopes of finding a place where the madness could end.
Bob Dylan (1941-)
After playing in relative obscurity, Dylan released his second album "Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" in 1963 which contained the hit "Blowin' in the Wind," a song that immediately captured the hearts and spirits of the Vietnam War protestors. His next venture, "Times They Are A-Changin'", established him as the premiere protest singer of the sixties.
But in 1965, Dylan became more than just a folk singer. At the Newport Folk Festival, he plugged in his guitar and amidst a mixture of stunned silence and rousting chortles, Dylan forever transformed rock-n-roll. Over the next year, his music would bring blues into his fusion rock as his popularity rebounded from the Newport hit and skyrocketed.
In 1966, he was nearly killed in a motorcycle accident, causing him to drop completely out of the music and cultural scene for two years. When he resurfaced, he had again changed his tune. Now sporting a soulful country sound, Dylan released Nashville Skyline, an album that included a duet with legend Johnny Cash.
Although now out of the political arena, Dylan's music continued to speak to an expanding generation of Americans who c ame of age during the most tumultuous time in our nation's history. Through his music and his words, a nation was able to express the pain, grief, anger and joy that oftentimes appeared to have no outlet.
Betty Friedan (1921-)  (return to top)
She went on to form the National Organization for Women in 1966 and served as its president until 1970. The same year, she organized a nationwide Women's Strike For Equality. Friedan also helped organize the National Women's Political Caucus in 1970. Both events helped further the women's liberation movement.
A later book, The Second Stage (1981), evaluated the progress of feminism. She argued that feminists need to reclaim the family and bring more men into the movement by addressing child care, parental leave and flexible work schedules.
Her most recent book, The Fountain of Age , (1993) is an affirmation of the vitality of old age. Friedan has remained true to her beliefs, continuing to challenge stereotypes along the way.