Left to Right: Radical Movements of the 1960s

Apr 02, 2011

New exhibit opens April 2 at LBJ Library

Final image visitors will see is a political cartoon created by Pulitzer Prize – winning cartoonist Ben Sargent exclusively for the exhibit.

Left to Right: Radical Movements of the 1960s
The upheavals and social disturbances that characterized the 1960s, clashes of generations, races, genders, cultural values, and political beliefs, appeared to have no end. Slogans from the movements became rallying cries: Yippie, Women's Lib, Silent Majority, Black Power, States' Rights, Make Love Not War, Generation Gap, and No Grapes.

The upheavals and social disturbances that characterized the 1960s, clashes of generations, races, genders, cultural values, and political beliefs, appeared to have no end. Slogans from the movements became rallying cries: Yippie, Women's Lib, Silent Majority, Black Power, States' Rights, Make Love Not War, Generation Gap, and No Grapes.

Editorial cartoonist Ben Sargent, who drew an iconic portrayal of the struggles between the movements, describes what visitors will see as the final image of the new exhibit, "From all the vast cast of characters on the political stage of the '60s, we picked a few from the left and from the right who epitomized the highly energized public discourse of those revolutionary days, tugging on the flag whose American principles both sides thought they were fighting to preserve."

Sandor Cohen is Curator of the exhibit. "The social and political divisions that existed in the 1960s are hard to imagine today," said Cohen. "But we, as a nation, survived this traumatic time…proving, once again, that freedom of expression is our greatest and most enduring strength."

As the 1970s took hold, however, wholesale changes resulting from the radical movements of the 1960s clearly created a different world than the one which preceded it. On the left, the movements against racial and gender discrimination ultimately moved society toward a more tolerant view of equality in the workplace, the home, and human relationships. On the right, the rise of mainstream conservatism as a major political movement -primarily espousing traditional values, individual freedom, and smaller government -became the dominant political force in the 1980s and 1990s.

The radical movements which sprung to life in the 1960s were emblematic of the political and social divides that existed in that time period. Were they necessary? Were they inevitable? How did they influence our society, and what is their legacy?

Left to Right: Radical Movements of the 1960s examines the impact both then and now.