Why there was no Autumn of Love
October 29, 2011, 04:11 AM
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A few readers have asked about my assertion below about the causes of the quick collapse of the Haight-Ashbury Summer of Love in 1967 ("If you`re going to San Francisco / Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair" — Johnnie Rotten`s least favorite song of all time, by the way). My source was my recollection of my old Rice U. history professor Allen Matusow`s 1984 book The Unraveling of America: A History of Liberalism in the 1960s. Looking it up, I see that on p. 302, Matusow writes:
Haight-Ashbury was already dying. It`s demise, so similar to the demise of hippie ghettos elsewhere, resulted from official repression, black hostility, and media hype. In San Francisco where city fathers panicked at the prospect of runaway hordes descending upon them, police began routinely roughing up hippies, health officials harassed their communes, and narcotics agents infiltrated the neighborhood. Meanwhile, black hoods from the nearby Fillmore district cruised the streets, threatening rape and violence. Blacks did not like LSD, white kids pretending to be poor, or the fact that Haight-Ashbury was, in the words of a leftover beatnik, "the first segregated Bohemia I`ve ever seen." Longtime residents began staying home after dark. Finally, the beguiling images of Haight-Ashbury marketed by the media attracted not only an invasion of gawking tourists, but a floating population of the unstable, the psychotic, and the criminal. By the end of the year, reported crime in Haight-Ashbury included 17 murders, 100 rapes, and nearly 3,000 burglaries. In October 1967 community leaders staged a pageant called "Death of Hippie."
The most notorious criminal to prey on hippie chicks in the San Francisco Bay area in 1967 was white: Charles Manson.