How Counterculture Changed American Culture

955 Words4 Pages
American counterculture is the rejection of conventional social norms. Usually counterculture is expressed by a subculture of people who have different ideals from mainstream society. From the 1950’s through the end of the 1970’s some of the social norms included racial segregation, the Vietnam War, and materialism. Through outspoken writings and loud rock concerts, American counterculture was loudly expressed and changed America to what it is today. The Beat generation was a group of authors who explored and influenced American culture through literature in the post-World War II era. The Beat writers were prominent in the 1950’s and their culture included experiencing with new drugs, exploring new Eastern religions, and rejecting materialism. One of the more well-known Beat poets was Allen Ginsberg, who wrote the poem “Howl” to celebrate the counterculture of the 1950’s where he saw “the best minds of the generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked” (Howl, line 1) were rebelling against money, authorities, capitalism,…show more content…
Washington too believed in America, but in a slightly different way. The story of his life, growing up as a slave and becoming one of the most powerful African American public figures by the end of the 1800’s, shows the idea of the American Dream. He stressed hard work and perseverance to African Americans in order to rise up as he did. As expressed through his speech later entitled the “Atlanta Compromise”, Washington believed that black people should not speak out against racial oppression in turn for education in vocational trades. In his speech, Washington said that “No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.” (Atlanta Compromise, 4) He believed that these self-help skills would make the African American population a stronger workforce and therefore enable them to earn money and elevate themselves through hard work and purchase of material
Open Document