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Preservation Society

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Preserving the Sixties

Abstract

In political terms, 1968 began on 5 January with the Prague Spring and was dominated by a growing violence linked to various civil rights movements. On 17 March, 80,000 anti-Vietnam War demonstrators clashed with police outside the American Embassy on London’s Grosvenor Square, leading to 200 arrests and nearly 90 injuries. An eye-witness to the event, Mick Jagger was inspired to write the song ‘Street-Fighting Man’ (1968). On 20 April, Enoch Powell gave his divisive Birmingham speech, more commonly known as the ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, which would later be satirized by Paul McCartney in the Beatles’ song ‘Get Back’ (1969). In his book, Ray Davies: Not Like Everyone Else (2007), Thomas M. Kitts writes about the reception of the Powell speech:

Anxious about the radical assault [Powell’s supporters] had witnessed on all kinds of social and political issues launched by the young, women, and minorities and frightened that the race riots of America would soon come to Britain, they rallied in support of Powell while others rallied in opposition … Many, besides Powell, believed they were living through the collapse of western culture and its once sustaining traditions and comforting morality.

(Kitts, 2007, p. 105)

The year was also marked by the general strike in France in May and by two assassinations: Martin Luther King on 4 April and Robert F. Kennedy on 5 June.

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© 2014 Raphael Costambeys-Kempczynski

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Costambeys-Kempczynski, R. (2014). Preservation Society. In: Harris, T., Castro, M.O. (eds) Preserving the Sixties. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137374103_11

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137374103_11

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, London

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-349-47682-4

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-137-37410-3

  • eBook Packages: Palgrave History CollectionHistory (R0)

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