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War, rev­o­lution, riots, assassins, rights, men on the moon – this was the 1960s.

This was the era in which Vietnam rattled with gunfire and burned with napalm as American sol­diers battled the com­munist Viet Kong, while on the shores of the U.S., young men pub­licly incin­erated their draft cards.

Martin Luther King Jr. declared the dream he had for his children and the children of America — to “not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their char­acter” — atop the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

In 1961, Pres­ident John F. Kennedy promised to put an American on the moon before the end of the decade. Two years later, in Dallas, Texas, he was shot fatally in the head and neck.

In 1969, over all the noise and the riots, Neil Arm­strong stepped into the dark solitude of space, his boot imprinting into lunar dust.

Now, in 2018, we take a look back.

“It is the duty of every citizen to know his country’s history,” Director of the Center for Con­structive Alter­na­tives Matt Bell said. “Much can be learned from studying his­torical periods of turmoil and change.”

On Jan. 28, the 1960s Center for Con­structive Alter­na­tives will begin, bringing per­spective and insight to the 167 stu­dents reg­is­tered on why this rev­o­lu­tionary decade is closer to the present day than younger gen­er­a­tions might expect.

Darryl Hart, dis­tin­guished asso­ciate pro­fessor of history at Hillsdale College, grew up during the 1960s.

“It’s hard for me to think that for someone like me the 1960s is about as far in the past as FDR was. It’s still fresh in my mind,” he said.

Despite the dis­tance, Hart said this era is an important time.

“I guess I would like stu­dents to gain a sense of freshness of how important the ’60s were, and to gain a taste of it in as many flavors as pos­sible,” said Hart, who will sit on the CCA’s faculty round-table on Jan. 31. “It’s a fas­ci­nating time in U.S. history.”

Throughout the 1960s, people marched in the streets for the causes such as civil rights. A broad political group known as the New Left began to form, which advo­cated for con­cepts such as abortion rights, drug reform, envi­ron­men­talism, and the revi­tal­ization of Marxism.

Although not wholly similar to the civil rights move­ments, modern-day social justice activism, from fourth-wave fem­i­nists to members of Black Lives Matter, can be traced back to the 1960s.

“All of those I think have roots,” said Peter Blum, director of soci­ology and social thought at Hillsdale and fellow member of the faculty round-table.

“It was in the 1960s, I think, that people really began to talk in some of the ways we’re now used to talking about: some very general areas of con­tro­versy, and areas having to do with social change, tech­no­logical change, the effects of con­tem­porary society on a lot of tra­di­tional emphases that we tend to value around here,” Blum said.

Such tra­di­tional emphases would include America’s con­ser­v­ative notions of sex with the rise of the Sexual Rev­o­lution, which would make con­tra­cep­tives and abortion easier on the American social palate.

Hart rem­i­nisced about the impact of the Sexual Rev­o­lution on movie audi­ences.

“My parents didn’t really want me to go to movies,” he said. “I bent the rules there and I went to movies that they didn’t approve of. I, like most Amer­icans, came to think that one-night stands and hook up cul­tures were fairly normal, although I do still dis­ap­prove of it.”

The pop­u­lar­ization of casual sex in media would be further developed by the erotic film industry of the 1970s, during which X‑rated films such as “Last Tango in Paris” were pro­duced. However, mil­len­nials might be better acquainted with main­stream internet porn, the enter­tainment media’s hyper­bolic por­trayal of promis­cuity among teenagers, and the widely con­sumed (and harshly crit­i­cized) erotic novel, “50 Shades of Grey.”

“I guess you could argue con­ser­vatism was, in some ways, orga­nizing itself or had to respond to the crises created by the ’60s,” Hart said.

Blum agreed.

“We wouldn’t have con­ser­vatism, as it exists now, without the New Left.”