Death of Hippie Parade

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This photo just showed up, taken Oct  6 1967 as the Death of Hippie Parade was winding its way through the Haight after starting out from Buena Vista Park and ending up with the coffin containing artifacts of the media-hyped “hippie” culture burned in ritual observance.

I’ve seen various photos of this Digger event, but never one from this perspective. It appears that Linn (aka Freeman) House is in the front row of the marchers. (White shirt, white pants, and likely wearing sneakers.) Freeman arrived in the Haight-Ashbury in the summer of 1967 after Chester Anderson convinced him that the Communication Company would be at his disposal for any printing ventures he wanted to undertake. Freeman left New York where he had been editing Innerspace Magazine, and by the time he arrived in San Francisco, the ComCo Gestetners had been pressed into service for the newly named Free City Collective. The “wonderful machines” that Chester and Claude had originally acquired through their good offices with Ramparts Magazine were set up in the basement of Willard Street where Freeman and David Simpson would go on to edit the Free City News sheets and broadsides over the next six months.

Freeman House, along with Peter Berg and others, became an important catalyst for the Bioregional Movement which had evolved in part out of the Diggers. Freeman was one of the collective group responsible for developing the model of watershed restoration in their work on the Mattole River in northern California.

Even to today, the term “hippie” is disputed by many of those who were at the birth of the Haight-Ashbury counterculture that spread out in the coming months and years after the events of 1966 onwards. On the other hand, there is a group in the Haight who lead walking tours of the neighborhood who are proud to call themselves hippies. The Diggers’ objection to the word was that it was a media-contrived term, slightly derogatory in its etymology, and a handle that “straight” America could use to stigmatize a generation. The purpose of the “Death of Hippie” event was to announce the birth of Free people instead.

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