Stephen Gaskin, a Marine combat veteran and hippie guru who in 1971 led around 300 followers in a caravan of psychedelically painted school buses from San Francisco to Tennessee to start the Farm, a commune that has outlived most of its countercultural counterparts while spreading good works from Guatemala to the South Bronx, died on Tuesday at his home on the commune, in Summertown, Tenn. He was 79.

Its founder dies, but a hippie commune is still thriving in Tennessee.

Here’s what 8th graders in Louisiana know, for sure, about the 1960s rabble-rousers better known as hippies (emphasis mine):

"They went to Canada or European countries to escape being drafted into military service. They went without bathing, wore dirty, ragged, unconventional clothing, and deliberately broke all codes of politeness or manners. Rock music played an important part in the hippie movement and had great influence over the hippies. Many of the rock musicians they followed belonged to Eastern religious cults or practiced Satan worship.

How do they know it? Because their history textbook — “America: Land I Love” — told them so! Dirty hippie-gate is just one of many reasons the quality of the Louisiana school system’s voucher program has been called into question.


Top: 14th @ Peachtree Street, Atlanta, 1968.

Bottom: “Former hippies gather for a re-creation of the Summer of Love photograph. The area is now dominated by glass towers and corporate power,” 1987.

(via The Strip Project)

Frank Michels writes: “Some of the same acts that had played at Woodstock were there at the Atlanta Pop Festival. I remember seeing Grand Funk Railroad (Mark Farner took his shirt off) and Ten Years After (Goin’ Home!), but the thing that really blew my mind was standing at the lip of the stage, stoned, on the Fourth of July, as fireworks went off and Jimi Hendrix played his ‘Star Spangled Banner.’ That really made an impression on me, and I knew in that moment that someday I was going to stand on a stage and play guitar too.”