Thursday, May 4, 2017

Belle Isle Love-In

As seemingly everybody gears up to mark 50 years since Detroit erupted in what is described as a "riot," and "uprising," and a "rebellion," we risk forgetting one of the signature events in the run-up to that hot week in July: The Belle Isle Love-In. 

What's a "Love-In"? For those who don't know, it's a peaceful kind of protest that involves meditation, lovemaking, and a sprinkling of illicit substances. The term was coined by a Los Angeles radio personality, and a wave of Love-Ins quickly swept the country, as hippies sought inventive ways to protest the Vietnam War and have a little fun at the same time. 

The prime movers here in Detroit were John Sinclair and his confreres at the Detroit Artists Workshop, who obtained a permit for said event from none other than the Detroit Police Department. And on April 30, 1967, thousands of hippies and fellow travelers arrived on the island for several hours of singing, dancing, and probably a little bit of doobie-smoking as well.


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