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The Midway on the Mall: Twenty Years of the Festival of American Folklife

By 1967, the year of the Smithsonian's first Festival of American Folklife, the folk revival of that decade had dissolved into a youth movement deeply alienated from its national culture. It had created a culture of its own, with its own music and literature, its own pantheon of heroes, its own way of life—all swiftly appropriated with characteristic voraciousness, by the nation as a whole. It seemed impossible, in 1967, still more so in 1968, to think or to do anything that was not somehow a declaration of allegiance to one side or the other, in the bitter and unseemly struggle which disrupted the delicate equilibrium of social forces by ...

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