1961 May 14

Folk Singing Returns to NYC Park


New York City Mayor Robert Wagner relented on an earlier order he made on April 11, 1961, and announced on this day that the city would allow folk singing in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village “on a controlled basis.” The park had become the focal point of the folk song movement in the late 1950s and early 1960s. On this day, 55 police officers watched and listened, but reportedly offered “no opinion” on the music.

The Right to Sing Committee pledged to pursue a court case over use of the park. It was opposed by local residents who had organized the Committee to Preserve the Dignity of Washington Square Park.

Watch the documentary, “Village Sunday”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axkC9ifSWys

Learn more: Ronald D. Cohen, Rainbow Quest: The Folk Music Revival and American Society, 1940–1970 (2002)

Learn more about the folk music revival: Ronald Cohen, Rainbow Quest: The Folk Music Revival and American Society, 1940–1970 (2002)

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