Head Shops

Head Shops

On January 3, 1966 the legendary Psychedelic Shop on Haight Street which opened its doors. It was likely the first, but no one was keeping track.

Head Shops

Why “Head” ?

Why did the word "head" come to refer to someone who used marijuana? The association between the word head and drug use goes back at least to 1911 when the writer C B Chrysler wrote in White Slavery "Opium smokers, 'hop fiends,' or 'hop heads,' as they are called, are the fiercest of all the White Slavers."

In other words, the drug of choice, usually an illegal one, was the prefix for the word "head" until the word alone referred to a drug user.

In the 1960, the most common drug was marijuana, of course, so a "head" commonly referred to that person and that drug.
Head Shop

Head shops

While that use of the word may have been an underground one, entrepreneurs would still shy away from using that specific a word to name their establishment. 

Head shops were not simply a supply store. They were places where so-called underground news was found whether it be in newspapers, flyers, or political conversation.

 What were a head shop's supplies? Black lights for posters that used inks containing phosphors. When the ultraviolet light hit those inks the posters glowed. A nice enhancement to an evening atmosphere in a dorm room or a basement rec room.

The pill case, but not the pills, The grass container, but not the grass. 

Candles and incense. The Beatles influence went beyond music, of course, and their delving into Eastern philosophy meant those things associated with the East were automatically interesting.

When tie-dyed clothing became popular, it became part of the scene along with other "hip" clothing along side water buffalo sandals. 

Head shops

Not that a head shop sold the drugs themselves (at least not directly), but the shop sold those things necessary for drug use. Rolling papers (Zig Zag? Big Bambu?), hash pipes, and water pipes (for those harsher cheaper blends that were the only mixes sometimes available or adding a bit of mentholated mouth wash to the water for a cooler drag).

Head Shops

On line

Google "on line head shop" and not surprisingly one will discover that that they are there in full. "Smoke Cartel," "Dankstop," "Everyonedoesit," "billowboy," and many others offer both the new necessities (vapes) and the old school standbys.

As always, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

January 3

January 3

January 3, 1624: the baptism of William Tucker, the first African-American birth recorded in Jamestown, VA.  His parents, simply Anthony and Isabella, were two of the first Africans brought to North America in 1619 (perhaps as indentured servants). They married and in 1624, gave birth to the first black child born in English America. He was named after his family’s master, Captain William Tucker.

January 3, 1947:  an NAACP report said 1946 was "one of the grimmest years in the history of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People." The report deplored "reports of blow torch killing and eye-gouging of Negro veterans freshly returned from a war to end torture and racial extermination" and said "Negroes in America have been disillusioned over the wave of lynchings, brutality and official recession from all of the flamboyant promises of post war democracy and decency."
Montgomery Bus Boycott
January 3, 1956: because of drastically reduced ridership during the boycott, Montgomery City Lines suggested to the city commission that unless fares were doubled, it would have to shut down because it was losing as much as twenty-two cents a mile.  The Commission approved the fare increase the following day.

January 3, 1966: twenty-one-year-old Tuskegee Institute student activist and veteran Samuel Younge Jr spent the day registering black voters in Macon County, Alabama. He stopped at a gas station to use the restroom. The white attendant, 68-year-old Marvin Segrest, directed him to the “colored” restroom out back. When Younge said he wanted to use the regular public restroom, Segrest threatened to shoot him.

 Younge reported Segrest to the police, then returned to the gas station and told Segrest the police were coming. The two men argued and Segrest shot at Younge, who hid in a bus. When he exited the bus, Segrest shot him in the head, killing him.

The shooting exacerbated tensions in Tuskegee between African Americans and pro-segregation whites. The day after the shooting, Tuskegee students launched protests that lasted for weeks.

In December 1966 an all-white jury took 70 minutes to acquit Segrest.

Today Younge’s name is carved on the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama, a tribute to the 40 people who were slain between 1954 (the year the U.S. Supreme Court banned school segregation) and 1968 (the year of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination).

January 3

January 3, 1969: Shirley Chisholm, became the first black woman in Congress.
Hurricane Katrina

January 3

January 3, 2007: seven New Orleans policemen charged in a deadly bridge shooting in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina turned themselves in at the city jail, and more than 200 supporters met them in a show of solidarity. Each of the indicted men faces at least one charge of murder or attempted murder in the Sept. 4, 2005, shootings on the Danziger Bridge less than a week after the hurricane hit New Orleans. Two people died and four were wounded in the shooting. 
January 3, 1994: more than 7 million people received South African citizenship that had previously been denied under Apartheid policies.

Native Americans

In the late 1800s, the United States government sought to “Americanize” the Indian population by forcing Native American children into white schools, often far from their homes and families. In 1887, the government established Keams Canyon Boarding School and pressured Native American parents from the Hopi tribe to enroll their children. Hopi families that complied with the government's order and sent their children to school were deemed “Friendlies,” while those who refused were branded “Hostiles.” When most parents refused to part with their children voluntarily, the government resorted to force, sending soldiers to round up children and send them to Keams Canyon.

                At the same time, tensions were rising regarding the limited land that the government had allotted to Indian tribes. In October 1894, fifty Hopi returned to farm on land that had traditionally belonged to their tribe. The U.S. government, claiming to act in defense of the rights of Friendlies, responded by ordering troops to arrest the Hopi leaders. Justifying the order for military involvement, one government official wrote that “[t]he Friendlies must be protected in their rights and encouraged to continue in the Washington way. . .”

                On January 3, 1895, the US govern met imprisoned nineteen leaders from the Hopi tribe  on Alcatraz Island,  in the San Francisco Bay.  The government charged them with sedition for opposing the program of forced education and assimilation. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that “[n]ineteen murderous-looking Apache Indians” had been arrested and taken to Alcatraz, “because they would not let their children go to school.” The paper added that they “have not hardship aside from the fact that they have been rudely snatched from the bosom of their families and are prisoners and prisoners they shall stay until they have learned to appreciate the advantage of education.” The Hopi leaders were imprisoned in the wooden cells of Alcatraz for nearly one year.

January 3

January 3, 1938, President Franklin D Roosevelt [a victim of polio at age 39 and paralyzed from the waist down and forced to use leg braces and a wheelchair for the rest of his life] helped found the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, later renamed the March of Dimes. The organization was responsible for funding much of the research concerning the disease, including the Salk vaccine trials.


January 3

January 3, 1950: Sam Phillips opened the Memphis Recording Service at 706 Union Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee. The Memphis Recording Service let amateurs perform, which drew performers such as B.B. King, Junior Parker, and Howlin' Wolf. Phillips then would sell their performances to larger record labels. In addition to musical performances, Phillips recorded events such as weddings and funerals, selling the recordings. (see Memphis Recording Service for more)

January 3, 1964: the “The Jack Paar Show,” aired a filmed Beatles’ performance of “She Loves You” from England.  It was the first complete Beatles song shown on American TV, and for many in America, the first time they saw the Beatles.

Bob Dylan

January 3

January 3, 2009: William Zantzinger died. In 2001, Zantzinger had discussed Dylan’s song Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll with Howard Sounes for Down the Highway, the Life of Bob Dylan. Zantzinger dismissed the song as a "total lie" and claimed "It's actually had no effect upon my life," but expressed scorn for Dylan, saying, "He's a no-account son of a bitch, he's just like a scum of a scum bag of the earth, I should have sued him and put him in jail." [LA Times obit]

The Cold War

January 3, 1961: President Dwight D. Eisenhower closed the American embassy in Havana and severed diplomatic relations. The action signaled that the US was prepared to take extreme measures to oppose Castro's regime, which U.S. officials worried was a beachhead of communism in the western hemisphere.

Nuclear News

January 3

January 3, 1961: Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. A steam explosion in reactor SL-1 during preparation for start-up destroyed a small US Army experimental reactor and killed three operators.

January 3, 1993: George H. W. Bush and Boris Yeltsin signed the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).


January 3, 1964: Senator Barry Goldwater announced that he would seek the Republican nomination for President.

January 3, 1968: Senator Eugene McCarthy (D-Minnesota) announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. McCarthy had been a contender to be President Lyndon B. Johnson's running mate in the 1964 election, but since then he had become increasingly disenchanted with Johnson's policies in Vietnam and the escalation of the war. In 1967, he had published The Limits of Power, an assessment of U.S. foreign policy that was very critical of the Johnson administration. When announcing his candidacy, McCarthy said he hoped to harness the growing antiwar sentiment in the country, particularly among the young. 


January 3, 1966: the Psychedelic Shop head shop opened on Haight Street, S.F.

January 3, 2006: Rhode Island's Senate Bill 0710 (the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act) tooks effect immediately upon passage on January 3, 2006. The law removed state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess "written certification" from their physician... [and] establishes a mandatory, confidential state-run patient registry that issues identification cards to qualifying patients.


January 3, 1967: waiting in prison for a retrial date, Jack Ruby died of lung cancer

January 3, 1968: in Witherspoon v. Illinois  the Supreme Court ruled that the practice of excluding prospective jurors who have reservations about the death penalty from capital trials resulted in juries whose sentencing decisions could be considered biased and therefore unconstitutional.
Japanese Internment Camps
January 3
Norman Mineta (white shirt, front) and his parents Kunisaku and Kane (right)
January 3, 1975: the US Government had interned Norman Minetta, as a child as part of the Japanese-American evacuation and internment during World War II. On this date, Minetta took his seat in the House of Representatives. representing the San Jose, California area. He served in the House until 1995 and later served as Secretary of Commerce under President Bill Clinton (2000–2001) and then Secretary of Transportation under President George W. Bush (2001–2006).

Technological Milestone

January 3

January 3, 1996:  the first mobile flip phone, the Motorola StarTAC, goes on sale.
January 3

Iraq War II

January 3, 2007:  death toll of U.S. soldiers in Iraq reaches 3,000.
Occupy Wall Street
January 3, 2012: approximately 200 Occupy protesters performed a flash mob at the main concourse of New York's Grand Central Terminal in protest against President Obama's signing the National Defense Authorization Act. Video: video
January 3, 2013: research from Texas A&M University reported that over a 10-year period there was an 8 percent increase in homicides in the states that passed Stand Your Ground laws. The law did not deter burglary, robbery or assault either. "These laws lower the cost of using lethal force," said Mark Hoekstra, an economist with Texas A&M University who examined stand your ground laws. "Our study finds that, as a result, you get more of it."