George Freeman was convicted and disgraced from society for providing a safe place for people to come and express themselves. Teenagers looking for a foothold to jump the fence and go over to the dark side were shown a responsible way to spend their time at his institution. At the time, this was considered to be a gross endeavor. When misconceptions grew, he was shunned by society. He was taken to court for these same accusations, and treated as if he was a criminal. Although acquitted later, Mr. Freeman is still thought of as a threat to the society.
It is no secret that we have come a long way since the turn of the century. Laws have changed drastically, and cultural acceptance has grown. Only recently, the legalization of marijuana has brought with it another wave of acceptance that was thought to be a too good to be true. LGBT rights have been accepted and are now widely enforced. Discrimination on the basis of color is also well in the past.
As norms have changed and laws have been updated, those who didn’t adapt to these changing times now go against these laws. They are currently the ones who are viewed by the public eye as “threats to society”. We forget that a lot of these things that are viewed as crimes today were common, socially accepted behaviors just a few decades ago. All of this goes to show how fickle laws might be when you see how often they take a full 180-degree turn in such as short time span. When black becomes white and vice versa.
The culture in the 1970’s was leaning towards a full-on rebellion. The hippie movement was in full force. While widely scoffed at during the time , this movement is now marked as one of the landmark events that left a mark on the current culture and identity of the people.
With the emergence of this movement, we also saw the nightlife of cities rapidly gain popularity, it was no secret that the nightlife of the cities was as thriving as ever. Clubs and casinos were be taking in customers left, right and center. However, they would often overcharge, eventually driving people into debt and helping contribute to an increase in alcohol addiction. This era marked the start of consumerism.
The laws at the time protected these establishments due to the technical legality of their businesses, and at the time none of their patron’s actions could be used to hold the establishment liable. These were places that ended families and drove people to take their life or the lives of others just to keep up their need to be accepted into society.
With this background, we come full circle back to Mr. Freeman . He was providing a safe place for teenagers to congregate and express themselves, all the while trying to form a society in which they were accepted, away from judgment and accusations. The fact of the matter is that the parents never really took time to understand their children, and instead of learning and accepting what they were, they chose to oppress. This oppression came out in the form of accusations towards Mr. Freeman.
Mr. Freeman was a man that was taking care of the children that parents neglected. He taught neglected youth how to live in a society that was too busy looking out for itself. He was, at the time, spreading the message that we carry with us right now.
We all know the culture that is widely accepted. Fraternity houses, parties, and clubs are all a part of growing up. These are, in a lot of ways, the rite of passage that one must go through in order to be accepted into a group of peers. Sadly, as right as that may be, these parties are not without risk, because at the end of the day we are dealing with a group of unsupervised teenagers and young adults.
George Freeman provided a safe environment without the risks for the teens of that time. The teenagers and young adults in his establishments were under supervision to express what they felt, and be free. This freedom from constraints is something that you do not have when you are under constant pressure to be accepted by those around you. Making people feel free is one of the noblest causes anyone can fight for, and Mr. Freeman fought and paid for it.
In the end, he was taken to court by the very people who should have been helping those who he fought to protect.
He was ridiculed for his choices and his ways, which now in retrospect, are completely understandable.
The fact remains, however, that George Freeman was labeled a felon and a criminal. He was labeled a threat to society for good intentions towards preserving the free spirit that the youth had, instead of breaking their will like many other establishments at the time did. School, Colleges and Universities. George Freeman took it upon himself to make a place that was safe and inviting, not just for the youth.
He took it upon himself to be the change that he wanted to see when he was growing up in a time of war, where close friends of his that were hardly allowed to make decisions of their own accord were sent abroad to fight for policies they could barely comprehend.
Mr. Freeman merely established a place where people could gather and be happy. Where youth could choose how they behaved without judgment and without risk. Places like these are now being established all across the country, and we applaud them, yet at that time George Freeman encountered minds that could not comprehend the need that he saw.
It is truly a sad thing to see men such as George Freeman suffer for what they tried to accomplish. Actions with good intentions were misconstrued as evil and full of malice, when in reality that could not be further from the truth. As we can plainly see from Mr. Freeman’s case, society will always be adverse to change, and the people that try to go against the norm will always be soloed out and harassed.