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ItsjustMe's Journal
ItsjustMe's Journal
February 26, 2021

Why Hate Groups Went After Johnny Cash In the 1960s

Johnny Cash - Born: Feb 26, 1932

Why Hate Groups Went After Johnny Cash In the 1960s


Threatening pamphlets. Canceled shows. It was 1965, and embattled country music star Johnny Cash was facing a boycott in some parts of the Jim Crow South. But the reason was not his recent arrest for potential drug smuggling—it was his appearance on the steps of a courthouse with a woman some thought was African-American.

Back in 1951, Cash was just an Air Force radio operator about to be sent overseas to intercept Soviet transmissions. That was about the time he met Vivian Liberto, a shy 17-year-old from San Antonio, at a skating rink.

After a courtship that included thousands of letters, they married in 1954. Soon after, Cash skyrocketed to fame as a rockabilly and country artist. His deft songwriting and deep voice soon gained him a fanbase, as did his outlaw-like image. Not only did he wear black to nearly all of his performances, but Cash pushed the stodgy boundaries of country music with his anti-authoritarian songs and on-stage attitude.

As he climbed to country stardom, Cash developed an addiction to prescription drugs—and a passion for another married woman, June Carter. His marriage with Vivian was on the rocks when, on October 4, 1965 he was arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border after purchasing a large quantity of amphetamines and sedatives from a Mexican dealer. Customs agents found 475 Equanil tablets and 688 Dexedrine capsules stashed in his guitar case and threw him in jail. Cash spent a night in jail and, two months later, plead guilty to the possession of illegal drugs.

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