At the height of the sixties, John and Leni Sinclair were leaders of the counterculture movement in Michigan, organizers of radical social, political, and cultural endeavors primarily in the areas of music, poetry, graphic design, and community welfare projects.
During the 1960s and 1970s John Sinclair founded or was active in a variety of political and cultural groups including the Artists’ Workshop in Detroit, the Rainbow Multi-Media Corporation, the White Panther Party and its offshoot, the Rainbow Peoples Party; and had ties to various national radical organizations. He was an organizer of the Ann Arbor Jazz and Blues Festival and concerts and managed several rock bands, most notably the MC5. He was arrested for passing marijuana cigarettes to an undercover agent and was the subject of significant legal proceedings involving government surveillance and wiretapping. After 1979 Sinclair devoted most of his time to writing, music, journalism, hosting a radio program, and giving live performances of his poetry, generally with the accompaniment of a jazz or blues band. In 1990 Sinclair left Detroit for New Orleans.
John Sinclair and the Culture of the Sixties was published by the Bentley Historical Library of the University of Michigan, and contains a.o. the essay Poetry is Revolution by Cary Loren, a Manifesto of the Artists’ Workshop Society, and an audio CD with recordings of poetry readings at the Detroit Artists’ Workshop from 1964 to 1966.