The Civil Rights Movement in Georgia Newspapers
The Red and Black, the University of Georgia's school newspaper, covered the events around Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes' integration of the university in 1961. This extra edition of the Red and Black from January 10, 1961 reported on the students' arrival to campus to register for classes.
Courtesy of Georgia Newspaper Project, Georgia Historic Newspapers.
African American-run newspapers provided particularly personal perspectives on civil rights activities in Georgia. The March 1, 1968, issue of the Spelman Spotlight included an editorial in response to the Orangeburg Massacre, a photograph from a memorial service attended by Atlanta University Center students, and a book review of Stokley Carmichael and Charles Hamilton's Black Power.
Courtesy of Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library, Spelman Spotlight.
A clipping of a column titled "He Worried About His Children Too" by Eugene Patterson printed in the Atlanta Constitution on April 9, 1968. The piece recalls an anecdote about Martin Luther King Jr. the week after he was assassinated.
Copyright Atlanta-Journal Constitution. Courtesy of Auburn Avenue Research Library on African-American Culture and History, Annie L. McPheeters papers.
Front page of the June 9, 1988, issue of the Southern Voice. The Atlanta-based publication was an alternative news source for the southeastern LGBTQ+ community in the late twentieth century.
Courtesy of Kennesaw State University. Department of Archives, Rare Books and Records Management, Southern Voice newspaper collection, 1988-2010.
Newspapers were a valuable outlet for publicizing, advocating, and opposing the events of the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and '60s. Georgia has one of the largest African American populations in the country and was home to some of the most prominent movement leaders at the time, including Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King, Hosea Williams, and Julian Bond. Organized protests in Atlanta, Albany, Americus, and countless other cities brought attention to the cause and were covered by newspapers throughout the state. While not all papers were supportive of the movement, Georgia's press corps included prominent reform-minded columnists such as the Atlanta Constitution's Ralph McGill and Gene Patterson, who won Pulitzer Prizes for their editorials in 1959 and 1967, respectively. The African American press and school newspapers also reported on civil rights activities, providing readers with more personal and distinctive coverage of the events in Georgia’s cities and college campuses. The fight for rights and freedoms was also taken up by other historically oppressed groups in the second half of the century, resulting in the Women’s Liberation Movement, the Chicano Movement, the Gay Rights Movement, and the American Indian Movement. Their voices were often heard in the pages of Georgia’s alternative press, which allowed activists to communicate and connect through the time-honored tradition of print journalism.