"Covers Dixie Like the Dew"

A History of Newspaper Journalism in Georgia

The Civil Rights Movement in Georgia Newspapers

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.