The Great Speckled Bird – The Turbulent Sixties in Atlanta, 1968-1976

Closed December 2012

An expanded 40th anniversary exhibit of the South’s underground newspaper.

The Bird burst upon the scene in the midst of national upheaval and chronicled turbulent times in Atlanta from 1968-1976. The country was polarized by the Vietnam War and struggles against discrimination at home. A growing “in-your-face” youth culture with strange clothes, hair, music, drugs and a wholesale rejection of middle-class values bewildered or angered many in the older generation. From the first issue, which castigated Atlanta icon Ralph McGill for his support of the war, there was never a doubt whose side The Bird was on. For over eight years it was the “voice of the voiceless” – African Americans fighting Jim Crow in the South and institutionalized racism in the North; striking garbage and farm workers; Vietnamese peasants being slaughtered by American bombs; women taking control of their bodies; students demanding meaningful educations; and young people seeking new ways to live. At its height, with a circulation around 22,000, The Bird was the most widely-read weekly paper in Georgia. This exhibit from The Bird creators was enhanced through artifacts and clothing from the time period. (May 2011 – December 2012)