Dec 12, 2018

Underground Newspaper: The Great Speckled Bird (Atlanta)

The Great Speckled Bird was an underground newspaper based in Atlanta and published weekly (for most of its existence) from 1968-76. The Bird‘s covers were consistently strong and graphic, many of them featuring illustrations done in a variety of styles by Ron Ausburn. Oftentimes the covers were literally poster-like calls to political action, as in the February 23, 1970 cover below, illustrated by Ausburn, that exhorts Bird readers to “give ol’ Spiro [Agnew] a real old fashioned Southern welcome” at a local demonstration.

The selection of covers here comes from the Independent Voices collection. They have an extensive set of full-issue scans of The Great Speckled Bird.

As with most underground papers from this period, illustration and photo credits are scarce; we’ll try to update these as we learn more.

Georgia State University has a collection of photos by Tom Coffin, who was a co-founder and longtime photographer at the Bird.

Cover History: The Great Speckled Bird is a 25-minute video showing covers and artwork from the paper.

(Above): May 18, 1970

May 26, 1969. Illustration by Spain Rodriguez.

January 20, 1969. Illustration by C. Kenneth Higdon.

March 24, 1969. Illustration by F. Bender.

February 15, 1971

July 28, 1969. Illustration by Ron Ausburn.

July 7, 1969

August 15, 1971. Illustration by Ron Ausburn.

February 16, 1970

December 7, 1970

December 8, 1969. Illustration by Ron Ausburn.

October 14, 1968

November 3, 1969. Cover illustration by Jay Fermstead.

February 23, 1970. Illustration by Ron Ausburn.

April 20, 1970

June 30, 1969. Illustration by Ron Ausburn.

Further reading

Underground newspapers: The Berkeley Tribe
Underground newspapers: Helix (Seattle)