To celebrate Black History Month, we’re pleased to add The Atlanta Voice to our newspaper archives. Founded in 1966, the paper originated with a goal to provide fair and credible coverage to the growing Civil Rights Movement. According to the paper’s motto: “A People Without A Voice Cannot Be Heard.” The Atlanta Voice is the largest audited African-American community newspaper in Georgia. It is a weekly publication, and our archives contain issues that date back to 1969.
The Civil Rights Movement took root in the fertile ground of Atlanta. As it did, The Atlanta Voice used its editorial voice to shine a light on injustice. For example, in this clipping, a local taxi company refused to hire African-American drivers simply because they just “hadn’t thought about it.” In another instance, the paper reported on realtors who discriminated against African-American home buyers that were suddenly told that a potential home was either no longer on the market or had suddenly jumped in price. In this 1969 clipping, a 40-year-old Atlanta man was fired from his job at a hospital after hospital officials learned his wife was black.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement and a native Atlantan. His legacy is deeply intertwined with the history of the city. His assassination in 1968 created shock waves that rippled through Atlanta and across the world. On the 10th anniversary of his death, The Atlanta Voice poignantly noted that the most precious gift he left to African-Americans was a change in their minds and spirits.
That dramatic shift was manifest in 1973 when Atlanta elected its first black mayor. The Atlanta Voice chronicled Mayor Maynard Jackson’s sometimes uphill battle to govern the city even as he and other elected black officials faced harassment. In an effort to overhaul the police department which stood accused of discriminatory behavior towards black citizens, Mayor Jackson ousted police chief John Inman. A number of black citizens had been killed or injured under questionable circumstances during Inman’s watch, and many accused him of racism. The Atlanta Voice reported on the police department’s “Gestapo-type unit” that spied on politicians. In an effort to determine the source providing inflammatory information to the paper, Inman sent an undercover officer to work as a typesetter at The Voice. This infuriated many, particularly the black community. Mayor Jackson continued to press forward and was a force in changing racist behaviors. When Maynard Jackson died in 2003, he was eulogized as a trailblazer in a ceremony the likes of which Atlanta had not seen since the death of Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Atlanta Voice archives are a great place to search for clippings that pertain to your family tree. Did your family member sing in the church choir or serve in the military? News Briefs and society pages are a great place to see birth announcements, wedding announcements and learn about community events your family may have been a part of.
Dive into our archives today to learn more about the people of Atlanta and the part they played in the historic Civil Rights Movement. Start searching The Atlanta Voice archives today!