The Life and Times of the Underground Press

May 30, 2013

By Abe Peck via Logos

Books reviewed in this essay:

Insider Histories of the Vietnam Era Underground Press (Voices From the Underground), edited by Ken Wachsberger

Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media In America, by John McMillian.

On the Ground: An Illustrated Anecdotal History of the Sixties  Underground Press in the U.S., edited by Sean Stewart.

Gay Press, Gay Power: The Growth of LBGT Community Newspapers in America, edited by Tracy Baim.

My Odyssey through the Underground Press (Voices From the Underground by Michael “Mica” Kindman.

Also discussed:

Famous Long Ago: My Life and Hard Times with Liberation News Service, by Raymond Mungo.

The Movement Toward a New America: The Beginnings of a Long Revolution, edited by Mitchell Goodman.

The Paper Revolutionaries, by Lawrence Leamer.

A Trumpet to Arms: Alternative Media in America, by David Armstrong.

Unamerican Activities: The Campaign Against the Underground Press, by Geoffrey Rips.

The Dissident Press: Alternative Journalism in American History, by Lauren Kessler.

Uncovering the Sixties: The Life and Times of the Underground Press, by Abe Peck.

What’s the continuing lure of a genre—the underground press—that essentially folded its paisley tent 40 years ago, after just seven years at the barricades? Was it that these often-scruffy, occasionally lovely papers—a handful in the mid-‘60s, hundreds by 1970, largely done by 1973—fed and reflected a multifaceted surge, from building a counterculture to opposing the Vietnam War to preferring Black Panthers over the police? Were their staffs journalistic Davids, or part of a collective Goliath, a movement of millions stretching from the inner cities to furry-freak zones to the Third World? And was it about not only political power, but something that a visionary yet cantankerous progenitor, Jack Kerouac, described:

…the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”[1]

The current “third wave” of underground press books includes a selective and two participant histories, newer volumes of an ongoing anthology and a comprehensive look at a medium—the gay press—that has slender roots within underground media. All these works are solid, and one bares its soul. (Three books on the outside-the-lines design of papers from the shamanistic San Francisco Oracle to New York’s gritty Rat will be covered in Part II of this essay.)

THE FIRST WAVE

To better understand the new works, we need to explore those that came before. By 1970, several books had gestated that endure today. Each took a different approach.

Famous Long Ago: My Life and Hard Times with Liberation News Service[2] remains the best known of several memoirs to arise from LNS. In it, Ray Mungo described how a small circle of friends came together to found an organization that sent packets containing reports from the barricades, analysis and reprints to hundreds of papers around the country. Mungo and his hipster compadres removed LNS to a Massachusetts farm rather than have it taken over by “politicos,” then concentrated on living communally after their version faded. Famous Long Ago was conversational and evocative, opinionated yet open (except on the subject of some key players’ gayness, since they were not yet out). Mungo bore witness to a journey many others were taking.

Next up was The Movement Toward a New America: The Beginnings of a Long Revolution.[3] Helmed by protest veteran Mitchell Goodman, more than 700 pages of articles, cartoons and illustrations from underground newspapers and radical magazines became a Whole Earth Catalog-style organizing tool, tying together topics from university protest to the emerging sexual-liberation movements. When it appeared, I thought from my perch as the editor of the Chicago Seed undergrounder that it was a bit static; in retrospect it’s a valuable compendium.[4]

Lawrence Leamer’s The Paper Revolutionaries completed this trilogy.[5] This compact, sympathetic roundup traced the papers’ roots in earlier generations’ radicalism, described a surge that put hippie or radical papers in 500 or so towns and campuses, and noted mainstream reaction that labeled them as unpatriotic or obscene. Leamer, a trained “straight” journalist (he would chronicle the Kennedy and Reagan families) conducted many on-site interviews of those who saw no line between activism and journalism—I for one would like to take back some of my authentic hippie gibberish. Notably, Leamer nailed the tension between communal “heads” and more organizational “fists” that would bedevil LNS and the 1968 Democratic Convention protests before those who’d stayed in the game began to bridge it circa 1969.[6]

Other books touched on time served in the underground press. Richard Neville, editor of the irreverent and oft-busted Australian-English Oz, explored the “international underground” in his jovial Play Power.[7] Movement heavies turned radical feminists described how they and others had seized the male-dominated Rat in a revolution within the revolution. But in 1973, at its annual convention, the Underground Press Syndicate (UPS)—a loose alliance and story exchange among the papers—changed its name to the Alternative Press Syndicate (a group opposed to this realistic revanchism called itself OFUP—The Old Farts of the Underground Press). Withdrawal from Vietnam and the birth of the gender and environmental movements were in the mix, but multiple and extreme strategies, a dance between government repression and Movement violence, the sheer intensity of life around the light table and a declining advertising base had sapped the papers’ strength and burned out many of its participants. Less than a decade after the Los Angeles Free Press had started up as an insert for the Renaissance Pleasure Faire only to grow into a 100,000-circulation weekly, most papers were gone, shells or becoming less radical even as their readerships wanted a real bed and a second pair of jeans.

THE SECOND WAVE

Appearing 10 to 20 years “after the revolution,” a cluster of books offered a consensus narrative: “rise and fall yet at least some missions accomplished.”

In 1981’s A Trumpet to Arms: Alternative Media in America,[8] David Armstrong noted dissident forebears such as Tom Paine. But Armstrong focused on ‘60s media and their 1970s replacements, which were alternative to both daily and underground newspapers. These less-radical weeklies made story choices free of both mainstream conventions and Movement orthodoxies. They also were infinitely more prone to, as one of Armstrong’s chapter headings put it, offer “Ten Great Places to Find Croissants After Midnight[9] rather than, say “Ten Ways to Smash the State.”

That same year, Geoffrey Rips produced Unamerican Activities: The Campaign Against the Underground Press.[10] A series of essays probed harassment by multiple governmental organizations. While a little repression had been invigorating, the techniques captured in this PEN American Center Report ranged from seizure of papers to leaning on advertisers, printers and landlords. A bogus LNS packet exacerbated that organization’s split, and the FBI even published a faux underground paper to siphon off campus energy.

In 1984, Lauren Kessler, a University of Oregon professor, offered The Dissident Press: Alternative Journalism in American History.[11] In a small book, Kessler linked black, feminist, utopian, foreign language and war-resister papers into a collective counter-voice against media that had labeled blacks as chattel, women as subservient and non-native born peoples as suspicious. (A similar approach seems to have fueled a 2001 book I’ve just learned about: Voices of Revolution: The Dissident Press in America, by Rodger Streitmatter, a newspaper reporter turned professor at American University.)[12]

My own Uncovering the Sixties: The Life and Times of the Underground Press[13] appeared in 1985 and was reissued in 1991. Now a professor at Northwestern, I attempted a full reprise of the “underground decade.” A hundred interviews and my experience as editor of the Seed attempted to address an admonition from veteran Village Voice and gay-press writer Arthur Bell: “Make it wet.” I endorsed multiple memes. The papers had empowered a multi-pronged Movement. New constituencies—women, gays, anti-colonialists—had risen up. But as politics calcified or kamikazed before a seemingly unending war and unrealized utopias, the papers often became what The East Village Other’s Lennox Raphael labeled as “too dull, flatirons of defense.”[14] I exited The Seed after endorsing violent acts that I myself would not commit; the book’s “Where Are They Now” afterword let readers rate who’d stayed the course or sold out.[15]

A TRANSITION AND A CHAMPION

In 1993, Ken Wachsberger assumed the mantle of indefatigable underground-press chronicler. A veteran of various papers, he complied the hefty Volume One of what was then called Voices From the Underground: Insider Histories of the Vietnam Era Underground Press, which contained 26 essays by participants and observers. Volume 2 was A Directory of Resources & Sources on the Vietnam Era Underground Press.[16]

Wachsberger widened the bandwidth with commentaries on small-town, military, black, feminist and prison papers. John Woodford traced an arc that took him from Ebony, the largest African-American mainstream magazine, to Muhammad Speaks, the Black Muslim outreach paper. The Guardian—portrayed by hipsters as older, stodgier, here challenged both the war and Movement excess. Freedom of the Press was one of the hundreds of GI underground papers that blasted the racism and class base undergirding the war. Boston’s Fag Rag spoke for an emerging Gay Liberation Front.

Wachsberger reissued Voices in 2011 and 2012 through Michigan State University, dividing the main volume into two handier books and flipping the name to become Insider Histories of the Vietnam Era Underground Press (Voices From the Underground). In the foreword to the new “Part 2,” feminist stalwart Susan Brownmiller (Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape) declared why women had felt compelled to defy the male hegemony that marked nearly all the papers.[20] Marcos Moulitsas, founder of the activist online site Daily Kos, cited a continuing need to challenge “an arrogant, unaccountable, and irresponsible mass media” (as opposed to “the fierce and adversarial alternative press of the Vietnam and civil rights era” that had challenged an even more hidebound press)[21] The passage of time allowed Moulitsas to make a connection only dreamed about when acid-inspired East Village Other staffers proclaimed an Intergalactic World Brain—the Internet. “The online political communities of today,’ Moulitsas continued, “are seeded with these same participants from an earlier era, trained to question authority, demand accountability, and insist on the validity of ordinary people taking charge of their own civic destinies.”[22]These aspirations could support or clash with each other, and at least one contributor noted bending the truth to stick it to The Man.[17] Yet there was a unifying purpose. The radical-lesbian-feminist Furies sought “to build a movement which makes all people free.”[18] At Houston’s Space City “all shared the same passion for social justice and, above all, human freedom.”[19]

Nearly all of Voices’ original contributors updated their work. Some were wistful, none recanted and many drew links to the present. Jack Smith of The Guardian visited a thriving Ho Chi Minh City in 2005 and received

A medal for being the editor of a paper that supported their cause. It was the second gift I received from Vietnam. The first was the privilege of being able to join with them, even from halfway around the world, in the long struggle for the liberation of South Vietnam and the unification of the country.[23]

As time passed, new coverage areas emerged as archives were mined. Protest and Survive: Underground GI Newspapers during the Vietnam War[24] arrived from James Lewes in 2003, and the anthology The Black Panther: Intercommunal News Service 1967-1980,[25] edited by former Panther chief of staff David Hilliard, appeared in 2007. Ken Wachsberger remained in the mix, co-editing 2012’s Stop the Presses! I Want to Get Off! A Brief History of the Prisoners’ Digest International[26] with the author, Leavenworth alum Joe Grant. As we’ll see, Wachsberger had a remaining ace up his publishing sleeve.

2011: Overview and Oral History

Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America,[27] is the latest sixties-themed book from John McMillian, who is now a professor at Georgia State University. This 2011 work retained traces of “dissertation-ese,” but I wished I’d matched its portraits of the underground press’ founding fathers (all men) as they morphed from straight lives into radical press-hood. There was the “half-Marxist, half-hippie”[28] Art Kunkin of The Los Angeles Free Press, the most widely circulated underground paper. Rather than sign a loyalty oath, the bored National Merit Scholar Michael Kindman would found East Lansing, Michigan’s The Paper, which would expose Michigan State University’s collaboration with the war effort. Back-in-the-day photos showed other paper revolutionaries in action.

Though perhaps over-crediting the organization’s role, McMillian noted how many members of Students for A Democratic Society—the ‘60s’ largest Left student group—influenced the underground press. In the case of Austin’s Rag, this involved a participatory Prairie Power approach that manifested in a collectively run paper.

McMillian chose two episodes to illustrate insights and excesses. Promulgating smoking bananas to get high was seen as evidence of subverting mainstream drug paranoia and mixing local and national trends in its pages. McMillian also used the hoax to discuss how “the expressive, aesthetic radicalism of the hippies meshed with the strategic, political activism characteristic of the New Left.”[29] Wisely, McMillian also notes how it reflected reader gullibility—all I ever got was a headache.

Still, the banana episode seems a fragile linchpin. And though McMillian illuminated the dance between “politico” and “hippie” protest, he used “New Left…maximally, to describe the whole constellation of predominantly white, nonconformist, college-aged youths of the 1960s who rebelled against American racism, imperialism and bourgeois social relations”[30] That choice would have been questioned in the offices of The Seed, the East Village Other and similar “flower papers,” even after they declared themselves to be politically revolutionary.

McMillian reinforced the papers’ shared ties by nicely detailing the overlapping histories of UPS and LNS. Headed by a mysterious Man In Black, Thomas King Forcade, UPS facilitated an anti-copyright policy that lives today in organizations like Creative Commons; a UPS contract with Bell & Howell created microfilm collections that contemporary historians still access. McMillian also discussed something UPS tried to stave off—prosecution of the papers.

McMillian noted the strengths of LNS’ coverage while fairly recounting the struggle between its high-wire creators and more anti-imperial Leftists who desired less anarchy and more participatory democracy.  At the same time, his account of the tussle demonstrated how the sheer velocity propelling handfuls of young journalists of varying ability could exhaust even the most committed souls.[31]

On The Ground: An Illustrated Anecdotal History of the Sixties Underground Press in the U.S.,[32] embraced the oral-history recollections of numerous participants. Editor Sean Stewart, a native Jamaican who’d curated a 2009 underground press exhibit in the San Francisco bookstore/gallery he then owned, produced what his publisher said was “neither meant to be an official nor comprehensive history.”[33] Stewart wanted to remain “faithful to the established historical narrative.” But, as he said, “my focus is strictly on the atmospherics—trying to get a handle on what things were like day-to-day in the underground press.”[34]

Stewart does succeed in re-animating the ethos of the underground press experience. A nice editing job distributed reminiscences by rough chronology and key topics: “participants or reporters,” design, distribution, sectarianism, repression, burnout and legacy. Interviewees accentuated the positive; few were disillusioned. There was nostalgia, and PG-13 eliding of coups and correctness—but also a sense of accomplishment and a continuing feistiness about having confronted war-makers and bigots. Here’s Thorne Dreyer of the Texas papers Rag and Space City—still an activist—summing up in Stewart’s “Legacy” section.

Everybody all felt like they were changing the world…There were phenomenal changes happening. We were also delusional in lots of ways. We saw revolution—a total revolution—and our goals were so large that anything that happened would have fallen short…

We created institutions that were reflective of what we believed…and the underground press was the most significant of those.[35]

On The Ground’s liveliness is reinforced by perhaps 100 covers, comix, illustrations and photos. As Jonah Raskin, a biographer of ‘60s Yippie activist Abbie Hoffman, has noted, these illustrations could be at once dynamic, sexist and violent. But, Raskin added, Stewart’s array “comes closer than [McMillian’s and Wachsberger’s books] to the spirit of the in-your-face underground papers.”[36]

2012: Chroniciling a Parallel Press

By 1970, the revolutions were coming so hot and heavy that a single issue of The Seed offered a joint Native American and Gay Liberation supplement. Some staffers were polymorphous perverse, but most gay staffers remained closeted.

Soon papers like Gay Sunshine, Lesbian Tide, Killer Dyke and Come Out! arose—themselves descendants of semi-stealth ‘50s magazines such as the gay Mattachine Review and the lesbian The Ladder. Moving at the speed of the stuff thrown at the cops when they’d raided New York’s Stonewall Inn—1969’s rebellion-debut of the modern gay liberation movement—they deployed the underground model of volunteers and seat-of-pants funding to cover the news and ask key questions. Cooperate with the larger political revolution or go one’s same-sex way? Unite gays and lesbians or recognize divisions by sex, race and ideology? And, more simply, where was the next meeting, the next party?

Gay and lesbian papers fought for their readers’ own survival in the Age of AIDS. As signs of acceptance in the larger society presented themselves, coverage ranged from celebrations of sexuality to working with the cops to avoid gay bashing.

On the book front, San Francisco’s Gay Sunshine was anthologized in 1991 and 1993.[37] In 1995, Rodger Streitmatter produced Unspeakable: The Rise of the Gay and Lesbian Press in America.[38] A year later, Edward Alwood offered Straight News: Gays, Lesbians and the News Media,[39] a well researched look at reporting about gays and lesbians within changing mainstream media.

In late 2012, Gay Press, Gay Power: The Growth of LGBT Community Newspapers in America[40] encapsulated several generations of LGBT newspapers. Editor and guiding presence Tracy Baim, co-founder of two gay papers in Chicago and author of several LGBT-themed books, organized this compendium around history, 18 profiles of important LBGT journalists, portraits of 10 papers, examination of their unique business-side issues and their future in a digital era. Duplication ensued, but this is one comprehensive book, including a cornucopia of hundreds of illustration and reprints.

Baim’s opening chapters set the need for LGBT papers. Traditional mainstream media saw women straight and gay as flowers in a hothouse of condescension, gay men as “perverts” capable of “dastardly and horrifying” crimes.[41] In the ‘50s, those in raided bars had their names published in the dailies.

Stonewall mobilized gay groups. Straight-media offices were occupied. Coverage—especially after AIDS hit—gained nuance (Ann Landers changed her tune, and Baim is kinder than I am to a 1979 series on gay life in Chicago that I co-authored as a Sun-Times reporter).[42] By the end of her timeline, Baim could write, “the non-gay press certainly has come a long way, with Fox News the outlier, not the norm.”[43]

The book’s heart beat inside the LGBT press itself. Whether growing out of organizations or publishing independently, papers saw no division between activism, journalism and community (as Gay Community News writer Maida Tilchen put it, “Our Readers Are Our Writers”).[44] The ‘80s and ‘90s saw location-based gay and lesbian papers proliferate.

As in On The Ground, tribal elders often minimized low points, including the traps of reporting from within a movement. But Baim’s overviews, her profile of the “newspaper war”[45] within Chicago’s gay press, and her memories of encountering sexism and covering abuse, drugs and even spree killers, balanced the journalistic equation.

So it is not all parades and galas, bartenders and athletes that keep this gay world spinning. As a journalist, you can get pretty disgusted and burn out with the difficult stories…What always kept me going was the true heroes of our community.”[46]

THE HIDDEN DIAMOND

All these books were important, but I still longed for one to reveal how so many of us had flown close to the sun, even at the risk of melting. Then I encountered My Odyssey Through the Underground Press,[47] a 2011 artifact by the now-late Michael Kindman that the indefatigable Ken Wachsberger had lifted out of Voices From the Underground into a stand-alone volume. Brutally honest, it’s at once scary and lyrical.

Kindman would work not only at The Paper in East Lansing but also at Grapevine, in Palo Alto a decade later. One radically challenged the status quo, the second reported within the system. At each, Kindman cycled from commitment to burnout over too many tasks, too many internecine struggles.

But a third paper would dominate much of Kindman’s life. Kindman barely worked at Boston’s Avatar, but his encounter would stretch him between the twin towers of the ‘60s: a quest for freedom and a longing to belong.

At The Paper, Kindman’s “higher loyalty” was “to the practice of imaginative, creative, thoughtful journalism…a spirit of editorial independence.”[48] Four years into Michigan State, he’d marched for civil rights and against the war—and “had thrown standard college stuff overboard in order to have this revolution.”[49] After an LSD trip, he and his girlfriend took off for Boston.

The Avatar and its American Avatar splinter were outliers in underground press history. Reason One: strikingly clean layout. More important, The Avatar was the star vehicle of self-professed “world savior” Mel Lyman. A moth to the flame of Lyman’s “hypnotic style,”[50] Kindman helped with layout but was quickly sucked into the vortex of the paper’s intentional Fort Hill Community. There he did meaningless manual labor, and was grilled and punched out by a resident “karma squad.”[51] Power-tripping and atomization were the underside of the counterculture, found amid the ashes of Haight-Ashbury’s Summer of Love and, most extremely, in the Manson Gang. When Rolling Stone did a book about Lyman, Manson and others, it was called Mindfuckers.

It took five years for Kindman to physically leave various Lyman communes, yet he never stopped communicating and critiquing with their members—his reprinted letters are Escher-like in their complexity, revelatory in their quest for “intimacy and growth.”[52] Life in California led him to both a men’s group and Grapevine. At the paper, he championed a rural commune involved in a property dispute:

I saw…a chance to make myself part of a functioning community that offered some of the benefits, and few if any of the authoritarian drawbacks, of the community I had left behind…It was clear I was compensating, and seeking a way to balance out my earlier experiences.”[53]

Kindman poured his wised-up background into an open letter encouraging Grapevine’s staff to build a strong alternative voice and resolve internal tensions. “None of this was very well received,” he recounted, “and we continued stumbling forward.”[54] He soon left, “proud of our role…and anxious for a rest.”[55]

His odyssey continued. In 1978, he came out and became part of the politically active “Radical Fairies.” By 1985, he’d become president of a spiritual sanctuary for gay men that gained IRS status. He found solace in this world, but learned that he was HIV-positive in 1988. He died of AIDS in 1991, two months after finishing this book.

So what’s to celebrate amid mind control and illness? Nearing the end, Kindman called himself “a survivor and an optimist.”[56] Over his activist life, he rolled back silly rules, raised antiwar and (his own) gay consciousness, defended the environment and ministered to the sick. He was “mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved.” And his willingness to bear witness without revision makes My Odyssey Through the Underground Press a genre classic.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Some of Tracy Baim’s contributors extol the gray press’ expansion into digital media, but the number of LGBT publications has shrunk from a peak of more than 200 newspapers[57] to 125 newspapers, regional and national magazines, digests and zines.[58] Baim’s list of “whys” recalled the underground era: lack of money, political and personal volatility, new competition, key figures succumbing substance abuse—and now AIDS.[59] “I have to say that the status of the gay press is actually far worse than I originally thought.”[60]

The concluding essays in Gay Press, Gay Power carried a somber tone. In “Do We Still Need Gay News Media?” writer and activist Yasmin Nair said that “much of what passes for gay media these days is of abysmal quality and probably deserves to die.”[61] Nair challenged “a lack of accountability, an inability to engage in the simplest of questioning in the unrelenting quest for eyeballs and to drive traffic”—sins, she quickly added, that exist throughout today’s media.[62] Gay papers remained relevant to cover issues that might be ignored or distorted. But “the problem is that they rest upon the idea that their readers are too focused on identity to care about quality.”[63] Serving both masters, she said, will require paying good journalists adequately. Which in turn will require both creative and business reinvention.

Can the Internet’s lower barriers to entry fuel a renaissance? John McMillian in the “Afterword” of Smoking Typewriters, hoped so:

The democratic sensibilities that Sixties youths brought to journalism, though, not only persist but also have already taken on a life of their own…Much of what the liberal blogosphere is already credited with—democratizing the media, rapidly circulating information, influencing the agenda of the mainstream press, and building communities among like-minded groups—was accomplished on a smaller scale nearly forty years ago by the brash and saucy, threadbare papers of the underground press.[64]

Those underground papers screamed. They could work backwards from their ideology. Too often they ate their own. But they envisioned what might be, held a mirror to a country that had failed to realize its own ideals and resisted an unjust war—often while having Big Fun. Not the total victory we sought. Not a bad consolation prize.

Notes

[1] Kerouac, Jack, On the Road, Viking Press, 1957. Quote retrieved from http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/1742.Jack_Kerouac.

[2] Mungo, Ray, Famous Long Ago: My Life and Hard Times with Liberation News Service. Beacon Press, Boston, 1970. Too late for this review, I’ve learned of a new book about Mungo’s LNS faction: Slonecker, Blake, A New Dawn for the New Left: Liberation News Service, Montague Farm, and the Long Sixties, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. Slonecker is a professor at Waldorf College.

[3] Goodman, Mitchell, The Movement Toward a New America: The Beginnings of a Long Revolution, Pilgrim Press/Alfred A. Knopf, 1970.

[4] Other period anthologies include: Samberg, Paul, Jon, Charlotte, Fire! Reports from the Underground Press. E. P. Dutton, 1970; Howard, Mel and Forcade, Thomas King, The Underground Reader, New American Library, 1972; Our Times is Now: Notes from the High School Underground, Birmingham, John, Praeger, 1970; Kornbluth, Jesse, editor Notes from the New Underground; An Anthology,  Viking, 1968; Katzman, Allen, Our Time: An Anthology of Interviews from The East Village Other, Dial, 1972,. Thanks go to Ken Wachsberger for amassing an extensive bibliography for his own work, and for his kind words about my own book.

[5] Leamer, Lawrence, The Paper Revolutionaries, Simon and Schuster, 1972.

[6] Robert J. Glessing’s The Underground Press in America (Indiana University) and Ethel Grodzins Romm’s The Open Conspiracy: What America’s Angry Generation Is Saying may be less read these days, but these 1971 surveys are worth recalling.

[7] Neville, Richard, Play Power: Exploring the International Underground, Vintage, 1970.

[8] Armstrong, David, A Trumpet To Arms: Alternative Media in America, J.P. Tarcher, 1981.

[9] Ibid, page 255.

[10] Rips, Geoffrey, Unamerican Activities: The Campaign Against the Underground Press, City Lights, 1981.

[11] Kessler, Lauren, The Dissident Press: Alternative Journalism in American History, Sage, 1984.

[12] Streitmatter, Rodger, Voices of Revolution; The Dissident Press in America, Columbia University, 2001.

[13] Peck, Abe, Uncovering the Sixties: The Life and Times of the Underground Press, Pantheon, 1985 and Citadel, 1991.

[14] Peck, ibid, page 149.

[15] Not all titles have endorsed the papers. Francis Watson in The Alternative Media: Dismantling Two Centuries of Progress, Rockford College Institute, 1979, attacked “a force for self-indulgence in art and lifestyle that runs counter to the values of self-discipline and economic self-reliance associated with capitalism and liberty.” The book is currently unavailable.

[16] Wachsberger, Ken, Voices from the Underground: Insider Histories of the Vietnam Era Underground Press, Mica, 1993.

[17] Wachsberger, ibid, page xix.

[18] Wachsberger, ibid, page xix.

[19] Wachsberger, ibid, page 166.

[20] Brownmiller, Susan, in Wachsberger, Insider Histories of the Vietnam Era Underground Press (Voices from the Underground), Michigan State, 2012, page xi-xii.

[21] Wachsberger, 2011 edition, page xiii.

[22] Ibid, page xv.

[23] Ibid, page 266.

[24] Lewes, James, Protest and Survive: Underground GI Newspapers during the Vietnam War, Praeger, 2003.

[25] Hilliard, David, editor, The Black Panther: Intercommunal News Service 1967-1980, Atria, 2007.

[26] Grant, Joseph W., Stop the Presses! I Want to Get Off! A Brief History of the Prisoners’ Digest International, Michigan State, 2012.

[27] McMillian, John, Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America, Oxford, 2011.

[28] Ibid, page 38.

[29] Ibid, page 79.

[30] Ibid, pages 11-12.

[31] Ibid, pages 146-148 and beyond.

[32] Stewart, Sean, On The Ground: An Illustrated Anecdotal History of the Sixties Underground Press in the U.S., PM Press, 2011.

[34] Stewart, page 1.

[35] Stewart, page 179.

[36] (http://theragblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/books-jonah-raskin-sean-stewarts.html).

[37] Leyland, Winston, Rechy, John and ritscher, Jack, Gay Roots: Twenty Years of Gay Sunshine: An Anthology of Gay History, Sex, Politics, and Culture, Gay Sunhine, 1991 and 1993.

[38] Streitmatter, Rodger, Unspeakable: The Rise of the Gay and Lesbian Press in America, Faber & Faber, 1995.

[39] Alwood, Edward, Straight News: Gays, Lesbians and the News Media, Columbia, 1996.

[40] Baim, Tracy, Gay Press, Gay Power: The Growth of LGBT Community Newspapers in America, CreateSpace, 2012.

[41] Ibid, page 24.

[42] Ibid, pages 45-46.

[43] Ibid, page 54.

[44] Ibid, page 237.

[45] Ibid, page 359.

[46] Ibid, page 275.

[47] Kindman, Michael, My Odyssey through the Underground Press, Michigan State, 2011.

[48] Ibid, page 9.

[49] Ibid, page 27.

[50] Ibid, page 38.

[51] Ibid, page 73.

[52] Ibid, page 155.

[53] Ibid, page 159.

[54] Ibid, page 156.

[55] Ibid, page 163.

[56] Ibid, page 188.

[57] Baim, page 114.

[58] Ibid, page 440.

[59] Ibid, page 114-115.

[60] Ibid, page 441.

[61] Ibid, page 434.

[62] Ibid, page 434.

[63] Ibid, page 435.

[64] McMillian, page 190.

Abe Peck is a professor emeritus in service and senior director of the Media Management Center at the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University. He is the author of Uncovering the Sixties: The Life and Times of the Underground Press, edited The Chicago Seed underground newspaper and was on the steering committee of the Underground Press Syndicate during the 1960s. He edited Dancing Madness and co-edited Medill on Media Engagement, worked at Rolling Stone, Outside, The Chicago Sun-Times and The Chicago Daily News, has written for numerous publications and consults on media worldwide.

Image: Public Collectors