Kudzu, Mississippi’s Radical Underground Newspaper, 1968-1972


“‘Subterranean News from the Heart of Old Dixie,’ the radical counterculture newspaper published 1968-1972 in Jackson, Mississippi, presented by the Student News Project. The Kudzu was among the first underground papers published in the Deep South… in easily the last place on earth to attempt it. This 24-issue volume was likely bound in the early 1970s, perhaps for a library but with no markings or designation of any kind to identify as such.  The Kudzu initially operated from a small apartment on Idlewild Street in inner-city Jackson, though staff members regularly drove a three hour road trip to New Orleans. There they could affordably publish at a small African-American paper, the Louisiana Weekly. With few advertisers, costs were largely covered out of pocket by the editors, David Doggett, Cassell Carpenter, and Everett Long. Issues were printed in 6000 copies, estimated actual circulation was approximately 1200 per issue, distributed mostly in downtown Jackson with limited statewide circulation at Mississippi Colleges. Kudzu was founded and staffed primarily by students of Millsaps College and members of the SSOC Southern Student’s Organizing Committee — affiliated with the SDS Students for a Democratic Society — at a time when the SDS considered it too dangerous to organize in the Deep South. Before Kudzu, founding editor David Doggett worked as an full-time organizer for the SSOC. In preparation for starting Kudzu, Doggett spent a month living in the basement of the Great Speckled Bird, the first of the Dixie radical newspapers in Atlanta. There Doggett learned the fundamentals of putting together an underground paper on a shoestring budget. 1968 was one of the most turbulent years in American history, witnessing the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, with public riots erupting in more than 100 US cities throughout that year. On August 28, 1968, riots broke out at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, shocking the nation. …”
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