Space City!

Space City! was an underground newspaper published in Houston, Texas from June 5, 1969 to August 3, 1972. The founders were Students for a Democratic Society veterans and former members of the staff of the Austin, Texas, underground newspaper, The Rag, one of the earliest and most influential of the Sixties underground papers. The original editorial collective was composed of Thorne Dreyer, who had been the founding “funnel” of The Rag in 1966; Victoria Smith, a former reporter for the St. Paul Dispatch; community organizers Cam Duncan and Sue Mithun Duncan; and radical journalists Dennis Fitzgerald and Judy Gitlin Fitzgerald. Dreyer, a Houston native, and Smith had worked together at Liberation News Service (LNS) in New York before coming to Houston to help found Space City!. Other staffers included Bill Narum as Art Director, cartoonist Kerry Fitzgerald (later known as Kerry Awn), and noted music writers and musicologists Tary Owens and John Lomax III. The first twelve issues of the paper were published under the name Space City News, but, starting with issue No. 13 (Jan. 17, 1970), the name was changed to Space City! (with the exclamation point as a graphical design flourish) when it was discovered that another publication (a UFO newsletter) was already using the name. … Initially biweekly, the paper went on hiatus for two months starting in February 1971 and then, with $3000 in the bank which they had accumulated through a series of fundraisers, they resumed publishing in April 1971 as a weekly. After the hiatus the paper changed its focus and became more mainstream, shifting its target audience from dope-smoking revolutionary youth to the older ‘liberal intelligentsia’ who listened to the local Pacifica Radio affiliate, KPFT, where other Rag alumni were working. At this time Space City! began to pay more attention to local news and electoral politics, which it had previously disdained, and added such traditional newspaper appurtenances as beat reporters and a city desk.  Space City! was published by a theoretically leaderless leftist collective, and for the first 18 months of its existence it pushed an agitprop antiwar/radical political message, leavening the politics with lively graphics and countercultural arts coverage. Sales, which were mostly by casual street vendors, averaged around 10,000 copies, both before and after the paper went weekly in 1971. … During the three years of the paper’s existence, the offices of Space City! were attacked several times in drive-by shootings, car bombings, and one pipe-bombing, in which no one, fortunately, was seriously injured. …”
Space City! Houston’s historic underground newspaper (Video)
Space City News ++

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