Ivan Allen, Jr. begins his term as the mayor of Atlanta. His term will last throughout the 1960s, being succeeded by Sam Massell in 1970.
October 29, 1965
A “teach-in” is held at Emory University. According to historian Christopher Allen Huff, “Teach-ins had emerged the previous spring as a means of heightening awareness about the nation’s growing commitment to the Vietnam War, which President Lyndon Johnson had escalated in March by sending in the first American ground combat troops. Teach-ins consisted of information sessions about Vietnam and debates about U.S. policy between pro- and anti-Vietnam War advocates.”
David Braden and Kathryn Palmer (a jeweler) move their art and jewelry gallery, the Mandorla, to 14th and Peachtree Streets. Braden would become one of Atlanta’s most well-known hippies.
January 11, 1967
Lester Maddox becomes governor of Georgia.
David Braden opens the Catacombs beneath his art and jewelry gallery, the Mandorla. Originally intended to be a gathering place for local artists, bohemians,
and poets, the Catacombs quickly changed to a psychedelic rock venue after the influx of hippies to Atlanta during the 1967 “Summer of Love.” At some point, a group was setting up an experimental light show at the Catacombs and asked Braden where they were to set up. Braden responded, “Don’t ask me, I’m not your mother!” Earning him the nickname “Mother David.”
The Morning Glory Seed, Atlanta’s first “head shop,” is opened by Porter Dunaway.
The Twelfth Gate, a coffeeshop featuring folk music for bohemians and hippies, is opened by Rev. Bruce Donnelly, a Methodist minister. Located at 10th and Peachtree, Rev. Donnelly and “the Gate” would grow to provide art scholarships, a free clinic, and even Sunday sermons to local hippies.
July 22, 1967
The Catacombs are closed for fire and building hazards. These hazards included lumber and trash piles, “poor housekeeping,” and a recommendation to get the wiring of the building inspected. The head of Atlanta Police Department’s vice squad, Lt. H. L. Whalen, also made a comment that the building held over 100 people, exceeding the venue’s maximum capacity.
Dr. Joseph Hertel, a doctor of internal medicine in Buckhead, opens a free clinic in Rev. Donnelly’s office at the Twelfth Gate. Originally seeing only six people a week, the clinic quickly becomes popular and services up to 30 people a week. It is closed by winter, but reopens at a new location the following summer.
July 23, 1967
Following an article about the Catacombs’ closure, the word “hippie” is first printed in an Atlanta newspaper.
August 6, 1967
The day of the Hiroshima Day March, which marked the pinnacle of “Vietnam Summer” for the Atlanta Friends Meeting (Quakers). The march featured over five hundred people from various walks of life, including radicals, hippies, civil rights activists, and older Americans. While officially a memorial for the lives lost after the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, many attendees supported world peace, and disapproved of all wars—including the one raging in Vietnam. The rally concluding the march was held in Grant Park, and featured speeches from leaders of both black and white churches, as well as members of the SCLC (such as Ralph Abernathy), and black comedian and activist Dick Gregory. The march was the last of its kind for the era in Atlanta, as demonstrations afterwards became less biracial and were composed of mostly younger people.
October 11, 1967
After addressing hazards, the Catacombs reopen.
Another head shop, the Middle Earth, is opened by Bo and Linda Lozoff. The Lozoffs encountered frequent harassment from local police, who routinely entered the premises without warning, bothered customers, and threatened to arrest the owners for selling “obscene” posters and other “objectionable merchandise.” Middle Earth, however, managed to stay open and even launched a branch store above the Catacombs.
November 3, 1967
The Catacombs are closed for operating without a business license and seven people are arrested at the club due to codeine and cannabis found in the club. An arrest warrant is issued for Mother David, as the drugs were found at his club.
November 4, 1967
Mother David surrenders himself at WSB Studios for narcotics charges after police find drugs at his club, the Catacombs, the night before.
November 7, 1967
After months of what hippies believed were “efforts to stamp them out,” about twenty-four hippies organize a meeting in a Buckhead apartment to discuss a “Bill of Rights Demonstration” for their rights. This group stressed that they were not just interested in themselves, but also any groups whose constitutional rights were violated by police–including black people, “slum dwellers,” and peace demonstrators. Mother David shares at the meeting that he feels it is essential that Atlanta’s hip community create their own newspaper.
December 12, 1967
Mother David is indicted on narcotics charges stemming from his narcotics arrest.
March 15, 1968
Volume 1, Number 1, of the Great Speckled Bird is released by founding editors Tom and Stephanie Coffin, Howard Romaine, and Gene Guerrero, Jr. The Bird would grow to become the most circulated underground newspaper outside of California or New York.
The Morning Glory Seed closes after police arrest two employees.
April 4, 1968
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. His assassin, James Earl Ray, had been staying in Atlanta’s 10th Street Hippie District the days preceding the event.
April 21, 1968
Mother David attempts suicide in jail by cutting his wrists.
April 22, 1968
Mother David attempts a last minute plea for insanity, citing his attempted suicide the night before. The judge denies his plea and sentences him to seven years in prison.
The second location of the Middle Earth, located above the Catacombs, is closed just before the summer due to even more police harassment than their first location. Rev. Bruce Donnelly attempts to open another coffeehouse, this one called the 14th Gate, in the same space. Police still repeatedly enter the establishment to arrest teenage patrons for “loitering.”
A new free clinic is opened by Dr. Joseph Hertel and Rev. Bruce Donnelly at a Boy Scout Hut behind Atlanta’s First Presbyterian Church. The new incarnation operated every Tuesday and Thursday night beginning at 8 o’clock, and included multiple doctors, a psychologist, a Planned Parenthood representative, and several volunteer nurses from nearby hospitals. Atlanta’s major hospitals—Crawford Long, Grady Memorial, and Piedmont—accepted referrals by the clinic, and drug companies donated medicine.
Don Bender, one of the principal organizers for the Hiroshima Day March, formally joins the Atlanta Friends Meeting. He quickly becomes one of Atlanta’s lead activists.
June 9, 1968
A “Preach-In” held at the Twelfth Gate, followed by a “Love-In” at Piedmont Park.
The Catacombs venue is sold after the manager and lessee of the building, Doug Merrill, loses his lease. This also causes the 14th Gate to close.
July 17, 1968
About sixty hippies hold a demonstration in the rain to protest WSB, a local television and radio station, for their promotion of the pro-war film The Green Berets. The protesters marched on the sidewalk from 14th and Peachtree to WSB studios. A local theater owner asks that an anti-war film being screened at his venue receive the same promotion as The Green Berets.
July 31, 1968
The Aldermanic Police Committee hold a meeting to “crackdown on hippies” after residents near the Strip complained of excessive vandalism, obscene language, and “other nuisances.” The police respond saying, “We’ll do the best we can…but people will tear us apart for harassing them.”
August 26, 1968
After months of continued police harassment, the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia forms a “hippie squad” to defend Atlanta’s youth in civil and appeals courts. The Atlanta Constitution points out that several of these youths had been previosuly arrested for “loitering,” in which the reality was that they were waiting for traffic lights to change before crossing the road.
October 7, 1968
An “Eat-In” is staged at the Pennant restaurant over selectively enforced minimums and other discriminations against hippies. According to an article by the Atlanta Workshop in Nonviolence (AWIN), discrimination included denying services such as telephone use “to anyone with long hair or anyone whose dress includes an element which could be an excuse for a ‘hippy’ label.”
About fifty hippies stage another “Eat-In” at a local Waffle House over selectively enforced minimums. The manager, Bill Booker, explained that he enforced the minimums because “unlike straights who ate and left quickly, they tended to linger, sometimes for hours…[and] also tipped poorly, hurting the take home pay of waitresses.”
February 20, 1969
Reverend Bruce Donnelly is awarded as one of the “Outstanding Young Men of the Year” by the Atlanta Junior Chamber of Commerce.
April 6, 1969
Over 3,000 people (many of them hippies) marched in Atlanta to protest war, racism, poverty, and to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The activities were organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Southwide Mobilization Against the Vietnam War and for Self Determination. The march began at King’s Ebenezer Baptist Church and ended seven blocks west at Hurt Park.
May 11, 1969
After several young people were injured by a shotgun blast the week prior, about seventy-five hippies organize a “Sleep-In” in Piedmont Park to protest their lack of police protection in the 10th Street district.
June 1, 1969
Russell Malone, a young man who had gone absent-without-leave (AWOL) arrives at Quaker House in the trunk of a car and promptly begins giving television interviews about his anti-war stance.
June 2, 1969
The FBI arrests Russell Malone early in the morning at Quaker House.
July 4-5, 1969
The first Atlanta International Pop Festival is held at the Atlanta International Raceway in Hampton, GA, over a month before Woodstock. This marks the first major festival organized in Atlanta by Alex Cooley, who would go on to create other music venues in the city and even organize Music Midtown. The festival included performances by Joe Cocker, Grand Funk Railroad, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, and Led Zeppelin.
July 7, 1969
To thank Atlanta music fans for a successful weekend following the International Pop Festival, a concert is performed in Piedmont Park featuring the Grateful Dead.
August 5, 1969
A raid takes place at a house located at 193 14th Street, where six Molotov cocktails and drugs were found. As the fifteen residents were arrested, over 200 people gathered in the street chanting “Get the pigs out!” and “The revolution has begun!” The crowd began throwing bricks, bottles, and other garbage at the police officers, resulting in twenty-three more arrests.
September 7, 1969
A lawyer named David Harris purchased Lester Maddox’s former mansion and invited 400 people to party and raze the house with ax handles in what was the city’s largest “Happening” at the time. The party at and destruction of the mansion was meant to symbolize the end of an era, as Maddox was a known segregationist who became infamous after chasing away black customers at his Pickrick restaurant after the end of segregation–hence the reason attendees were to bring ax handles. The party was made up of mostly hippies, but also included members of “straight” society and civil rights activists. A local psychedelic rock band, Dr. Espina’s Banana Boat Blues and Freak Show, provided music. Because of an impending thunderstorm, the razing of the house was called off, but the party continued.
September 17, 1969
A Mennonite minister, Reverend Harcourt “Harkey” Klinefelter, is arrested for “occupying a dive.” Klinefelter acted as Atlanta’s “Minister to the Street People,” attending and organizing several activist efforts in the city, as well as providing a network of shelter and other necessities to local hippies.
September 20, 1969
The Piedmont Park Police Riot happens after a summer of firebombings and police raids on hippie homes and businesses, alongside violent clashes of drunken “rednecks” visiting the Strip to beat up hippies. The event began when George Nikas, a member of the counterculture, revealed the identity of a narc roaming the park. The police deployed tear gas and several fights erupted between police and hippies. The riot resulted in the arrests of twenty-three people and was featured in Time magazine.
September 27, 1969
Five-hundred people march to protest police brutality in response to the Piedmont Park Police Riot. The march ended at the Atlanta Police Station, and marchers called for the disarming of police officers, as well as the firing of Police Chief Herbert T. Jenkins.
September 28, 1969
As many of Atlanta’s residents side with the youths who fell victim to the Piedmont Park Police Riot, a police “slowdown” begins. The slowdown was a form of silent protest by police officers who decreased the enforcement of the city’s laws.
November 4, 1969
The Allman Brothers Band release their debut self-titled album. Hailing from Macon, GA (90 minutes away from Atlanta), the Allman Brothers frequently played shows in Piedmont Park. While many rock bands of the era were British or played the “San Francisco Sound,” the Allman Brothers combined blues, rock, and country music to become one of America’s most-influential bands.
The Quaker’s Board of Trustees offer Atlanta’s Quaker House as a draft counseling center, led by Don Bender. The center counsels up to 100 people a month. Soon, Bender takes leadership of a new group, the Draft Counselors of Atlanta, formed with the Atlanta Workshop in Nonviolence (AWIN). Headquartered at Quaker House, the Draft Counselors of Atlanta trained Georgians, including 40 in Atlanta alone, to provide draft-age students in Georgia high schools and universities with various options, should they attempt to evade the draft. The group emerged as the preeminent center for draft counseling in the Southeast with the draft board itself sometimes calling Quaker House for a clearer understanding of the rules.
Construction of Colony Square begins. The building complex included a mall, and several large residential and business complexes. The development would eventually take up an entire block of Peachtree Street, between 14th and 15th Streets, demolishing several hip homes and businesses in its path.
December 18, 1969
The Midtown Alliance is formed—or is at least first reported in the Atlanta Constitution. The Alliance was made up of residents and business leaders from the 10th Street District who acted as intermediaries between the city’s hip and straight communities.
Sam Massell becomes Mayor of Atlanta. While some members of the hippie community believe Massell wanted to destroy the 10th Street District for his own real estate interests, most hippies support him for the mutual respect he showed them.
January 18, 1970
Dave “The Hippie Hawk” Newmark joins the Atlanta Hawks for the 1969-1970 season. He receives the nickname because of his long hair and beard. When asked how he felt about the name, Newmark responded, “I don’t know what a hippie is…If it refers to peace on earth, brotherhood and the betterment of mankind, then I’m for it.”
The Metro Atlanta Mediation Center, colloquially referred to as “the Bridge,” opens. The Bridge was established by Bob Griffin, a graduate student at Georgia State University, and Greg Santos, a priest from the Monastery of the Holy Ghost in Conyers, Georgia. Historian Christopher Allen Huff summarizes the role of the Bridge as, “[providing] counseling to families and temporary shelter for runaways,” and that it “aimed to get the parents and kids together at the mediation center to work out their problems but the best solution did not necessarily mean that the runaways would return home. The final decision ultimately rested with the child.” Before the meetings were held between the runaways and their families, the families had to agree to allow the child to stay if they wished at the end of their meeting.
April 1, 1970
A parade organized by the Midtown Alliance takes place at 1:30. The parade is meant to discourage the sale of heroin and other addictive drugs, and featured a 13-foot model of a hypodermic needle with a fake corpse inside of it. Signs and slogans of the parade carried such phrases as, “Thou Shalt Not Take Things in Vein.”
Don and Judy Bender move into Quaker House.
June 4, 1970
Sam Massell gives a statement on the hippies to residents of Atlanta saying that they are free to do what they please, as long as they are not breaking any laws. Because of the increase of drugs and violence in the 10th Street District, Massell establishes a police precinct on 10th Street with sixty-four police officers. Massell says, “The fact that hippies appear to meet with the general disapproval by the community at large gives us no license–legally or morally–to abridge their constitutional rights. As mayor of this city I shall use all of the powers of my office to protect individual freedoms and to prevent oppression directed at those in disfavor.” However, he added that those who do violate any Atlanta laws would face strict punishment.
June 5, 1970
The Midtown Police Precinct is established.
June 8, 1970
To show their appreciation toward Sam Massell’s efforts to lessen crime and violence in the area, hippies begin a clean up project to pickup trash in Midtown.
June 9, 1970
Forty hippies, known as the Human Improvement Project (HIP), Inc., begin south wide protests against drugs.
June 14, 1970
Twenty-one people are arrested after a Tom Jones’ Fish and Chips franchised restaurant on the Strip tried to stay open for an all-night dancing promotion.
July 3-5, 1970
The second Atlanta International Pop Festival is held near the Middle Georgia Raceway in Byron, Georgia. The lineup included performances by the Allman Brothers, the Hampton Grease Band, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, B.B. King, and Bob Seger.
July 30, 1970
Clarence Greene, who acted as Massell’s aide and liaison to Atlanta’s hippie community, is arrested for threatening the life of a minister, Rev. Carlisle J. Ramcharan. Greene’s wife, who was the minister’s secretary, was earlier asked to resign by Rev. Ramcharan.
July 31, 1970
Mother David is denied parole for his 1967 arrest.
August 20, 1970
In a publicity stunt, Dr. McKee Hargett, a Republican governor candidate, takes a broom to the Strip and begins literally sweeping the sidewalks. Along the way, he advises hippies to either “Shape up or ship out,” and tells one young girl that he would not know her gender unless he “saw [her] in the john.”
October 3, 1970
Wayne Wilson, an organizer for what he called the “Wino March,” is arrested for “pills and public drunkenness” after distributing sandwiches to his friends in Plaza Park. Wilson maintained his innocence, saying he had nothing to drink that night and that the pills were prescribed to him for bronchitis–he just did not have them stored in the original prescription bottle.
October 4, 1970
Harkey Klinefelter rushes to collect nickles and dimes from hippies and other residents in the 10th Street District to successfully raise enough funds to bail Wayne Wilson out of jail.
October 5, 1970
The Wino March continues as scheduled. The peculiar march was meant to protest common charges brought against heavy drinkers in Atlanta, such as public intoxication. Wilson argued these arrests were unfair, because the taxes that “winos” paid each time they purchased heavily taxed alcohol was more than the taxes paid by other citizens.
October 11, 1970
A riot breaks out in the Strip after a teenage girl is arrested for selling drugs. Windows were busted and firebombs were thrown into hippie businesses, and gunfire was exchanged, including shots fired at police by people in possession of sniper and automatic rifles. Tear gas was eventually deployed to clear out the scene. Twenty-six people were arrested as a result.
October 13, 1970
Because of the October 11th riot on the Strip, Georgia Governor Lester Maddox tours the area. He describes the conditions as “deplorable,” saying, “people are living like wild animals there.” As a result, Maddox posts state narcotics agents in the 10th Street Area.
December 29, 1970
A member of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, Barney “Tree” McSherry is shot and killed at 238 14th Street near the Strip, in a house known as White Columns. The incident stemmed weeks earlier when, members of the Outlaws carried shotguns into White Columns and robbed some of the residents. Three days later, more Outlaws came back and kidnapped one of the hippies who broke away and ran back into the house, grabbing a gun and exchanging fifteen rounds of fire with the bikers before they left. After that night, the hippies of White Columns built an arsenal and established a “no visitors” policy. Then, on December 29, Tree came to the mansion and was shot in the face with a shotgun. Police arrested all seventeen residents and, upon searching the house, found eighteen firebombs, seven rifles, four pistols, two shotguns, and a stick of dynamite. The residents were released the following day after a judge ruled that there had been too much violence in the 10th Street District to constitute a murder charge. The judge ruled that the gunman, 18-year-old John Wesley Roberts, acted in self-defense.
The Hampton Grease Band, who had been a staple at local festivals and other concerts in Atlanta for years, releases their first album Music to Eat by Columbia Records. The album is supposedly the second-lowest selling album in Columbia’s history, second only to a yoga instructional record.
January 12, 1971
Lester Maddox’s term as governor ends; Jimmy Carter becomes governor.
October 29, 1971
Duane Allman, guitarist and one of the vocalists of the Allman Brothers, dies in a motorcycle crash in Macon, Georgia. He was 24 years old.
May 6, 1972
The office of the Great Speckled Bird, located on the north end of Piedmont Park at 240 Westminster Drive, is firebombed.
After receiving less funding by national churches and as more programs emerge in Atlanta to combat the youth’s social ills, Rev. Harkey Klinefelter and his wife move to Europe.
The Hampton Grease Band breaks up.
Sam Massell’s mayoral term ends as he is succeeded by Maynard Jackson.
Volume 9, number 9, the last issue of the Great Speckled Bird is printed. Berl, a staffmember of the Bird, writes,
“The war is over…the street is now
Only asphalt and concrete…
After tonight we will only be ourselves
And not the Birdstaff…strange to lose a dimension.”
The Great Speckled Bird is shortly reborn for a limited release.
The Great Speckled Bird is reborn again for just one issue.
June 2, 2006
The Hampton Grease Band perform a reunion concert at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta. The set includes the entire tracklist of Music to Eat, as well as some cover songs.
October 27, 2011
A launch party is held by Georgia State University after the school digitizes issues of the Great Speckled Bird. An exhibit of the newspapers is held and a professor of the university, Dr. John McMillian (author of Smoking Typewriters), gives a speech.
June 2, 2018
Former staffmembers of the Great Speckled Bird hold a 50th Anniversary Celebration at the Chosewood Ballroom in Atlanta.
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