Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Back in 1969, when a purple newspaper cover was fine...

While looking through some older student papers, we came across this rare issue of The Ridgerunner from 1969 bedecked with a psychedelic purple cover and purple type throughout. The Ridgerunner was the student newspaper from 1965-79, and this particular issue is the only one with such an artistic cover and purple ink.

The October 29, 1969 issue of The Ridgerunner.

1969 was a turbulent time on American university campuses. The Vietnam War was raging, and in March, 1969, President Richard Nixon had escalated the war with a covert bombing campaign against Vietnamese forces in the neighboring country of Cambodia. Just a few weeks prior to this issue's publication date a Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam was held on college campuses across the nation. It was a tense time in America, and UNC Asheville wasn't immune to what was happening nationwide.

This issue of The Ridgerunner clearly reflected the times. There was an article on students gathering to protest the war and a letter to the editor from a "Draft Counselor" discussing alternatives and options for those faced with the military draft. Another article by "Timmy Teenybopper" talked about the stigma of being a "longhair," while another article called for a campus discussion on bringing co-ed dorms to UNCA. 

The issue dedicated a page and half to popular music. It was a busy year for music, in fact 1969 witnessed the release of many recordings that are mainstays of "Classic Rock" stations. In July 1969 David Bowie released his iconic single "Space Oddity" - the same month that Apollo 11 landed humans on the moon for the first time (this particular archivist remembers hearing "Space Oddity" on the radio while carefully following the Apollo 11 journey to the moon).

October 1969 alone saw the release of a number of albums now considered rock classics, including Led Zeppelin II, Pink Floyd's Ummagumma, the Kinks' Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire), Frank Zappa's Hot Rats, King Crimson's In the Court of the Crimson King, and John Lennon and Yoko Ono's exercise in the avant-garde, Wedding Album.

A new album by the Beatles - Abbey Road, released in September, 1969 - was reviewed in this issue of The Ridgerunner.  The paper also addressed one of the burning questions of the time - the urban legend that speculated that Beatle Paul McCartney was dead. 

"Here's another clue for you all/ The walrus was Paul" - "Glass Onion", from The Beatles (aka the White Album).
You can view the entire contents of this issue of The Ridgerunner, as well as many other copies of UNC Asheville's student newspapers, on DigitalNC.

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