The Inquisition (underground newspaper)

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Cover of volume II issue 3 of Inquisition (1969)

The Inquisition was an underground newspaper produced by high school students -- mostly attending East Mecklenburg High School -- and their various friends bi-monthly in Charlotte, North Carolina from April 1968 to late 1969. Inquisition was the first Underground Press Syndicate member from the U.S. South[citation needed] and a member of Liberation News Service. Copies of Inquisition are found in 15 university libraries.[1]

After a first issue of only 81, the magazine went to 450 then doubled again by the third issue.[2] By its final issues, the newspaper inspired emotional rejections by parents and became an underground icon for teens.[3]

Inquisition was the subject of a landmark First Amendment case, Inquisition vs City of Charlotte, pitting Freedom of the Press against a city zoning ordinance in March - May, 1969.[4][5] The case, which was partially decided by placing the sound of the paper's small printer against the sound of a power mower, was found in favor of Inquisition.[6][7]

Inquisition reporters are rumored to have taped one of Jimi Hendrix's last concerts.[8]

Inquisition was revisited by way of an interview with two founders, Russell Schwarz and Lynwood Sawyer with scholar Suzanne Sink and host Michael Collins on WFAE's Charlotte Talks (90.7 FM Charlotte) on November 10, 2010 and rebroadcast on January 16, 2012.[9]

Inquisition's story was featured in a retrospective on the year 1968 in Charlotte Magazine September 2013.[10]


  1. ^ "Formats and Editions of Inquisition.-". Retrieved February 24, 2010. 
  2. ^ A Newspaper 'Inquisition.' Dayberry, Don. Charlotte Observer. August 26, 1968. Page 10A.
  3. ^ Mother's Afraid of 'Inquisition' Name Withheld By Request. Charlotte Observer. April 9, 1969. Observer Forum.
  4. ^ Taylor, Nick. “Embattled ‘Inquisition’ Gets Timely Assist from Judge.” The Charlotte News 28 Mar 1969: 20C.
  5. ^ Taylor, Nick. “‘Inquisition’ Case Lacks Precedents: Historic Ruling Ahead?.” The Charlotte News 21 Apr 1969: 20B.
  6. ^ Taylor, Nick. “Inquisition Zone OK, Youths Told: Editors Testify at Hearing.” The Charlotte News 11 Apr 1969: 1C.
  7. ^ Taylor, Nick. “Judge Gives Ruling: ‘Inquisition’ Press Can Start Rolling.” The Charlotte News 12 May 1969: 1A, 4A.
  8. ^ "the jimi hendrix encyclopedia -". Retrieved February 24, 2010. [dead link]
  9. ^ "The Inquisition Magazine (Rebroadcast)". Retrieved September 14, 2014. 
  10. ^ "The Past:1968 - The Trouble Makers.". Charlotte Magazine. Retrieved September 14, 2014. 

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