Liberation (magazine)

Liberation Magazine (1956–77) was a bimonthly, later a monthly, magazine identified in the 1960s with the New Left.[1]



Liberation was founded, published, and edited by David Dellinger, Bayard Rustin, Sidney Lens, Roy Finch, and A. J. Muste[2] out of New York City[3][4] and Glen Gardner, New Jersey.[2] Muste brought funding from the War Resisters League.[3][5] For Rustin, the magazine was a major commitment of time and energy, raising money and meeting every week with Muste.[6] He wrote to Martin Luther King, Jr.,[7] who later wrote for the magazine. The June 1963 issue contained the first full publication of King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail" and the first version with that title

The editorial positions of the magazine were somewhat comparable to those of Dissent and Studies on the Left.[8] Editorially, Liberation supported the Cuban Revolution, and published C. Wright Mills' article "Listen, Yankee!"[9] (leading to Finch's resignation from the editorial board);[10] support for SDS and opposition to the Vietnam War;[11] and support for unilateral nuclear disarmament.

The magazine supported Fellowship of Reconciliation (FoR) organizers, and its editorial offices at times served as a clearinghouse for activists conducting non-violent resistance.[12]

Liberation occasionally ran investigative pieces. In early 1965, the magazine ran long articles by Vincent Salandria challenging the conclusions of the Warren Commission. In 1975 it published an article by Fred Landis on psychological warfare by the CIA in Chile.

A poem by Louis Ginsberg, father of Allen Ginsberg, was published in the magazine.[13] Children's book author Vera Williams made the artwork for many of the covers.[14]

By 1977 the magazine was edited by Jan Edwards and Michael Nill out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. It ceased publication not long after the departure of Dellinger.


  1. Staughton Lynd; Andrej Grubačić; Denis O'Hearn (2008). Wobblies & Zapatistas: Conversations on Anarchism, Marxism and Radical History. PM Press. ISBN 978-1-60486-041-2.
  2. McReynolds, David (September 2004). "Remembering Dave Dellinger". Against the Current (112). Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  3. James Tracy, ed. (1996). Direct Action: radical pacifism from the Union Eight to the Chicago Seven. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-81127-7.
  4. Epstein, Barbara (1991). Political Protest and Cultural Revolution: Nonviolent Direct Action in the 1970s and 1980s. University of California Press. p. 284. ISBN 0520914465. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  5. Frank Kusch (2001). All American Boys: draft dodgers in Canada from the Vietnam War. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-275-97268-4.
  6. John D'Emilio, Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin, New York: Free Press, 2003, p. 216.
  7. Stewart Burns, Daybreak of Freedom: The Montgomery Bus Boycott, University of North Carolina Press, 1997.
  8. Staughton Lynd, Andrej Grubacic, Wobblies and Zapatistas: Conversations on Anarchism, Marxism and Radical History, PM Press, 2008, p. 36.
  9. "April 9, 2007". The Nation. Retrieved 2011-05-24.
  10. Sam Dolgoff, The Cuban Revolution: A Critical Perspective, Black Rose Books, 1976.
  11. Nigel Young, An Infantile Disorder?: The Crisis and Decline of the New Left, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977.
  12. Howard Brick, Age of Contradiction: American Thought and Culture in the 1960s, Twayne, 1998.
  13. Allen Ginsberg (ed. Bill Morgan), The Letters of Allen Ginsberg, Da Capo Press, 2008, p. 243.
  14. "Vera Baker Williams Interview by Connie Bostic". BMCS. Retrieved 2019-08-16.
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