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Grapevine Journal records

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-12.7.3

Scope and Contents

The Grapevine Journal records includes office files for Grapevine Journal and Good Times Magazine, subject files, publications, and photographs. The office files include advertising files, correspondence, distribution reports, financial records, drafts of articles, and office memos. The subject files include topics on MSU issues, national issues, and African American issues. Also included are personal files of James Ballard and Kim Heron. The publications and newspapers include those produced by African Americans and Latinos as well as ones from the local area. Titles include Grapevine Journal, Liberation News Service, three issues of The Black Panther for 1970 and 1971, Muntu Drum for 1972 and 1973, Spectator for 1972, one issue of Los Latinos for April 1974, El Renaciemiento for 1971-1974, and Washington Afro-American for 1972. Local and Michigan based publications include Grapevine Journal, The Paper for 1967-1968, one issue of The Blazer for February 1972, issues of The Spectator for 1972, Siege from 1972, and Third World Genesis created by a MSU Journalism workshop for July 17, 1973. The collection also includes photographs, contact sheets, and negatives. Images include African American campus events, MSU athletics, campus life, students, local places and events, and national African American issues and events. There are also photographs of people from MSU and the local area.


  • Creation: 1952 - 1975


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Financial papers and papers of James Ballard are restricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Historical Note

In June 1971, Project Grapevine produced the Grapevine. The Grapevine was an eight page tabloid created manually on a typewriter and pasted together by two students. Two thousand copies were printed of the first issue. In September 1971, The Grapevine changed its name to the Grapevine Journal. Circulation increased to 10,000 and staff size increased to four. Through donations, the Grapevine Journal published seven issues until May 1972 when eight staff members produced a 24 page paper. Contents included the national Presidential primaries and an analysis on the African-American athlete protest at MSU. For their effort, the University of Minnesota recognized the Grapevine Journal with a First Class Award from Associated Collegiate Press.

To expand the paper, advertising and sales were used to generate revenue. In the summer of 1972, founder James Ballard turned over major administrative duties over to George White in order to build an advertising staff and W. Kim Heron became editor of the paper. In July 1972, Grapevine staff helped the Lansing community produce and publish for Citizens Congress Inc. Work from the summer of 1972 produced a 32 page paper for the campus’ welcome week. The full color issue produced 1,700 dollars in advertising and circulation surged to 40,000. By September 1972, the staff of the Grapevine Journal doubled, making it the largest African-American student paper in the United States. However, by 1973 the newspaper faced budget issues and competition from the Michigan State News. The paper continued to be published infrequently until 1975.


6 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisiton

James Ballard

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University except where noted on material

Literary Rights: James Ballard

Property Rights: Michigan State University

Grapevine Journal Records
4 Published And Cataloged
K. Grimm
November 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US