Journalism and Jim Crow

White Supremacy and the Black Struggle for a New America
Author: Edited by Kathy Roberts Forde and Sid Bedingfield
Foreword by Alex Lichtenstein
A pioneering work on the role of the press in building--and opposing--Jim Crow
Cloth – $125
Paper – $24.95
eBook – $14.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 12/14/2021
Cloth: 12/14/2021
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About the Book

White publishers and editors used their newspapers to build, nurture, and protect white supremacy across the South in the decades after the Civil War. At the same time, a vibrant Black press fought to disrupt these efforts and force the United States to live up to its democratic ideals. Journalism and Jim Crow centers the press as a crucial political actor shaping the rise of the Jim Crow South. The contributors explore the leading role of the white press in constructing an anti-democratic society by promoting and supporting not only lynching and convict labor but also coordinated campaigns of violence and fraud that disenfranchised Black voters. They also examine the Black press’s parallel fight for a multiracial democracy of equality, justice, and opportunity for all—a losing battle with tragic consequences for the American experiment.

Original and revelatory, Journalism and Jim Crow opens up new ways of thinking about the complicated relationship between journalism and power in American democracy.

Contributors: Sid Bedingfield, Bryan Bowman, W. Fitzhugh Brundage, Kathy Roberts Forde, Robert Greene II, Kristin L. Gustafson, D'Weston Haywood, Blair LM Kelley, Alex Lichtenstein, and Razvan Sibii

Watch a video with the editors and contributors introducing the book

About the Author

Kathy Roberts Forde is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is the author of Literary Journalism on Trial: Masson v. New Yorker and the First Amendment. Sid Bedingfield is an associate professor of journalism and mass communication at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of Newspaper Wars: Civil Rights and White Resistance in South Carolina, 1935-1965.


"The research and sourcing are rich, with sixty to one hundred citations per chapter. Historical events are placed in a 2020s context. Journalism and Jim Crow is a relevant read." --American Journalism

"Advantaged by the journalistic backgrounds of its writers, the book horrifies as it explains the role of southern white newspapermen in ending Reconstruction, ushering in Jim Crow, and disguising it all in a narrative of 'The New South' . . . . The book dramatically shows the blood on the hands of the white southern press in lynching and then looks closely at the role of newspapers in spreading and resisting white supremacy in case studies of most southern states." --Black Perspectives

"Journalism and Jim Crow is well-researched and, for an edited volume, remarkably consistent in quality. . . . The book convincingly supports its argument. Each chapter is filled with facts and insights that every journalist and student of journalism should know." --H-Net Reviews

"A powerful collection of essays exploring how white journalists helped created Jim Crow and how Black journalists fought for something better. . . . All parts of the book are grounded in relevant scholarship and polished for clarity." --Journal of Southern History


"Assembling penetrating scholarship on the complex roles that newspapers and their personnel (editors, publishers, reporters) played in both establishing white supremacy in the postbellum South and in resisting its imposition, Journalism and Jim Crow offers much fresh insight based on original research. Together, the collected essays highlight the pivotal role of a set of actors (some of them prominent, many previously neglected) and institutions, making substantial contributions to scholarship on the origins of Jim Crow as well as filling a major gap in journalism history and media studies."--Bruce J. Schulman, The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics


•  Winner, Book of the Year Award, American Journalism Historians Association, 2022
•  Winner, Best Journalism and Mass Communication History Book, History Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, 2022
• Finalist, Tankard Book Award, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), 2022
•  Winner, Eugenia M. Palmegiano Prize, American Historical Association, 2022