History 2005 Abstracts

History Division

How much is that Wireless in the Window? Department Stores and Radio Retailing in the 1920s • Noah Arceneaux, University of Georgia • During the 1920s, radio receivers transformed from unsightly, home-made contraptions into stylish pieces of furniture that broadcast entertainment into American homes. While some attention has been paid to this change in radio design, the specific retailing techniques used to sell these devices has not been examined. This study fills a gap in scholarship by focusing on department stores, institutions whose role in the social construction of American broadcasting has been previously overlooked.

A Tsunami of Social Change: Media in The Eye of the Reform Storm • Jeanni Atkins, University of Mississippi • Today critics urging media reform are reminiscent of the ‘60s and ‘70s when alternative papers and broadcast outlets, journalism reviews and citizen pressure groups urged media reforms. This paper examines the social forces giving rise to the calls for change in the ‘60s and ‘70s which contributed to a climate of media challenge on several fronts, describes the forms these challenges took, and discusses the perceived failures of mainstream media which prompted calls for media reforms.

Framing of Police Brutality and Racism: Historical Perspectives on Mainstream and Minority Newspapers • Sean Baker, Towson University • A frame analysis was conducted on mainstream and minority newspaper coverage of a 1938 police brutality case in Seattle. A “status quo” frame was found for the mainstream press, focusing on official responses without critical analysis. An “advocacy” frame was found for the black press that criticized official responses, supported the civil right, and highlighted racism within the Seattle police department. News frames and their relationship to the social construction of race are discussed.

The Dust Bowl Representative In The Communist Party Press: Woody Guthrie’s People’s Daily World Column • Matthew Blake, Florida • This paper examines the newspaper column written by songwriter Woody Guthrie during a two-year period at the close of the Depression (1939-1940). Appearing regularly in the Communist Party’s People’s Daily World, Guthrie’s column used unique spellings to match oral pronunciation in addressing three main themes: The experience of the Dust Bowl migrant, the impact of financial institutions on common Americans and a criticism of the California popular press.

Propaganda and Prestige: Principal Foundations for a Canadian Film Industry, 1939-1945 • Bryan Cardinale-Powell, Georgia State University • Determined to produce films worthy of national attention and despite formidable obstacles-Canadian National Film Board (NFB) staff members produced newsreels, sing-alongs, and other films for commercial and non-commercial distribution during the World War II era. According to government reports and small-town newspaper articles, NFB successes included the dissemination of war news, the development of a Canadian national identity, and the demonstration of a viable alternative to the primarily profit-driven model of Hollywood film production.

The “Arkansas Quijote’s” Tilt Against Pentagon Propaganda: Senator J. W. Fulbrights’s Challenge to the Rise of Militarism in America •Stacey Cone, University of Iowa • Fulbright’s publication of the book, The Pentagon Propaganda Machine, 1970 was a capstone effort in a much longer history of personal effort to warn the public about the danger to democracy from the military opinion engineers. This paper argues the Fulbright’s challenges to Pentagon’s propaganda between 1959 and 1974 received scant attention primarily because marketplace of ideas theory assumptions had captured the American imagination.

An Honorable and Recognized Profession “Bill Tilden and the USLTA’s Ban of Tennis Player-Journalists • John Carvaiho, Auburn University • In 1924, the United States Lawn Tennis Association announced that any amateur tennis player would be banned from competition if he or she accepted money from newspapers for writing about their sport. Bill Tilden, who was a journalist before he became the world’s No. 1 tennis player, precipitated a major controversy when he announced that he would retire from tennis rather than give up his profession.

News “From Yankeedom”: Southern Newspaper Coverage of the Presidential Election of 1864 • Eric David, and Nicole Elise Smith, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill • The 1864 presidential election was marked by war, fear, and a country so bitterly divided that it was nearly impossible to imagine unity. This study explored how a selection of Southern newspapers covered the election. In general, the coverage fell into three categories: election results and “horse race” coverage, the effect of the election on the end of the war and the status of slavery, and commentary on the strengths and weaknesses of both candidates.

Covering a Mississippi Murder Trial: The Emmett Till Lynching • Craig Flournoy, Southern Methodist University • This paper examines coverage of the 1955 Emmett Till case by the white press (Life, Look and New York Times) and black press (Birmingham World and Jet) to determine which news organizations provided the best coverage. This researcher defines best as those publications that quoted a diversity of sources, provided historical context and identified the central problem while following accepted journalistic practices such as attribution and balance. The evidence suggests black-oriented publications provided more accomplished coverage.

Henry Luce’s Anti-Communist Legacy: An Analysis of U.S. News Magazines’ Coverage Of China’s Cultural Revolution • Daniel M. Haygood, University of Tennessee • Critics have long accused Henry Luce, a fervent anti-Communist, of using his stable of Time, Incorporated media vehicles to promote causes and governments with which he supported. In the mid 1960s, Luce stepped away from his official duties at Time, Incorporated. This paper analyzes coverage of the initial intense period of the Chinese “Cultural Revolution” by the three United States news magazines to determine if Luce’ s anti-Communist legacy remained once he officially left the organization.

Made to Order Faces: A Historical Analysis of Cosmetic Surgery and the Press, 1914-1950 • Lisa Hebert, University of Georgia • This article traces the history of cosmetic surgery from 1914-1950 as it was covered in newspapers and magazines. This studies purpose is not to argue that the press had a direct effect on the way beauty was defined within the emerging cultural landscape of the early twentieth century but to examine the changing portrayals of plastic surgeries purpose which shifted from reconstructing the faces of war-maimed soldiers in World War I to beautifying ordinary citizens.

Rebuffing Refugee Journalists: The Profession’s Failure to Help Jews Persecuted by Nazi Germany • Laurel Leff, Northeastern University • When Nazi Germany forced thousands of Jewish scholars and professionals to flee in the 1930s and early 1940s, many disciplines found homes for refugee intellectuals in the United States. The profession of journalism did not The nation’s accredited journalism schools did not add a single displaced European scholar to their faculties, and they rebuffed pleas to re-educate foreign journalists, sometimes offering blatantly anti-Semitic rationales. The journalism profession was, if anything, less hospitable than the journalism schools.

Manipulation of the Media Misrepresentations, Indiscretions & Fleet Sightings • David W. London, Central Michigan University • On 15 April 1797, at the height of the French Revolution and amid a flurry of invasion scares, the Channel Fleet of the Royal Navy mutinied. The news dominated newspapers for months. Politicians recklessly used it to further their ambitions, to influence public opinion and to force a resolution to the crisis. This paper examines those efforts and considers how newspapers still managed to both keep an eye on government and keep the public informed.

Oregon Was a Klan State • Kimberley Mangun, University of Oregon • Scholars who have studied the Ku Klux Klan in Oregon have minimized the fact that Klansmen terrorized African Americans between 1922 and 1924. This qualitative study examines articles and editorials in The Advocate (Portland, Ore.) and the state’s white press, NAACP records, Klan documents, and comments by officials in order to illuminate the atrocities that were committed and illustrate that the white press should have been more critical of the Oregon Klan and its actions.

Policing Authority: Photography and Police Power In Time and Newsweek 1950-1980 • Nicole J. Maurantonio, University of Pennsylvania, • Examining visual images printed within Time and Newsweek this paper maps the contours of police representation through an analysis of visual coverage of police and police authority between 1950 and 1980, a period not only of contestation within police departments nationwide regarding the “proper” role of the police within society but also of social, political, and cultural transformation within the United States.

Racial Discourse and Censorship on NBC-TV, 1948-1960 • Bob Pondillo, Middle Tennessee State University • This research explores postwar racial discourse in television programming at the National Broadcasting Company (NBC-TV). It analyzes the era vis-à-vis actions taken by Stockton Helffrich, director of NBC-TV’s Continuity Acceptance (i.e., censorship) Department from 1948-60. The work concludes Helfftich’s politically progressive notions were significant in altering television’s complicated race negotiations after the Second World War-a period of transition between an inequitable system of racial hierarchy and a more culturally liberal postwar order.

Keeping Step to the Music of the Drums: Editor & Publisher and the Problems of Journalism in the War Years and Beyond, 1914-1923 • Ronald R. Rodgers, The University of Florida • This study of the newspaper trade journal Editor & Publisher’s editorial page discussion of World War I and its aftermath revealed that this time raised several problems for the newspaper industry. These included censorship, suppression of news, propaganda, the wartime information machine, and the rise of public relations. In addition, in the journal’s call for “educating public opinion” to promote democracy could be heard early soundings of press nationalism.

Analyzing the ages of the Journalist in Popular Culture: a Unique Method of Studying the Public’s Perception of Its Journalists and the News Media • Joe Saltzman, Southern California • By analyzing the images of the journalist in popular culture over the centuries, the researcher can offer a new perspective on the history of journalism as well as the delicate relationship between the public and its news media. The anger and lack of confidence most of the public has in the news media today is partly based on real-life examples they have seen and heard.

“Perverts” on the Potomac Homosexuals Enter the News Arena • Professor Rodger Streitmatter, American University • This study documents that many American publications first began covering homosexuality as a news topic in 1950 with their reporting on a public hearing conducted by a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate. Further, this paper examines the content of some fifty newspaper and magazine articles to identify some of the messages about homosexuals that the coverage communicated to the nation’s readers.

To Plead Our Own Cause: Two Black Newspapers Oppose the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina • Thomas C. Terry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • This paper examines the coverage of two black North Carolina newspapers-the Carolinian of Raleigh and the Carolina Times of Durham-during the Ku Klux Klan’s resurgence in 1950-1952. Their coverage emphasized federal involvement in the absence of local, county, and state action. The agenda-setting role of the black press in the civil rights era is also mentioned. Virtually all the articles on the Klan “uprising” were placed on the front page.

Visions of Jubilee Looking at Emancipation and Beyond in the Pacific Appeal 1862-1863 • Thomas C. Terry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • The purpose of this paper is to examine the abolition, slavery, and Civil War coverage of a black newspaper, the Pacific Appeal, published on the rim of the United States in California, and at a distance from the battles of the Civil War. The study period was from April 1862, when the newspaper began, through January 1863, when Lincoln’s “Emancipation Proclamation” came into force.

When the Great Migration Met the Great Depression • Brian Thornton, Northern Illinois University • This article examines discussions of race relations contained in letters to the editor in 10 African-American and 10 white newspapers at the start of the Great Depression. Specifically, this research examines 1,159 letters and 3,124 editorials published in 20 newspapers from across the country from Oct. 29 to Nov. 30, 1929. The purpose is to discover published reaction when the Great Migration of African-Americans from the rural South to the urban North met the Great Depression.

The Origins of Political Broadcasting Policy in American Governmental Institutions • Tim P. Vos, Seton Hall University • This paper constructs an institutional explanation for America’s unique political broadcasting policy that emerged in the 1920s and early 1930s. Using the theoretical lens of historical institutionalism, governmental institutions are cast in a lead role, challenging the literature that touts American (capitalist) exceptionalism. An institutional explanation also challenges realist explanations of policy that privilege the agency of individual actors and that fail to account for how the emergent political broadcasting policy was an unintended outcome.

Marcus Garvey’s Trial For Seditious Libel in Jamaica • Roxanne S. Watson, University of Florida • In the period after his return to Jamaica from the United States, Jamaica’s first national hero and civil rights leader Marcus Garvey was consistently hounded by the authorities who were afraid of his popularity among the masses. On January 30, 1930 Garvey was charged and prosecuted and convicted of seditious libel.

Squeezing The ‘Exotic Bug’: Madrid Press Criticizes Hearst’s Coverage Of A Cuban Revolutionary • Carol Wilcox, Virginia State University • In 1896, the Spanish government imprisoned Cuban patriot Evangelina Cisneros in Havana. In 1897, William Randolph Hearst sent a reporter to free her from jail and sensationalized the story. The Madrid press, unlike the U.S. press, saw Evangelina, not as a Cuban heroine, but as a traitor. Evangelina symbolized Spain’s wish to retain Cuba as its last colony in the Americas. Spain’s loss of Evangelina has become a metaphor for Spain’s loss of Cuba.

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