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African American Foreign Correspondents

A History

Media & Public Affairs

280 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / no illustrations

ebook available

Media Studies | African-American History

  Hardcover / 9780807150542 / June 2013

Winner of the AEJMC History Award

Though African Americans have served as foreign reporters for almost two centuries, their work remains virtually unstudied. In this seminal volume, Jinx Coleman Broussard traces the history of black participation in international newsgathering. Beginning in the mid-1800s with Frederick Douglass and Mary Ann Shadd Cary—the first black woman to edit a North American newspaper—African American Foreign Correspondents highlights the remarkable individuals and publications that brought an often-overlooked black perspective to world reporting. Broussard focuses on correspondents from 1840 to the present, including reporters such as William Worthy Jr., who helped transform the role of modern foreign correspondence by gaining the right for journalists to report from anywhere in the world unimpeded; Leon Dash, a professor of journalism and African American studies at the University of Illinois, who reported from Africa for the Washington Post in the 1970s and 1980s; and Howard French, a professor in Columbia University’s journalism school and a globetrotting foreign correspondent.

African American Foreign Correspondents provides insight into how and why African Americans reported the experiences of blacks worldwide. In many ways, black correspondents upheld a tradition of filing objective stories on world events, yet some African American journalists in the mainstream media, like their predecessors in the black press, had a different mission and perspective. They adhered primarily to a civil rights agenda, grounded in advocacy, protest, and pride. Accordingly, some of these correspondents—not all of them professional journalists—worked to spur social reform in the United States and force policy changes that would eliminate oppression globally. Giving visibility and voice to the marginalized, correspondents championed an image of people of color that combatted the negative and racially construed stereotypes common in the American media.
By examining how and why blacks reported information and perspectives from abroad, African American Foreign Correspondents contributes to a broader conversation about navigating racial, societal, and global problems, many of which we continue to contend with today.

Jinx Coleman Broussard teaches media history and public relations in the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University. She conducts research on the black press and is the author of Giving a Voice to the Voiceless: Four Pioneering Black Women Journalists.

Praise for African American Foreign Correspondents

“Based on extensive research in personal and media archives, the book spotlights the figure of the foreign correspondent, which is largely missing from canonical histories of the African American press. . . . Most of the characters the book brings to life “wrote to reposition the race” (p. 208)—and Broussard also repositions a long-lost history that speaks not only to students of foreign news but to all those interested in the enduring debates on race relations and the purposes of journalism.”—American Historical Review

African American Foreign Correspondents is an important contribution to the growing body of African American journalism and a must-read for students of the history of American foreign reporting.”—Journal of American History

“The author has surely made a contribution that will be cited often in an expanding group of histories of the black press. Broussard’s exploration of the black press and its reporting on global issues is particularly important in our current age of corporate media consolidation.”—Justin C. Williams, H-Diplo

“In an engaging history of the ways in which blacks have reported on the world since the 1840s, African American Foreign Correspondents: A History makes an important contribution to journalism history. . . . The book is sufficiently accessible to be read by the public and to be used in undergraduate classes. And it should be.”—Journalism History

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