Term of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Name

Master of Arts in History (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Department

Department of History

Committee Chair

William Allison

Committee Member 1

Julie de Chantal

Committee Member 2

Brian Feltman

Abstract

This thesis examines Black-owned and white-owned newspapers’ interpretations of the Brownsville Incident in 1906, arguing that the emerging narratives reflected contemporary ideas about race and produced lasting and impactful legacies that influenced political and social organization as well as the public’s perception of Black military service. Whereas other scholars have examined the political fallout of the Brownsville Incident or the reactions of the Black community, this thesis probes the underlying forces driving the disparate narratives of the Brownsville Incident. Examining both white-owned and Black-owned newspapers, this thesis compares their interpretations, arriving at conclusions as to why and how certain narratives endured while others faded. This thesis demonstrates how white-owned newspapers leveraged the Brownsville Incident to create an artificial pattern suggesting Black soldiers were inherently violent and undisciplined. This thesis also illustrates how the Black press wielded the Brownsville Incident as a political cudgel, transforming protest into a political referendum on President Theodore Roosevelt and his faction of the Republican party. This thesis demonstrates how and why the narrative produced by white newspapers became the dominant narrative of the Brownsville Incident until the 1970s.

Research Data and Supplementary Material

No

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