Black Print with a White Carnation


Black Print with a White Carnation

Mildred Brown and the Omaha Star Newspaper, 1938-1989

Amy Helene Forss

Women in the West Series

270 pages
19 photographs, 1 table


January 2014


$40.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
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January 2014


$40.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

January 2014


$40.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Mildred Dee Brown (1905–89) was the cofounder of Nebraska’s Omaha Star, the longest running black newspaper founded by an African American woman in the United States. Known for her trademark white carnation corsage, Brown was the matriarch of Omaha’s Near North Side—a historically black part of town—and an iconic city leader. Her remarkable life, a product of the Reconstruction era and Jim Crow, reflects a larger American history that includes the Great Migration, the Red Scare of the post–World War era, civil rights and black power movements, desegregation, and urban renewal.

Within the context of African American and women’s history studies, Amy Helene Forss’s Black Print with a White Carnation examines the impact of the black press through the narrative of Brown’s life and work. Forss draws on more than 150 oral histories, numerous black newspapers, and government documents to illuminate African American history during the political and social upheaval of the twentieth century. During Brown’s fifty-one-year tenure, the Omaha Star became a channel of communication between black and white residents of the city, as well as an arena for positive weekly news in the black community. Brown and her newspaper led successful challenges to racial discrimination, unfair employment practices, restrictive housing covenants, and a segregated public school system, placing the woman with the white carnation at the center of America’s changing racial landscape.


Author Bio

Amy Helene Forss has a PhD in African American history and teaches at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska. Her work has appeared in journals such as Nebraska History and Great Plains Quarterly.


"This is a valuable addition to our knowledge of the role of the black press in urban race relations in the Midwest."—Oliver B. Pollack, Nebraska History

"In addition to its well-researched look at Brown's career, the book provides an informative description of the history of black-owned newspapers in North America, going back to the founding in 1853 of the Provincial Freeman, an antislavery newspaper in Canada."—Omaha World-Herald

"Superbly researched."—Geitner Simmons, Middle West Review

“The sections on Brown’s activism, the De Porres Club, and the early civil rights moment in Omaha, Nebraska, make this volume important for collections.”—Tekla Ali Johnson, American Historical Review

“A distinctive look into the life of a remarkable woman.”—Darrel Bigham, Political Science Quarterly

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Part 1. Laying the Foundation
1. A Family of Fighters                
2. Involving the Community                   
3. Politics of Respectability  
Part 2. Ensuring Her Success
4. Working within Her Space          
5. Collective Activism and the De Porres Club 
6. Restricted Housing and 'Rithmetic      
Part 3. Transferring Ownership to the Community
7. Changing Strategies for Changing Times    
8. The Death of an Icon


 2014 Nebraska Book Award in Nonfiction/Biography from Nebraska Center for the Book

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