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Covering a Two-Front War:
African-American Correspondents during World War II
This article examines the largely unrecognized area of African-American
foreign correspondence during World War II, and it looks at local reporting
about the conflict. Findings indicate the contributions and perspectives
of the Norfolk Journal and Guide and its correspondents reflected the
intense Africa-American domestic struggle for recognition, inclusion, and
equal rights. The study suggests the existence of a richly nuanced field
of study, foreign reporting by non-establishment journalists.
Covering a Two-Front War:
African-American Correspondents during World War II
This article examines the largely unrecognized area of African-American
foreign correspondence during World War II, and it looks at local reporting
about the conflict. The Norfolk Journal and Guide, one of the most
respected African-American newspapers sent three journalists overseas to
cover the war. This article provides a comprehensive analysis of
editorials and articles in selected issues of the Journal and Guide between
1940 and September 1945. It finds that the contributions and perspectives
of the newspaper and its war correspondents reflected the intense
Africa-American domestic struggle for recognition, inclusion, and equal
rights. In this two-front war, coverage chronicled discrimination against
and contributions of African-Americans, a reporting that used many of the
techniques of establishment journalism but was driven by a different
agenda. The study suggests the existence of a richly nuanced field of
study, foreign reporting by non-establishment journalists.
Covering a Two-Front War:
African-American Correspondents during World War II
Jinx Coleman Broussard, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Mass Communication
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John Maxwell Hamilton, Ph.D.
Professor of Mass Communication
[log in to unmask]
Manship School of Mass Communication
220 Johnston Hall
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803
Paper submitted for presentation in the History Division at the annual
meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass
Communication in Toronto, Canada, August 4-7, 2004
Covering a Two-Front War:
African-American Correspondents during World War II
"I shall be a crusader and an advocate, a mirror and a record, a herald and
a spotlight, and I shall not falter." The Norfolk Journal and Guide's
editor, P. Bernard Young, Jr., published this "Credo For The Negro Press"
in his column on July 22, 1944. It captured both the spirit of the
African-American press in general and a significant – yet little known –
dimension of foreign correspondence. On that July day, World War II was at
its height. The Journal and Guide reporters were giving readers "exclusive
stories from a war front" that filled a gap in establishment reporting.
American news media put 1,646 accredited reporters into the field during
World War II, more than any other nation. Their coverage was notable for
the level of professionalism and its impact back home, particularly as a
result of the pioneering use of radio. The reporting of great
correspondents from this period, many of them women, has been collected
into lengthy anthologies, analyzed in written histories and television
documentaries, and memorialized in a human-interest writing award in the
name of Ernie Pyle, who lost his life in a Pacific battlefield.
While histories and anthologies of war coverage have piled up, so has
scholarship on the African-American press.  Books, articles, and
dissertations have discussed the role of African-American journalism
throughout the sweep of American history. Considerable attention has been
given to the individual men and women who owned, wrote for, and edited
And yet, for all this activity, with the exception of a thirty-year-old
descriptive overview, it is difficult to find more than cursory
reference to African-American war correspondents in either genre of history
– that of foreign correspondence or that of the African-American
press. This is so even in studies devoted to African-American journalism
during the period of World War II. As a result, a significant group of
African-American men – and one woman – remains invisible in the history
of both the mainstream and African-American press.
Twenty-seven African-American war correspondents worked, often under fire,
in all theatres of World War II. This diverse group included notable
reporters, columnists, and even an owner's son, among them Edgar Rouzeau,
David Ortiz, Scoop Jones, Fletcher Martin, Frank Bolden, Thomas W. Young,
Lem Graves Jr., and John "Rover" Jordan. Papers for which they worked
included the Pittsburgh Courier, the Chicago Defender, the Afro-American,
and the Norfolk Journal and Guide. The white press even ran some of their
African-American foreign correspondence is significant not simply because
there is so much of it. Of equal importance is the perspective these men
and women brought to their reporting. Studies have shown how the reporting
of American foreign correspondents tracks the American foreign policy
agenda. But what about class, gender, and race? Don't they shape
reporting as well?
This article examines part of this question by looking at the contributions
and perspective of African-Americans. The focal point is the Journal and
Guide and its three foreign correspondents, beginning with United States
mobilization for World War II and after African-American servicemen were
deployed overseas. The Journal and Guide was one of the country's most
important African-American newspapers. Its war correspondents, Thomas W.
Young, Lem Graves Jr., and John "Rover" Jordan were prolific, and their
coverage was significantly different from the mainstream media's
coverage. Their reporting reflected the intense African-American struggle
at home. Blacks, who even had to fight for the right to fight, sought a
double victory, one that vanquished fascism abroad and affirmed their claim
on civil rights at home. In this two-front war, these three reporters
chronicled discrimination against and contributions of black military
personnel. Their reporting employed many of the techniques of
establishment journalists but was driven by a different agenda.
The African-American Press
As noted, African-American foreign correspondents are uncharted history,
but much scholarly work has been done on the African-American press and its
role both in American society and during both world wars. Throughout its
history, the black press has adhered to the role set forth by Freedom's
Journal, the first African-American publication established by and for
African Americans. The mission was to serve as a forum through which
African-Americans could plead their own cause, counter misrepresentations
of race in the white press, encourage uplift, self-sufficiency and
assimilation, and chronicle progress.
Throughout, the African-American press spoke for the masses of race
members. A 1943 nationwide survey found that eighty-four percent of
African Americans said the black press spoke for them; only ten percent
said it did not. Yet another sign that the African-American press had
a clearly defined racial audience lay in its lack of affinity with the
white majority. Two years after the 1943 poll, a survey of congressional
representatives found only half knew of the existence of a black
press. Just five members of congress had seen a copy of a black
During World War I the black press urged race members to "close ranks"
and support the United States. African Americans hoped the country would
reward them with civil liberties. Instead, discrimination became more
rampant. African-American soldiers returning home were not allowed to wear
their uniforms in public. Although the race's hopes and expectations
were dashed, African American journalists and leaders of black
organizations again urged members of the race to "close ranks" during the
years leading up to World War II. This time, however, they were determined
to secure their full rights in return.
"We must stand united against this common enemy and beat him away from our
shores," the Chicago Defender wrote one week after the Japanese attack on
Pearl Harbor. "But we have some internal problems of our own to settle
before we can present a solid united front." The Afro-American called
on America to "take down the color bar." It added, "We cannot defend
America with a dust brush, a mop and a white apron. We cannot march
against enemy planes and tanks, and challenge armed warships armed only
with a whiskbroom and a wide grin."
The most notable expression of these African-American impulses came in the
Pittsburgh Courier, which launched the Double V campaign on page one of its
February 7, 1942 edition. The campaign was in response to a letter
from James G. Thompson. Thompson suggested that as African Americans kept
"defense and victory in the forefront," they should not "loose sight of our
fight for true democracy at home." Referring to the V for victory
sign, Thompson suggested, "we colored Americans adopt the double VV for a
double victory. The first V for victory over our enemies from without, the
second V for victory over our enemies from within."
Journal and Guide and Its Coverage
Prior to World War II, says historian Henry Louis Suggs, the Journal and
Guide "boasted the strongest editorial voice in the South. The reputation
of its publisher, P. Bernard Young Sr., as a force of moderation inspired
confidence among both blacks and whites in the South." Young had long
sought to make the paper a link between whites and African Americans in
Virginia and the South and to bring about changes in the economic and
social structure of the African-American community. Continued
segregation, lynching, and other forms of racial inequality during the
1930s and 1940s led Young, like his contemporaries, to become gradually
more militant and to use his newspaper to call for an end to the dominant
culture's mistreatment of blacks.
In the 1940's, with P. Bernard Young Jr. as its editor-in-chief and his
brother, Thomas W. Young as its business manager and attorney, the Journal
and Guide's circulation was between 80,000 and 100,000, the fourth
highest among black papers after the Pittsburgh Courier, the Chicago
Defender, and the Afro-American. The Guide had a national edition and
localized editions for Norfolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Virginia Beach,
and Carolina. It covered sports, the arts, education, and other topics
of interest to African-American readers, and it chronicled the
accomplishments of race members while making appeals and demands for equality.
The Journal and Guide provides a useful optic through which scholars can
begin to explore African-American coverage of foreign reporting. The
newspaper was representative of its peers. P. Bernard Young Jr.'s
crusader-and-advocate credo, made a few months after he became
editor-in-chief, would not have been out of place in any number of African
American publications. Furthermore, the Journal and Guide devoted
considerable resources to war coverage, thus providing an adequate basis
for analysis. The newspaper created a "Special Section" that throughout
the war ran numerous stories and photographs from the home front and the
war front. Home-front and war-front coverage were intertwined and mutually
reinforcing in just the war the Double V campaign envisioned. Thus, while
this study focuses on war correspondence, that is, reports sent from a
distant place, it begins with local reporting about the war. Themes in the
coverage, as well as forms of reporting, are explored in a comprehensive
and critical analysis of hundreds of editorials and articles in selected
Journal and Guide issues from 1940 and 1941 and from all issues from
January 1942 through September 1945.
The Home Front
This study of African American foreign correspondence starts with coverage
at home. Examination of such coverage reveals the Journal and Guide's
perspective on the war and its rationale for dispatching correspondents to
cover it. Home front coverage also provided a foretaste of what readers
could expect from foreign correspondents. The Journal and Guide saw the
connections between both fronts, and stated in its pages that it would
cover the war at home and abroad and bring its readers "firsthand" and
"truthful and accurate" reporting.
Themes that predominated in coverage from the home front fell into two
different, but related categories. One focused on support of the war. The
other pled for civil rights. At work here was what some intellectuals have
called a double consciousness ideology that enables African Americans to
negotiate their existences in America. "This two-ness," as journalism
historian Earnest L. Perry notes, "gave African Americans the capacity to
see the world from two vantage points" during World War II – that of being
an American and an African American. Race members could thus rationalize
patriotism (for a country that waged a war for freedom in the far reaches
of the world) and protest (against a country that denied them full
citizenship at home). In the Journal and Guide's coverage, race was
central to both the call for support of the war and the appeal to serve in
The newspaper's editorials argued strongly in virtually every issue that
blacks should support the United States in its quest for democracy and that
the country was obliged to allow African Americans to serve in the
war. Although its news reporting focused on race issues, coverage fit the
model of objective reporting. Objective articles that exposed Jim Crow
practices in the branches of the service and on the home front appeared
adjacent to opinion pieces that called upon America to include blacks in
the war effort.
A story about the twenty-six nations that pledged to support the war was
typical of the Journal and Guide's objective reporting. So were
stories about discrimination. For example, during April and May 1940, the
newspaper reported that the War Department blocked black men from training
as pilots and mechanics, that President Roosevelt had been told, "only
five of the 14,000 officers in the U.S. armed forces were African
Americans," and that African-American leaders had asked the President
to "guarantee a proportionate distribution of colored citizens in the
various arms of the military." Additional news stories provided
factual accounts of citizens purchasing war bonds, black farmers mobilizing
to produce food for victory, and race ministers rallying their followers.
The Journal and Guide initially adopted a moderate tone as it made the case
that support for the war was in the best interest in the race. For
example, John "Rover" Jordan, before being dispatched as a war
correspondent, used one of his regular columns to explain why African
Americans should stand with the Allies. Jordan likened Hitler to the Ku
Klux Klan, offering,
This writer does not know definitely, what is in the minds and hearts of
the German people, but we have observed that Hitler's program in regards to
race has been strikingly familiar to that of a well-known organization in
America, the Ku Klux Klan. So, until we are better acquainted with
Hitler's programs, looks like we'd better go on pulling for the allies.
Support for the war continued in a Journal and Guide editorial that urged
"every American Negro to bestir himself to the dangers of today to his
liberties for his very life is in danger." A September 12, 1942
editorial suggested that it was "insane and criminal to hinder the war
effort by word or deed." Acknowledging that democracy had not worked
perfectly in America, the editorial offered that "Fascism or a form of
Nazism" would be "death in its slowest and most excruciating form for
American Negroes." 
The Journal and Guide pled the cause for equality for race members prior to
the war. As if to add weight to its argument that African Americans were
qualified for military service, the newspaper ran a large quantity of
articles that both humanized blacks and showed them excelling in various
work and military training situations. At the time the newspaper was
sending Thomas Young overseas, P. Bernard Young Jr. was traveling to
Louisiana and other areas in the country to report on soldiers in military
Once the United States entered the war, the Journal and Guide repeated its
editorial supplication that "in every crisis through which the nation has
passed, our people have contributed their lives and their labor without
stint or limit. We crave the opportunity to serve…wherever we are called
upon to go." The plea for civil rights after the war was the focus of
an August 19, 1944, editorial that pointed to previous post-war inequities
and criticized the U.S. Senate's acceptance of the "states rights doctrine"
regarding distribution of public funds in recovery efforts. It would be a
"sorry" event if "an army of black veterans who've been fighting for
democracy" would "return and be forced through such devices, into virtual
or actual serfdom." Nevertheless, the Journal and Guide remained
committed to the view that African American support of the war was in their
The newspaper printed its first extra edition on August 29, 1942, to
announce the deployment of African-American troops overseas. Boasting that
it would always provide the "important news first" and that it was "growing
in stature and favor with the public" that wanted "NEWS presented
accurately, thoroughly and impartially," the Journal and Guide reported
that three black soldiers who had risked their lives to rescue a pilot from
a burning plane were the first of their race to be decorated for
The Journal and Guide wanted to ensure that just as it had covered the war
on the home front, it also would do from the war front. When
correspondents went overseas, the newspaper joined other African American
publications in pressing for "increased mobility for colored
correspondents" in the war zones. The War Department responded that
commanders in the field had to grant permission for freer travel, and that
was unlikely because "facilities were not always available in the desired
theatre for the acception [sic] of additional correspondents."
War Front Coverage
In September 1942, the newspaper announced that it had arranged with the
Pittsburgh Courier to receive dispatches from its war correspondent, Edgar
T. Rouzeau. It would not be long before the Journal and Guide decided
to obtain the news firsthand by sending Young, Graves, and Jordan
abroad. These journalists reported on the all-black divisions that
included the 99th Pursuit Squadron, fighter pilots under the command of
Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin O. Davis Jr.; the 92nd Infantry Division; and
the different units that made up the larger 332nd Fighter Group, into which
the 99th was eventually absorbed.
Young's arrival overseas was announced on May 8, 1943, with a boxed
headline above a full-length picture of him. The newspaper provided no
explanation of how it obtained permission for Young to become war
correspondent, although the reason he was chosen seems clear enough. This
was a prestigious assignment, and Young was the son of the owner. The
cutline under Young's picture explained that the newspaper's readers would
"in the near future have the benefit of exclusive stories from a war front
by direct cable from the Guide's own war correspondent." Young's first
tour lasted until October 1943. He returned to the war front in March 1944
as the only African-American correspondent accredited by the Navy and
assigned to the USS Mason, a destroyer manned by a predominantly
African-American crew. Graves, who had served in positions ranging from
copy editor to news editor and assistant to the managing editor, was sports
editor in February 1944 when the Journal and Guide sent him overseas to
cover the war from Italy, Great Britain, and France. Columnist John
"Rover" Jordan, who also was the Portsmouth edition's news editor and
business manager, left for the war in June 1944, and replaced Graves in
Italy on July 1. Jordan remained overseas until the end of the
conflict. The Portsmouth dateline on his column indicates that he was back
in the United States by April 21, 1945.
The reporting by these men falls into three broad categories: factual
chronicling of day-to-day progress in the war, human-interest features, and
eyewitness or personal history journalism. Each form existed in mainstream
reporting. But in the Journal and Guide, each also had a keen
African-American perspective that made it different from reporting in the
Chronicling the War
American readers wanted to know what was happening abroad, and editors saw
that as a primary mission. This was also the case for the African-American
press, but it focused on one particular part of the front, the advances and
setbacks of African-American service members. Immediately upon arrival
overseas, Young provided a record of the African-American pilots assigned
to the 99th Fighter Squadron. His first cables from "SOMEWHERE IN NORTH
AFRICA" ran prominently on page one of the newspaper. One revealed that
Young "found colored Americans in all branches of the service." Another
informed readers that the 93rd Division was ready for battle. One more
related Young's impressions of African-American entertainer Josephine Baker
and the black soldiers who performed with her during an event. 
When writing about the fighters, Young set a tone followed by others. He
infused straight news about combat with superlatives that praised
Africa-American troops. Early on, he wrote in glowing terms about the
"truly heroic, if undramatic, story of the men who deliver the goods."
Black soldiers, many of whom volunteered for commando raids, had a
"reputation based on sterling performance." Young introduced "the
first of the race to fly American planes in combat," noting that they had
taken part in the attack on Pantalleria, the Italian Air Base. He
indicated that Davis had led the formation in the attack on the Axis
stronghold, and then he provided the names and hometowns of the two
pilots. The correspondent called the first non-combat fatality in the
99th Fighter Squadron a "hero."
The men of this first black air unit had arrived in Casablanca in April
1943. Week after week, their exploits reached the United States via
Young's articles. On July 19, 1943, Young wrote that the pilots had shot
down a Nazi pilot during a "fierce dogfight." He gave value to the
work of the communications unit of the squadron, pointing out that the crew
kept vital lines open for vital orders. Calling the unit "capable,
resourceful and dependable," Young credited it with ensuring that the Army
did not get "the daylights knocked out of it."
On August 7, 1943, Young recapped the accomplishments of the 99th Squadron
during its first two months in action. Writing from the "ADVANCED ALLIED
AIRFIELD," he also described the actions of the unit in the "final push to
drive the Germans and Italians out of Sicily." Young called Davis and his
men "gallant" and reported they were not "letting slip the chance to write
a glorious first chapter in the story of the American Negro in war
aviation." The correspondent explained that the Army air commanders
had no doubts that the squadron would continue to live up to the
"strikingly brilliant record" it had amassed.
When additional aviators prepared to join the "pioneer sky-fighting unit,"
Young's page one story announced "for the first time in history, Negro
pilots of the United Sates Army Air Forces have flown the Atlantic Ocean."
Graves made his debut "SOMEWHERE IN ITALY." Attached to the 99th, he
continued the type of coverage his predecessor had provided. He conveyed
the drama of combat, providing details about the number of planes the
squadron had downed, the death of pilots, Nazi capture of fighter pilots,
and the return of 99th Squadron veterans to the United States.  In one
of first stories, Graves gave a straightforward account of the revocation
of an order for the 99th to be on the alert to bomb "an ancient monastery
that the Germans had fortified." After describing recent missions of the
99th, Graves named the first and second African-American pilots in history
to complete eighty aerial combat missions.
In an objective account, Graves related what soldiers who hailed from
Norfolk described as the horrors of war. The correspondent switched to
a role more commonly associated with the black press in his article that
commemorated the second anniversary of the Tuskegee Airmen's induction into
the United States Air Corps. Referring to it as a "significant date in the
history of the Negro's integration in the United States," Graves praised
the pilots and called them "the pioneers…who paved the way for the hundreds
of Negro flying officers who have subsequently soared aloft on the wings of
Army aircraft to fight the foes of Democracy in this, the second great
World War." He corrected misrepresentation of race relations when he
wrote that black and white soldiers could fight as a unit. The "quiet but
effective assimilation of the 99th with the 79th Fighter Group" was the
"most significant event in the first year of the 99th and indeed one of the
most significant in the history of the Negro's progress." After a
stint back in Norfolk, Graves had returned to the front by April 1945 to
report on the 332nd and the 92nd.
Jordan also covered those units. As he accompanied the soldiers into enemy
lines, he often praised them, calling attention to their accomplishments
and the obstacles they encountered. Jordan did not always paint a rosy
picture, however. For example, in 1944, he reported that the Nazi defense
had slowed the 92nd, and the men had not made major gains. And in
1945, he reported that the anti-tank unit had suffered heavy losses as the
Allies stopped a Nazi drive. At other times, Jordan set the record
straight, as was the case when he gave the "real, uncolored lowdown" on
what fighting men in the Mediterranean theater thought of the 99th. He
said the "unanimous opinion" was that the fliers had "made a reputation for
themselves." The October 28, 1944, issue of the newspaper ran three of
Jordan's stories on page one. He named three black men who had received
silver stars and seven who were recipients of bronze awards; he discussed
the awarding of the Distinguished Flying Cross to a captain and a
lieutenant; and he hailed the lieutenant who had shot down three Nazi
Jordan countered misrepresentation of the soldiers. The headline on two of
Jordan's stories read, "The Truth about the 92nd." The first story
discussed the failures of the unit and noted that the attitude of some of
the white officers who commanded the unit often hindered the black
soldiers. The second story related Jordan's displeasure over the account
the 5th Army had given the mainstream press about the 92nd's involvement in
a battle. According to Jordan, the army did not release the specific number
of 92nd casualties, only stating the number was high.
Jordan also used superlatives when he wrote about a "daring and perilous
account" which led to silver and bronze stars for six soldiers in the 92nd
and promotion of pilots in the 332nd. The fact that the fighter group had
destroyed 250 enemy aircraft and flown 150 combat missions during its first
year was the subject of yet another dispatch. In late January, Jordan
wrote that black units had built and maintained China supply routes, that
the former commander of the 99th who was now the leader of the 332nd had
been awarded the flying cross.
In addition to providing the basic fact-based reporting of war
correspondents, Young, Graves, and Jordan wrote features that put a human
face on the soldiers. The human touch is common in foreign
correspondence. Features about people offer a way to make distant events
intelligible to at-home audiences. In the case of war reporting, human
interest has another attraction as well, it feeds the public's interest in
the fate of its servicemen. Such reporting typically is infused with
implied patriotic feelings. The exemplar of this reporting in the
mainstream press was Ernie Pyle, who captured the trials and successes of
the average enlisted man. What made the Journal and Guide's human interest
reporting different was that the patriotism was broadened to include pride
of race, sentiments that could not be taken for granted in 1940s America.
Jordan appears to have filed more human-interest stories than did the other
two correspondents. He began his reporting with a bit of levity, with a
style similar to the "Ramblin Rover" column he had been writing for the
Portsmouth edition of the Journal and Guide. One of his first pieces
recounted that he had become a member of the Short Snort Club when he
received a dollar bill on which he wrote his name and the date of his
trans-ocean flight. He would have to present the bill for signing when he
met a fellow Short Snorter or pay one dollar for failure to do so. Jordan
cautioned that the group was not "just a bunch of screwballs who merely
skip around looking for nonsense," but counted Eisenhower among its
members. Through this account, Jordan showed that African Americans
were on a par with white military personnel.
A master at giving readers a feel for what it was like to be in the war,
Jordan filed one article about his inability to sleep while spending the
night in an undefended town, another about a "yarn" he had picked up "while
chasing around Europe," and another about a "well-groomed" sergeant whose
life was saved when a Bible in his breast pocket protected him from
Both Jordan and Graves provided human-interest stories in the September 16,
1944 issue. Jordan wrote about the experiences of chaplains, noting that
the role of being a "regular guy" was new for some ministers who had been
pastors of "dignified" churches and had also lived slightly aloof from the
"man on the street." Graves provided a list of what people should or
should not send soldiers as Christmas gifts. "Scratch cigarettes off the
list," he suggested, because troops could get them cheaply or free. And
although the soldier would "probably like a nice bottle of high class
whiskey,"… "the bottle would be broken, stolen and seized" before reaching
its destination. Chocolate candy was okay.
A third category of correspondence is eyewitness reporting, what might be
called "personal history" journalism. Vincent Sheean exemplifies this in
his memoir of foreign affairs reporting between World War I and
II. Perhaps the most notable examples during the war itself were the
on-the-scene radio broadcasts of Edward R. Murrow. In eyewitness
reporting, the event and the reporter become suffused into a seamless
story. The reporter virtually takes the reader or listener by the hand, so
that they all see the story together.
The Journal and Guide relished this style of reporting. It often used the
word "eyewitness" to describe accounts of battles. It ran pictures of its
correspondents and sometimes even used headlines to draw attention to the
fact that its correspondent had been on the scene of the story. In one of
his first pieces from the war front, Young revealed that he had seen so
many German and Italian prisoners that his "eyes were tired of looking at
them." "Guide War Correspondent Sees Axis Defeat in North Africa
Campaign," greeted the newspaper's readers in one of Young's early
dispatches. An editor's note that accompanied the story indicated that
Young had filed the cable at the height of the closing drive against the
Axis forces in Tunisia, and it promised to provide the correspondent's
"eyewitness account of the part Negro soldiers played in this historic
battle." A headline ("200-Mile Trip Along North African front Made by
Guide Correspondent") accompanied a story in which Young gave a
first-person account of the role black soldiers played in rounding up
prisoners and defending airbases.
Graves' eyewitness accounts appeared infrequently, but in one he told of
his trip to the war zone and the deployment of the first African-American
test pilots in history to the front. Young and Jordan were often
front-and-center with eyewitness reporting, as was the case on August 19,
1944. The newspaper announced at the top of the page that it had scored
"another war news scoop" because Young was the only reporter aboard the USS
Mason "on its recently completed maiden combat voyage." The Journal
and Guide then promised that Young would soon provide the "eyewitness
account of that history making sortie ship. Right below the masthead
of that same edition, a headline blared: "Jordan Eyewitness Invasion
Story!" and conveyed that he had had a ringside seat as he accompanied
airborne troops to the battlefront. Jordan, cabled from "SOMEWHERE IN
SOUTHERN FRANCE," that he had "landed on the beachhead in Southern France
along with colored American ground units," and he promised more
"information on the battle."  Readers of the newspaper also received
Jordan's harrowing account of a plane crash that occurred not far from
where he was standing. His words conveyed the horror:
Seeing a seven ton thunderbolt, costing over $50,000, plummeting from the
skies in a streaking vertical dive to bury its head into the earth with a
sickening thud and then disappear in a great puff of smoke is worse than
watching a man burn to death in the electric chair.
Through such personal journalism, the correspondents demonstrated and
corroborated that African-Americans were truly equal partners in the war
effort in every sense of the word. Black men and women fought, just as
white men and women did. And black journalists covered the war, just as
Foreign affairs have been the province of elite policy makers, who tend to
be well educated and, in their work, travel in some of the more exclusive
circles. Foreign affairs reporters have similarly ranked "very high in the
hierarchy of reporters," and studies of foreign reporting have been
similarly elitist in their method of inquiry. Scholars concentrate on
reporters with the prestige press to determine what Americans know about
events abroad and how they know it.
As this study illustrates, however, the prestige press is not the only one
to field foreign correspondents. African-American journalists provided
substantial coverage of World War II. To be sure, these black reporters
were the elite of their peers, and they used styles of reporting common to
journalism generally. But they also were different from mainstream
reporters. Their agenda was not set by the war alone. They saw the war
through the optic of their conditions at home. They sought a double victory.
As a result, the reporting of Young, Graves, and Jordan did not track the
elite agenda for war news. They focused on an otherwise largely ignored
segment of the war effort, black military personnel. They sought to show
that those servicemen were full-fledged fighters, just as blacks should be
regarded as full-fledged citizens at home. This emphasis on equality
appeared, too, in the Journal and Guide's celebration of having fielded its
own black foreign correspondents.
Many of the articles Young, Jordan and Graves filed used glowing terms such
as "daring" and "brilliant" to describe feats by African Americans on the
battlefield. Glorification of military personnel and patriotism generally
was common among all correspondents. The difference for the black media
was that black patriotism could not be assumed. To recount black heroism
in combat was to make a powerful political statement that ran counter to
racial attitudes at home. Not that such reporting lost sight of such
journalistic values as accuracy. On the contrary, African-American pride
no doubt contributed to the Journal and Guide's careful factual reporting
of black accomplishments on the battlefront, as for example when it pointed
out that the 99th had shot down fewer of planes than had been reported in
other publications. Jordan reported in February 1945 that the 92nd was
forced to give up gains when the Germans halted their attack.
This study is only a beginning in what offers to be a richly nuanced field
of study, foreign reporting by non-establishment journalists. The value of
such inquiry lies not simply in filling historical gaps in the history, but
also in mining lessons from alternative forms of overseas reporting. As
shown by the experience of the Journal and Guide's reporters during World
War II, African-Americans correspondents perceived the war in unique ways
that were nevertheless newsworthy for all Americans. Similarly important
insights can be found with another African-American correspondent, George
Washington Williams. Williams reported from Africa for S.S. McClure's
syndicate in the late 19th century. He was ahead of most foreign
correspondents in pointing to the oppressive nature of European
One may argue there is urgency in thinking about the foreign correspondence
of outside-the-mainstream voices. Washington officials have set the news
agenda for foreign affairs not only because they control the levers of
foreign policy. As noted, those officials also have a common class outlook
with the reporters who normally cover them. But this homogeneity is
breaking down. Cities and states are becoming involved in foreign
affairs. And thanks to new technology that allows alternative reporting
with low start-up costs, correspondents with different agenda have much
greater scope for reporting news.
By examining the work of these three war correspondents, therefore, we hope
to elevate African-American foreign correspondence from a footnote in
journalism history to a field worth considering because of its wider,
 P. Bernard Young, Jr., "Credo For The Negro Press," Journal and Guide,
Special Section, 22 July 1944, (page not indicated).
 "War Correspondent Arrives Overseas," Journal and Guide, 8 May 1943, 1
 For reference, see Stanley Nelson, The Black Press: Soldiers without
Swords Chicago: A Half Nelson Production, 1998); and Roland E. Wolseley,
The African-American Press, U.S.A., 2nd. ed. (Ames, IA: Iowa State
University Press, 1990); Marion T. Marzolf, Up from the Footnotes: A
History of Women Journalists (New York: Hasting House Publishers, 1977);
Charles A. Simmons, The African American Press: With Special References to
Four Newspapers, 1827-1965 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company, Inc., 1998).
 John D. Stevens, "From the Back of the Foxhole: Black Correspondents
in World War I," Journalism Monograph 21 (Lexington, KY: Association for
Education in Journalism, 1973).
 The work of Vincent Tubbs, a correspondent for the Baltimore
Afro-American, Roi Otley, for PM, Pittsburgh Courier, and Liberty, and
Denton J. Brooks, for the Chicago Defender, appears in a two-volume
anthology, Reporting World War II: Parts One and Two (New York: Library of
America, 1995). The anthology, however, offers no background on the
reporters' work. African-Americans do not feature in major histories of
foreign correspondence. or war reporting that deal with World War II. For
example, the names of Tubbs, Otley, and Brooks, as well as those of such
prominent African-American reporters as Edgar Rouzeau, David Ortiz, Scoop
Jones, Fletcher Martin, Thomas W. Young, Lem Graves Jr., and John "Rover"
Jordan, are not found in John Hohenberg, Foreign Correspondence: The Great
Reporters and Their Times (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1995);
Michael Emery, On the Front Lines: Following America's Foreign
Correspondents across the Twentieth Century (Washington: American
University Press, 1995); Phillip Knightley, The First Casualty: The War
Correspondent as Hero and Myth-maker from the Crimea to Kosovo (Baltimore:
Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002); or Mitchel P. Roth, Historical
Dictionary of War Journalism (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1997). Nor do
African-American correspondents appear in the recent PBS documentary and
accompanying book, Reporting America at War (New York, Hyperion, 2003).
 See, for example, Lee Finkle, Forum for Protest: The Black Press
during World War II (Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Press, 1975);
Patrick Washburn, A Question of Sedition: The Federal Government's
Investigation of the Black Press during World War II ((New York: Oxford
University Press, 1986); Earnest L. Perry, "Voice of Consciousness: The
Negro Newspaper Publishers Association during World War II," Ph.D. diss.,
University of Missouri-Columbia, 1998.
 Elizabeth Murphy Phillips was a correspondent for the Afro-American
newspaper in Baltimore.
 For example, see Lee B. Becker, "Foreign Policy and Press
Performance," Journalism Quarterly, 54, 364-368; T. McCoy, "The New York
Times Coverage of E Salvador," Newspaper Research Journal, 13 (30), 67-84;
Edward S. Herman, "The Media's Role in U.S. Foreign Policy: Power of the
Media in the Global System," Journal of International Affairs, 47 (1),
23-45; J. Zaller and D. Chiu, "Government's Little Helper: U.S. Press
Coverage of Foreign Policy Crises, 1945-1991," Political Communication,
(13), 385-405. Even those who argue the press can challenge establishment
views argue that the agenda is set by government, for instance, Nicholas O.
Berry, Foreign Policy and the Press: An Analysis of The New York Times'
Coverage of U.S. Foreign Policy (New York: Greenwood Press, 1990).
 For reference, see Armistead S. Pride and Clint C. Wilson, A History
of the African-American Press (Washington, DC: Howard University Press,
1997); 13; Bernell Tripp, Origins of the African-American Press: New York,
1827-1847 (Northport, AL: Vision Press, 1992); William G. Jordan,
African-American Newspapers and American's War for Democracy, 1914-1920
(Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2001).
 For reference, see Henry Lewis Suggs, ed., The Black Press in the
South, 1865-1979 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1983); and Wolseley, Black
 Stevens, "World War II and the Black Press," 33.
 Chicago Defender, 10 March 1945.
 The federal government met with African-American publishers during
World War I and persuaded many to support the war and refrain from vocal
criticism of racial inequities. African-American intellectual and race
leader W. E. B. DuBois wrote the "Close Ranks" editorial in the July 1918
Crisis, the official organ of the NAACP.
 Finkle, Forum for Protest, 40.
 "What Is the Remedy?" column in the Journal and Guide 31 January
 Chicago Defender, 13 December 1941.
 Afro-American, 20 December 1941.
 Pittsburgh Courier, 7 February 1942,1.
 James G. Thompson, "Should I Sacrifice to Live 'Half American'?
Pittsburgh Courier, 31 January 1942.
 Suggs, Black Press in the South, 408.
 Ibid., 397.
 For reference, see copies of the Journal and Guide between January
1940 and 1945. Editorials condemned lynching and other injustices, and
encouraged African Americans to protest such inequities as low wages,
substandard housing, and the poll tax.
 For reference, see Suggs, Black Press in the South, 408; and Stevens,
"World War II and the Black Press," 28.
 Suggs, Black Press in the South, 408.
 For reference, see Journal and Guide, Second Section, 22 July 1944.
 Lem Graves, "Guide Reporter Returns," Journal and Guide, 2 October
1943, 1; "The Guide Sets the Record Straight," Journal and Guide 13
November 1943, 1.
 For reference, see, W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk (Mineola,
NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 1903), 7. W.E.B. Dubois called double
consciousness a "two-ness" through which an African American reconciled
being both "an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled
strivings, two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone
keeps it from being torn asunder."
 Perry, "Voice of Consciousness," 33-34.
 See, for example, "Defense Need Making Skilled Workers of Janitors,
Laborers, 21 February 19, 1942; and "Servicemen's Dependents Are Denied,"
Journal and Guide, 7 November 1942, 1.
 "Strong Position Is Held: 26 Nations Pledge to Prosecute War to End,"
Journal and Guide 10 January 1942, 1.
 "Army Program Still Stagnant in Realism: War Department Fails to
Accept Flying Cadets," Journal and Guide, 20 April 1940, 1.
 "President Told of Bias in Army," and Journal and Guide 5 May 1940.
 "Chance in Army Sought," Journal and Guide 5 May 1940.
 See, for example, "Colleges Speed Up Programs in Drive for Unity,"
Journal and Guide, 10 January 1942, 5; "AMEZ Bishop Condemns War-Time Bias,
Urges Followers to Buy Defense Bonds," Journal and Guide, 31 January 1942,
3; "Race Farmers Mobilize to Produce Food for Victory," Journal and Guide,
31 January 1942, 4.
 John Jordan, "Rambling Rover of Portsmouth" column in Journal and
Guide, 25 May 1940, 2.
 "Time to Fight," Journal and Guide, 29 June 1940, 8.
 "Let's Win the War," Journal and Guide, 12 September 1942, 10.
 See, for example, the following articles in the Journal and Guide:
"Yes, Pilots Fall in Love and Marry Too," 4 July 1942, 1; "Crack
Anti-Aircraft Regiment Welcomed in Hawaii," 22 August 1942, 11; "Young Men
Wanted as Radio Operators, ," 22 August 1942, 3; "Camp Craft Turning Out
Thousands of Hard-Bitten Fighters for America's War on Axis Power," 5
September 1942, 11.
 P. Bernard Young., 93rd Division Now Ready: Commander Eager to Fight
with Division: Louisiana Maneuvers Answer Questions of Fitness of Men and
Their Weapons," Journal and Guide, 22 May 1943.
 Editorial in Journal and Guide, 13 December 1941.
 "Postwar Reconversion and the Negro," editorial in Journal and
Guide, 8 August 19 1944.
 For reference, see "FIRST—with the News…The Guide," and Risked Lives
in Guinea: Rescued Pilot from Burning Plane; First to Be Decorated,"
Journal and Guide, 29, August 1942, 12.
 "Black Press Confer with War Officials," Journal and Guide, 24 July
 See, for example, "Rouzeau Reports on War," Journal and Guide, 26
September 1942, 1; and "Rouzeau Finds Unsung Heroes,"
 "War Correspondent Arrives Overseas," Journal and Guide, 8 May 1943, 1.
 For reference, see the following by Young on page 1 of the May 15
1943 national edition of the Journal and Guide, "Guide Covers War at Home
and Abroad: Young Cables from Africa: 93rd Ready;" "War Correspondent
Meets Jo Baker: Talks to Soldiers," 1;
 Thomas W. Young, "Soldiers Volunteer for Advance Action with U.S.
Rangers," Journal and Guide, 19 June 1943, 14.
 Thomas W. Young, "Negro fliers Bomb Enemy: Engage in Attack on
Pantelleria, Italian Air Base," Journal and Guide, 12 June 1943, 1.
 Thomas W. Young, "Sergeant Drowns in Sicily," Journal and Guide, 28
 Thomas W. Young, "Flier Downs Nazi Pilot in Fierce Dogfight," Journal
and Guide, 10 July 1943.
 Thomas W. Young, "Communications Section of 99th Pursuit Squadron
rated as on of the Best in Outfits: The Lifeblood of the 99th Fighter
Squadron: 25-Year-Old First Lieutenant Is Sparkplug of Unit., Journal and
Guide 24 July 1943.
 Thomas W. Young, "99th Flyers face Acid Test in Victory Push on
Sicily: Bombing and Strafing Needed to Drive Axis from Mountain Line,"
Journal and Guide 7, August 1943.
 Thomas W. Young, "EXTRA!!: Fighter Pilots Fly Atlantic to Join the
99th, " Journal and Guide, 18 September 1943, 1 .
 See, for example, Lem Graves Jr., "Richmond Pilot Killed in Action,"
Journal and Guide, 8 April 1944, 1; "One Pilot Killed, Another Injured,"
Journal and Guide 15 April 1944, 1; "Greatest Mission" Declares 99th
Pilots," Journal and Guide, 6 May 1944, 1.
 Lem Graves Jr., "Alert Order Is Later Revoked; Wiley and Hall Units
Flying Aces Pass 80th Sortie," Journal and Guide, 2 February 1944, 1.
 Lem Graves Jr., "Norfolk Soldier Says Men Undergo War Horrors,"
Journal and Guide, 1 April 1944, 1.
 Lem Graves Jr., "First Fighter Class Has Anniversary Party," Journal
and Guide, 1 April 1944, 1.
 Lem Graves Jr., "99th Proves 2 Races Can Fight Together as Unit,"
Journal and Guide, 15 April 1944, 1.
 See, for example, Graves, "332nd Fliers Down 25 Nazi Planes in two
Days," Journal and Guide, 7 April 1945; "Buffaloes Make Early gains,
Infantry Unit is Broken Up: Face Stiffened Nazi Resistance as Battle for La
Sezia Rages," 14 April 1945.
 John "Rover" Jordan, "92nd Slowed Down by Grim Nazi Defense of Tough
Gothic Line," Journal and Guide, 30 September 1944, 1; "No Major Gains by
92nd: Attack in Ice and Snow," Journal and Guide, 2 December 1944, 1.
 John "Rover" Jordan, "Stop Nazi Drive in 11 Days: Officers Give
Lives to Halt Enemy: Anti-Tank Men Suffer Heavy Loss," Journal and Guide 3
 John "Rover" Jordan, "The GI's AND the Brass Hats Think a Lot of the
99th, 1 July 1944, 2.
 John "Rover" Jordan, "92nd Heroes Decorated;" :Glee and Lt. Pruitt
Get DFC;" "Silver Stars for 3 Men;" and "Lt. Archer Downs Three Nazi
Planes," Journal and Guide, 28 October 1944, 1.
 John "Rover" Jordan, "Daring and Perilous Attack Wins Silver Star, 5
Bronze Stars, Journal and Guide, 13 January 1945; "332nd Fliers End First
Year; 17 Promoted," Journal and Guide, 20 January 1945, 1.
 For reference, see the following on page one of the January 27, 1945
edition of the Journal and Guide: "Truck Convoy Heads for China on Ledo
Road: Veteran Drivers Underway;" and "Major Roberts Wins DFC; Four Made
 John "Rover Jordan, "The Sunny Side," Journal and Guide, 1 July 1944, 1;
 John "Rover" Jordan, "A Guy Can Get Kilt,: Journal and Guide, 1 July
1944, 1; "Ramblin Rover" Picks Up Tidewater Yarn While Chasing Around
Europe," 9 September 1944. Jordan, "Jitterbug Sgt. Saved by Word of God,"
Journal and Guide, 23 December 1944.
 Jordan, "Chaplains Prove to Be "Regular" Guys As Ministry Goes To
War, Journal and Guide, Second Section, 16 September 1944.
 Lem Graves, Jr., "Do's and Don't's Listed by Reporter Back for
Overseas, Journal and Guide, Second Section, 16 September 1944
 His most famous such work is found in Personal History (New York:
Houghton Mifflin, 1969, rev).
 Thomas W. Young, "Guide Correspondent Sees Axis Collapse," Journal
and Guide, 15 May 1943, 1..
 Thomas W. Young, "Guide War Correspondent Sees Axis Defeat in North
Africa Campaign, Journal and Guide, 22 May 1943, 1.
 Lem Graves Jr., "First Test Pilots Are Overseas: Guide War Reporter
Tells of Trips to War Zone," Journal and Guide, 26 February 1944, 1.
 "Another Guide Scoop: The USS Mason Goes into Combat, Journal and
Guide, 26 August 1944, 1.
 The USS Mason Goes into Combat,: 26 August 1944, 1 and 12.
 For reference, see the following on page one of the August 19, 1944
issue of the Journal and Guide. "Jordan Eyewitness Invasion Story!"
"Recorded Operation from Ringside Seat in Glider Tow Plane;" "Jordan with
 John "Rover" Jordan, "A Terrifying Experience: Plane Crashes Almost
at Jordan's feet," Journal and Guide, 22 July 1944, 1.
 Bernard C. Cohen. The Press and Foreign Policy (Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1963), 17.
 John "Rover" Jordan, "Germans Halt 92nd Attack: Forced to Give Up
Gains," Journal and Guide, 17 February 1945, 1.
 George Washington Williams is also conspicuously absent from
literature on foreign correspondence. He did, however, receive first-rate
biographical treatment in John Hope Franklin, George Washington Williams: A
Biography (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), see especially
chapter 13 "African Journey." Williams is not mentioned in McClure's
biography, Peter Lyon, Success Story: the Life and Times of S.S. McClure
(New York: Scribners, 1963).
 John Maxwell Hamilton and Eric Jenner, "The New Foreign
Correspondence," Foreign Affairs, Vol. 82, No. 5, September/October 2003,
131-138. For an example how strong ethnic sentiment can change reporting
of mainstream press, see H. Denis Wu, Judith Sylvester, John Maxwell
Hamilton, "Newspaper Provides Balance in Palestinian/Israeli Reports, "
Newspaper Research Journal, vol. 23, no. 2,3, Spring/Summer 2002.