Black Print with a White Carnation
Mildred Brown and the Omaha Star Newspaper, 1938-1989
Black Print with a White Carnation: Mildred Brown and the Omaha Newspaper, 1938-1989 examines the life of Mildred Brown and the northern Omaha entity known as the Near North Side. It frames Brown’s background and how it intertwines with the diversely rich national and local story of the country’s largest minority emerging from the status of segregated individuals to a powerful consumer bloc. Mildred Brown, a fearless, courageous middle-class lady who always wore a symbol of womanhood and matriarchy, an over-sized white carnation corsage unified the African American community. She used her Omaha Star newspaper to galvanize the black population into a collective unit of activism. Through her efforts and the cooperation of organizations such as Omaha’s NAACP, the De Porres Club, the Citizens Coordinating Committee for Civil Liberties, and the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, she helped unite the Near North Side’s poor, elite, Democrat, Republican, younger activist blacks, and older established black leaders, into a cohesive unit. It was a feat unprecedented before or since her fifty-one year tenure as the co-founder of the Omaha Star. It remains the longest running black newspaper co-founded by a black woman in the United States.
Author Amy Helene Forss discusses Black Print with a White Carnation as part of C-Span’s Local Content Video Cities Tour.
2014 Nebraska Book Award in Nonfiction/Biography from Nebraska Center for the Book
Reviews and Praise
“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
“Superbly researched.”—Geitner Simmons, Middle West Review
About Mildred Brown
Mildred D. Brown utilized the Omaha Star as an activist tool to provide a voice for the black community and to conduct diplomatic forms of communication between the black and white residents of Omaha, especially during the city riots of 1966, ’67 and ‘69. Brown and the Star, which most citizens of Omaha saw as synonymous, uplifted the black community with positive weekly news while successfully challenging racial discrimination, unfair employment practices, restrictive housing covenants, a segregated school system, and urban renewal. Brown accomplished this impressive feat by nurturing, challenging and speaking for her black readership from the moment she co-founded the Omaha Star on July 9, 1938 until the moment she died on November 2, 1989. Her inter-generational unification of both the white and black communities made change happen in Omaha.
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