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Let Us Make MenThe Twentieth-Century Black Press and a Manly Vision for Racial Advancement$
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D'Weston Haywood

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469643397

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469643397.001.0001

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Go to It, My Southern Brothers

Go to It, My Southern Brothers

The Rise of the Modern Black Press, the Great Migration, and the Construction of Urban Black Manhood

(p.20) 1 Go to It, My Southern Brothers
Let Us Make Men

D'Weston Haywood

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter reinterprets the Great Migration as a call to manhood for black men led by the Crisis and, in particular, the Chicago Defender. Their promotion of the migration along these lines gave rise to the modern black press, as well as the personal quests of W. E. B. DuBois, founder of the Crisis, and Robert Abbott, founder of the Defender, to achieve their own manhood through newspaper publishing. Yet, unlike DuBois, Abbott deployed sensationalism in order to amplify his paper’s particular call to manhood, politicizing and en-gendering the migration through riveting rhetoric that asserted that urbanity was the new maker and marker of manhood over the emasculating south’s older models of manhood connected to land ownership and self-produced commodities. The Defender’s construction of an urban-based black manhood helped set the tone for emerging New Negro sensibilities. Additionally, the Defender’s use of a gendered sensationalism helped establish black newspapers’ role in framing racial advancement within masculine terms throughout the twentieth century black freedom struggle.

Keywords:   migration, urban space, Jim Crow, racial violence, Race Man, Chicago Defender, The Crisis, NAACP, W. E. B. DuBois, Robert S. Abbott

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