What’s New at the Journal

Vol 30 Issue 4Fall 2015 Issue

The current issue features Cindy Elmore’s study of why a GI reporter and editor were forced off the staff of the Stars and Stripes in 1946 during the US occupation of post-war Japan. Cayce Meyers explores the roots of publicity agents and their split from the advertising industry. Cristina Mislan examines a little-known broadcast from Cuba in the early 1960s, Radio Free Dixie, which distributed militant messages to black audiences in the US. Guolin Yi compares the New York Times and Washington Post in their coverage of the Sino-American rapprochement from 1963 to 1972. Brooke Kroeger writes about the continuing reliance of many historians regarding “periodization.”

Teaching Our Journal

With each issue of American Journalism, we feature teaching materials for a particular article and provide free online access to the article (through Taylor & Francis, the publisher of American Journalism).

The teaching materials provide topical overviews and various exercises for teaching the article in either undergraduate or graduate classes. The author of the article creates the teaching exercises and provides links to relevant primary and secondary sources.

We hope these teaching materials and the historical studies they reference will enrich your media history courses and, most importantly, your students’ learning. And we hope you will let us know how you use American Journalism in your classrooms.


“In the Spirit of ’76 Venceremos!”:
Nationalizing and Transnationalizing Self-Defense on Radio Free Dixie

Volume 32, Number 4, 2015

By Cristina Mislan, University of Missouri

Between 1962 and 1966, Radio Free Dixie broadcast from Havana, Cuba, to the southern and northern regions of the United States. Radio Free Dixie aired using Cuba’s 50,000-watt medium wave radio station Radio Progreso. This article tells the story of Radio Free Dixie, its broadcasters and messages, particularly those broadcasts that focused on self-defense. In her article, Cristina Mislan examines a combination of primary sources, including broadcasts, personal papers, and oral histories, to illustrate how Robert F. Williams, the radio program’s creator and primary host, couched the language of self-defense as both a national and transnational ideology.

The Cold War context, which linked global politics to the domestic Jim Crow system, allowed for the creation of a radio program that would become part of the larger historical significance of black journalism in the United States. But the emergence of international conflicts, such as the Cuban Revolution, also would place Radio Free Dixie within the history of Cold War radio. Within this context of radio propaganda, Radio Free Dixie served as a tool that spoke back to US imperialism from anti-imperialist space (i.e., Cuba).

The article employs a transnational lens to illustrate how Radio Free Dixie moved a conversation about self-defense beyond US domestic politics. Mislan contributes to the history of black and international journalism by highlighting how black media in the United States have used both national and transnational politics to link anti-imperialism to conversations about race and self-defense. A story about Radio Free Dixie thus complicates previous literature by providing insight into the ways black journalists and activists from the United States, but living outside the country, negotiated local and global politics. Read more.