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In Black and White: Coverage of U.S. Slave Reparations by the Mainstream and Black Press

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The issue of reparations being awarded to descendants of U.S. slaves has appeared on both the media and policy agendas; this study examines differences in how four mainstream and four Black newspapers covered this issue. A content analysis revealed that the majority of the slavery reparations articles were printed in the Black press, and a larger percentage of Black press articles were pro-slavery reparations. Both mainstream and Black newspapers most often covered the issue in a legislative context rather than moral or legal one, and both rarely addressed slavery reparations in the context of its potential positive or negative effect on relations between U.S. Blacks and Whites. A larger percentage of mainstream press articles compared slavery reparations with other reparations such as those paid to Japanese internment survivors, Holocaust survivors, and American Indians than did the Black press. In short, the results of this study indicate that Black press coverage of slavery reparations differed from that of the mainstream press during the 20-year period examined.
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Keywords: Black press; U.S. slavery reparations; content analysis; newspapers; press; race relations

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA 2: University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA 3: Oxford University, Oxford, England

Publication date: 01 July 2005

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