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Black, White, and Red All Over

A Cultural History of the Radical Press in Its Heyday, 1900-1917

Linda J. Lumsden

Publication Year: 2014

Hundreds of newspapers and magazines published by socialists, anarchists, and the Industrial Workers of the World in the years before World War I offered sharp critiques of the emerging corporate state that remain relevant in light of gaping twenty-first-century social inequity. Black, White, and Red All Over offers the first comprehensive narrative to explore the central role that a broad swathe of social movement media played in radical movements, stirring millions of Americans a century ago.

Author Linda J. Lumsden mines more than a dozen diverse radical periodicals—including Progressive Woman, Industrial Worker, Wilshire’s, the Messenger, Mother Earth, Appeal to Reason, New York Call, and International Socialist Review—to demonstrate how they served anarchists, socialists, and industrial unionists in their quest to topple capitalism and create their varied visions of a cooperative commonwealth. The book argues that these subversive periodicals were quintessentially American: individualist, independent, socialminded, egalitarian, defiant, and celebratory of freedom. Even their call for revolution resounded from the roots of the American experience.

Black, White, and Red All Over explores socialist periodicals in the agrarian heartland; views socialists’ attempts to provide alternatives to urban dailies; explores the radical press crusade to champion workers; analyzes the role anarchist periodicals played in their pioneering battles for a free press, free speech, and free love; surveys socialism in the black press; and details the federal government’s wartime campaign to suppress the radical press. It draws parallels with Occupy Wall Street’s social media movement. Despite the distance from the typewriter to Twitter, Lumsden concludes that twenty-first-century social movement media perform nearly the same function as did their nearly forgotten predecessors.

Published by: The Kent State University Press

Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. ix-x

Writing may be a solitary pursuit, but research and publishing are not. Many people and institutions contributed money, expertise, and moral support during the eight years it took to make this book.
First, let me thank the folks at the receiving end of my e-mails in the...

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Introduction: The Rise of a Nineteenth-Century Radical Press

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pp. 1-25

Albert Parsons and his three fellow editors looked like ghosts standing on the gallows. White muslin shrouds draped their bodies from neck to toe, hiding the thick leather straps that pinned their arms at their sides and the handcuffs that locked their hands behind their backs. White hoods tied at...

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1. Socialist: National Periodicals in the Heartland

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pp. 26-54

The moment Mother Jones stepped off the train and onto the station platform at Mt. Carbon, West Virginia, as she recalled, the “corporate dogs set up a howl.” The company town represented a new, industrial form of feudalism, erected by Tianawha Coal and Coke Company to house workers...

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2. Dailies: Socialists Take on the Mainstream Press

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pp. 55-82

At 11:02 a.m. on May 30, 1908, city editor Gordon Wood and his handful of bleary-eyed staff members put to bed the first issue of their new daily newspaper in a shabby loft at 6 Park Place in Manhattan, soon to be razed for the fifty-seven-story Woolworth Building. When the young...

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3. Bombs and Bombast: Trials of Socialist Newspapers

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pp. 83-106

Eight inches of virgin snow featherbedded the streets of Caldwell, Idaho, population twenty-two hundred, the day before New Year’s Eve 1905. Frank Steunenberg stamped a crease into the white comforter blanketing the road as he shuffled home. Life had quieted down during the more...

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4. Cacophony: From a "One-Hoss Boss" to a Party Boss in the Socialist Press

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pp. 107-127

On the afternoon of August 13, 1911, George Shoaf took a break from investigating a sensational labor case in Los Angeles. The reporter believed he was about to “spring the biggest sensation of the whole case”—the identity of the person who left a suitcase stuffed with dynamite in an alley...

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5. Wobblies: Journalism as Direct Action by the Industrial Workers of the World

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pp. 128-155

Ralph Chaplin grinned as he and the other men folding copies of Solidarity belted out the lyrics to “Paint ’Er Red.” The volunteers showed up at the Industrial Workers of the World’s hall in Cleveland after their regular jobs every week on press day to help mail its scrappy four-page newspaper. The...

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6. Anarchy! Imagining a World Without Hierarchy

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pp. 156-185

Stella Thornhill was unaware she was being watched as she skinny-dipped in Joe’s Bay on a warm afternoon in July 1911. The bay carved an indigo thimble out of the sylvan Key Peninsula, which divides Washington’s southern Puget Sound like a camouflage boot stamping a puddle. Its frigid water...

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7. The Intellectuals: Wilshire's, The Masses, And the Lyrical Left

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pp. 186-211

One sunny Los Angeles afternoon in April 1901, so-called millionaire socialist Henry Gaylord Wilshire made a Los Angeles Herald reporter an offer he couldn’t refuse. The well-built man clad in expensive English tweed and bearing an aristocratic name knew the journalist would appreciate a...

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8. "The Black Man's Burden": Race and the Radical Press

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pp. 212-239

Soon after moving north from Atlanta in 1910 to edit the Crisis, the monthly magazine of the newly created National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, W. E. B. Du Bois joined Socialist Party Club Number 1 of New York City. The sociologist had been moving cautiously...

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9. "What Every Woman Should Know": Women and the Radical Press

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pp. 240-267

The stories the Lower East Side immigrant women told visiting nurse Margaret Sanger sickened her: ingesting herbal concoctions, stirring turpentine into coffee, rolling down tenement stairs, inserting sticks or shoe hooks or knitting needles into their uteruses. On Saturday nights, Sanger...

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10. Suppression: Silencing the Radical Press During World War I

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pp. 268-293

Late on the afternoon of June 16, 1917, Emma Goldman was working in a room inside 20 East 125th Street in New York that doubled as the office of Mother Earth and the newly established No Conscription League. She had retrained her focus from championing birth control to combatting a...

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Conclusion: Radical Media in the Twenty-First Century

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pp. 294-312

On July 13, 2011, the Canadian magazine Adbusters introduced on its blog the Twitter hashtag #OccupyWallSt. Inspired by the Arab Spring protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, Adbusters proposed a protest against the corporate greed run amok on symbolically rich Wall Street. Since 1989, the satirical...


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pp. 313-391

Select Bibliography

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pp. 392-405


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pp. 406-430

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781612778624
E-ISBN-10: 1612778623
Print-ISBN-13: 9781606352069

Page Count: 400
Publication Year: 2014

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Subject Headings

  • Underground press publications History -- United States -- 20th century.
  • Press, Socialist -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Press, Labor -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Press and politics History -- United States -- 20th century.
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