Publication Date

Spring 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Journalism and Mass Communications


Diana Stover


African-American press, African-American servicemen, military integration, military segregation, Pittsburgh Courier, racial discrimination and civil rights

Subject Areas

Mass communication; Journalism; African American studies


This study is a quantitative and qualitative content analysis designed to determine how the Pittsburgh Courier reported the issue of African-American military participation and integration of the U.S. Armed Forces prior to World War II and how that news coverage changed over time. The researcher analyzed 368 news items from 312 weekly editions of the Courier published between September 1, 1934, and September 21, 1940. The researcher compared news content across two periods within the time range specified for the study. The researcher found that the Courier consistently and extensively reported on the issue during the time period. The Courier portrayed the issue of racial discrimination in the military and the argument for integration differently at different periods. An analysis of the major themes showed that racial discrimination as an argument for integration was the dominant theme throughout both periods as compared to the argument of civil rights or African-American military capability, heroism, and patriotism. There was no significant difference between sources by race in articles that discussed the issue. Both African-American and Caucasian sources were attributed equally throughout both time periods. The major contribution of this study to the literature is that it provides a view of what was occurring regarding the political battle to end segregation in the U.S. Armed Forces prior to World War II.