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Volume 80, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0010-0994
  • E-ISSN: 2161-8178


Disciplinary histories of composition studies argue that the mission of communication programs shifted during World War II: from striving to democratize higher education to promoting uncritical patriotism. Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) rarely figure into these histories, in part because they seldom appeared in the era’s scholarly publications. Recently digitized African American newspaper archives invite a counter narrative of wartime democratizing pedagogy. Press coverage highlights the Hampton Institute Communications Center, the most widely publicized and politicized site of literacy instruction during the war. The controversy it engendered shows Hampton and other HBCU curricula forwarding wartime literacies that constituted patriotic resistance to Jim Crow segregation.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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