J. Edgar Hoover and the Black Press in World War II

Patrick S. Washburn
1986 Journalism History  
Investigation from 1924 until his death in 1972, was one of the most controversial high government officials of the twentieth century. A master of both secret investigations and ths public relations techniques needed to sustain them, he was criticized by many for violating cavil rights while numerous others praised his steadfast fight against communism. But one thing on which everyone agreed was his enormous power. Occasionally, however, Hoover's power was controlled unexpectedly and
more » ... ly at the highest reaches of government. An excellent example was his drive to obtain an Espionage Act indictment of the black press for sedi:4on in World War II. It is virtually an unknown story involving Attorney General Francis Biddle and the Justice Department. This study will examine what occurred and explain why. Most of the documentation used was obtained from the Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, New York; the National Archives in Washington, D.C.; and through FOI Act requests to the Justice Department and the. FBI. In addition, some black journalists who worked in World War II were interviewed. II To understand Hoover's drive to indict the black press in World War II, it is necessary to begin in 1919. Following nine explosions set by anarchists on June 2, Hoover was named the head of the Justice Department's newly created General Intelligence Division (GID), which was ordered to "concentrate on a study of subversive activities." With Hoover providing the impetus, the GID moved at a dizzying pace.
doi:10.1080/00947679.1986.12066619 fatcat:gkwypehcyfdzzatrgdoqttedua