Black Print with a White Carnation: Mildred Brown and the Omaha Star Newspaper, 1938-1989

By Amy Helene Forss | Go to book overview

8
The Death of an Icon

Driving past the corner of Twenty-Fourth and Lake Streets, one can almost imagine the thriving Near North Side community before it perished in the burning and destruction of the 1969 race rebellion. Today, the Near North Side remains only a shadow of its former potential. However, evidence of its upbeat past lingers on a one-block section of Twenty-Fourth and Grant Streets. The short strip of roadway bears the title “Mildred Brown Street.” The Star publisher, as well as Father Markoe and the De Porres Club, are no longer, but the results of the successful collective battles they fought still exist. The numerous newspaper youths, whom Brown encouraged through advice, respect, and employment, have grown into middle-aged adults. Brown’s voice, now barely a whisper in the Omaha Star newspaper, continues her goal of equality. The Omaha Star building earned its rightful place on the National Register of Historic Places for being a center of social history, ethnic heritage, and mass communication during the civil rights movement. Matt Holland, the son of deceased De Porres Club president Denny Holland, applauded the building’s national status. “The building means a lot of history to Omaha, not just the black community. The Star is an icon. Like the bus seat that Rosa Parks sat on. It’s that tangible.” Mildred Brown was a courageous leader and a practical dreamer. The Omaha Star newspaper was her dream. She made it happen for herself and the city’s black community.1

In the last week of January, in 1989, an older but energetic Mildred Brown sat down on her office couch for an interview with Jeff Reinhardt, the white editor of Omaha’s mainstream New Horizons magazine. It was a chilly, snowy afternoon, and their twilight meeting at

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Black Print with a White Carnation: Mildred Brown and the Omaha Star Newspaper, 1938-1989
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part 1- Laying the Foundation 19
  • 1- A Family of Fighters 21
  • 2- Involving the Community 43
  • 3- Politics of Respectability 59
  • Part 2- Ensuring Her Success 81
  • 4- Working within Her Space 83
  • 5- Collective Activism and the de Porres Club 101
  • 6- Restricted Housing and ‘Rithmetic 123
  • Part 3- Transferring Ownership to the Community 141
  • 7- Changing Strategies for Changing Times 143
  • 8- The Death of An Icon 165
  • Notes 179
  • Bibliography 211
  • Index 233
  • In the Women in the West Series 242
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