Modern Languages and Literatures, Department of


First Advisor

Dr. Edward Dawson

Second Advisor

Dr. Patricia Simpson

Third Advisor

Dr. Adrian Wisnicki

Date of this Version

Summer 7-27-2023


Browitt, Karmen. (2023). German-language Newspapers in America: Reactions and Reporting on Racism and Mob Violence towards Minority Groups in the Early 1900s. Master's Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College of the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Modern Language and Literatures, Under the Supervision of Professor Edward Dawson. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2023

Copyright © 2023 Karmen Browitt

The website mentioned in the thesis can be found at the following link:


This thesis examines the perspective of German-Americans through the lens of their German-Language newspapers during two significant moments in history when minority groups faced discrimination: anti-German Sentiment of World War I and the Red Summer of 1919, marked by violence against Black Americans. German-Americans were subjected to suspicion and hostility, being viewed as disloyal to the United States. Consequently, they experienced oppressive measures such as language laws, hate crimes, and attempts to completely erase the German language and culture within the United States. Meanwhile, in 1919, post-World War I tension between Black and white communities escalated as both communities competed for employment opportunities in Northern States. The tensions ignited riots across the nation, with this thesis focuses on the Washington D.C., Chicago, and Omaha riots. This thesis looks into the discourse found in German-language newspapers and examines how these newspapers discussed moments where their own community was targeted compared to incidents of discrimination against the Black community. It finds that while these newspaper report on a minority group to which they do not belong, they find connections between the discrimination experienced by both groups.

Advisor: Edward Dawson