Critics often chastised the twentieth-century black press for focusing on sex and scandal rather than African American achievements. In Pleasure in the News, Kim Gallon takes an opposing stance—arguing that African American newspapers fostered black sexual expression, agency, and identity.

Gallon discusses how journalists and editors created black sexual publics that offered everyday African Americans opportunities to discuss sexual topics that exposed class and gender tensions. While black churches and black schools often encouraged sexual restraint, the black press printed stories that complicated notions about respectability. Sensational coverage also expanded African American women’s sexual consciousness and demonstrated the tenuous position of female impersonators, black gay men, and black lesbians in early twentieth-century African American urban communities.

About Kim

Kim Gallon is an Associate Professor of History. Her work investigates the cultural dimensions of the Black Press in the early twentieth century. She is the author of the book, Pleasure in the News: African American Readership and Sexuality in the Black Press (University of Illinois Press, 2020).

Gallon is currently at work on two new book projects—Technologies of Recovery: Black DH, Theory and Praxis (University of Illinois Press)a book about the black digital humanities as a site of resistance and liberation and a book titled, Fiction for the Harassed and Frustrated, which examines the role and significance of popular literary expression in the Black Press in the early twentieth century (Johns Hopkins University Press). She currently serves as the inaugural editor for the Black Press in America book series at Johns Hopkins University Press.

Gallon is also the author of the field defining article, “Making a Case for the Black Digital Humanities” and the founder and director of two black digital humanities projects: The Black Press Research Collective and COVID Black: A Taskforce on Black Health and Data. She also serves on a number of digital advisory boards for digital humanities projects and grants.