“Expansion is too Clean a Name for it.” Black Perspectives on American Imperial Expansion, 1898-1902




Schneider, Rachel

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This thesis examines Black American perspectives on American imperial expansion during the Spanish-Cuban-American and Philippines-American Wars. Framed through a racial and gendered analysis, I use extensive archival material, newspaper coverage, and secondary analysis to frame and explore how this marginalized population reposed to the American acquisition of Guam, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Hawai’i between 1898-1902. As Cuba broke into open anti-colonial rebellion in the late nineteenth century, Black American newspapers focused on the struggles of Cuba's enslaved and oppressed peoples. Once the Spanish-Cuban-American war began, Black newspapers sought to establish the courage, patriotism, and strength of the nation’s Black soldiers through patriotic and cheerful news courage. Some Black newspapers argued that military service would fortify Black civil rights; others proclaimed that the nation had far greater troubles at home, rendering the US incapable of handling the challenges posed by imperial expansion. Letters written by Black soldiers shaped these narratives of bravery while describing how white American soldiers subjugated the coloured peoples of the lands the US occupied. Black soldiers humanized the colonized populations on the islands they occupied, reframing American expansion against the power of white oppression.



United States, Imperialism, Spanish-Cuban-American War, Philippines-American War, Puerto Rico, The Philippines, Cuba, American media, American Empire, Black American Newspapers, Black Media, Gender analysis, Race analysis