A newsboy selling The Chicago Defender in 1942

As far back 1909, black stories have been printed column by column on Robert Abbott’s brainchild, The Chicago Defender. The Defender, is moving all its publications online as part of a move to remain relevant for the next century. Stories told in details and without prejudice, fighting for the emancipation of African-Americans without fear – covering everything black – from births to weddings, deaths and anniversaries were documented.

Mouthpiece of 14 million people

Now, after more than a century, the Defender will cease to print media and only online publications will exist. Chief Executive of Real Times Media, Hiram Jackson, said that this was a purely economic decision. The Defender has existed for 100 years and this move will ensure its continuance for another 100, Jackson said.

Read More: History of The Chicago Defender

Keeping the Vision

The iconic newspaper stood for all that was American, standing for the blacks at the time. Its struggles gave the voiceless voice, the oppressed, courage amid pressure at a time when doing this was difficult. “Negro Press”, as it was usually called, campaigned against Jim Crow and orchestrated the migration from North to South. While advocating for equality of the races by speaking against segregation of the armed forces it paved way for liberation of the black in later years. It was estimated that at a time, viewership reached 500,000. Many are still used to reading its columns across today’s America.

May 20, 1916 Frontpage carrying lynching of black boy

In 1940, John Sengstacke, Abbott’s nephew assumed editorial control and the newspaper began daily publication. By 1965, he purchased The Pittsburgh Courier, adding it to his “newspaper chain” and was publisher until his death in 1997.

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Chief Executive Jackson told the Chicago Tribune that “The Defender” is about providing information to the African-American community. The numbers prove that the best way to continue the vision is by expanding our digital platform.”

Jackson told the Associated Press that his other newspapers will continue to offer a print version.

 

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