On this day in 1905, the Chicago Defender was founded


Murleen Walker, right, shares a copy of the Chicago Defender with Chicago police officers the morning after Barack Obama's presidential victory Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008 in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood near Obama's home. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
Reading Time: < 1 minute

On May 5, 1905, the influential Black newspaper, the Chicago Defender, was founded by Robert S. Abbott. The paper was the first Black publication to have a circulation over 100,000. The paper began as a four-page, six-column handbill Abbott produced with an initial investment of 25 cents.

He produced the paper alone out of a small kitchen in his landlord’s apartment until 1910, when he hired his first full-time, paid employee. Although white distributors refused to distribute the paper in the South, Black Pullman porters and entertainers helped the paper reach readers across the Mason-Dixon line.

At its height, the Defender was estimated to have a readership of over 500,000 each week. The Chicago Defender is entirely online today.

advanced divider
advanced divider