This Newspaper Was Crucial To Telling Important Black Stories

russell lee
Briona Lamback
November 14, 2022

Robert Abbott had 25 cents to his name as he worked out of his landlord's apartment to realize his dream. He wanted to tell Black stories - true ones not created by white writers.

Once considered "The World's Greatest Weekly," The Chicago Defender advocated for racial and economic rights.  Never needing white approval, Abbott and the Defender team did it in the Blackest way possible.

At the time, not many other publications were willing to write the truth about what was targeting Black people. But Abbott's team didn't have time to play around.

They never minced words. The newspaper faced racial issues head-on and in a style that many considered militant, using heavy headlines and graphic images, and highlighting things using red ink. Their powerful stories covered the horrors of lynchings, assaults, and other attacks on Black people.

It paid off. By 1920, the Defender was reaching hundreds of thousands of us. Whites couldn't stand it and banned the newspaper from some newsstands across the South!

Despite it all, The Defender continued to push its advocacy for Black people throughout the country and created a legacy as one of its most essential papers in history. Like Abbott and his team, despite how anti-Blackness may try to stop us, we must see our visions through.

We have a quick favor to ask:

PushBlack is a nonprofit dedicated to raising up Black voices. We are a small team but we have an outsized impact:

  • We reach tens of millions of people with our BLACK NEWS & HISTORY STORIES every year.
  • We fight for CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM to protect our community.
  • We run VOTING CAMPAIGNS that reach over 10 million African-Americans across the country.

And as a nonprofit, we rely on small donations from subscribers like you.

With as little as $5 a month, you can help PushBlack raise up Black voices. It only takes a minute, so will you please ?

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