H I C A G O
R I B U T E
On a May evening in
1905, Robert Sengstacke
Abbott appeared on the streets of Chicago selling
his four-page Chicago Defender, proclaiming it the
only two-cent weekly in the city. Using his
landladys kitchen table as his desk, Abbott was
the newspapers publisher, editor, reporting staff,
business manager and sales force.
Born in Georgia to former
slaves, Abbott learned
the printing trade at Hampton Institute in Virginia.
He moved to Chicago in 1897 and worked odd jobs
while earning a law degree at Kent College of Law.
made it virtually impossible for Abbott to earn a living as a printer or
lawyer. Instead he turned to journalism.
opposition to racism and his entrepreneurial skills elevated the Defender
to national prominence. Abbott recruited entertainers and Pullman porters
to distribute the paper across the nation, providing them with newspaper
coverage in return.
Abbott built the Defender
into one of the nations most influential African-American publications
and he is widely regarded as the greatest single force in African-American
journalism. His papers success made Abbott one of the nations
first African-American millionaires. He purchased a house at 4742 South
Grand Boulevard (now King Drive) in 1926 and lived there until his death.