Thursday, January 31, 2008

Historic Chicago black newspaper reverting to a weekly

You might be able to compile a list of newspapers that have transformed society more than the Chicago Defender, but if you do, that list will certainly be a short one.

The historic black paper was founded in 1905 as a weekly, it became a daily in 1956. Lately it's been producing four editions a week. On February 13, the Defender will return to being a weekly.

The first publishers of the Defender, like the bloggers of today, didn't like how the mainstream media, which consisted only of newspapers then, were covering the news. So they decided to have a crack at it themselves.

PBS explains the history of the paper:

The Chicago Defender's local circulation soon surpassed that of the three rival papers that existed in the Chicago area at that time: The Broad Ax, The Illinois Idea, and The Conservator. The newspaper was read extensively in the South. Black Pullman porters and entertainers were used to distribute the paper across the Mason/Dixon line. The paper was smuggled into the south because white distributors refused to circulate The Defender and many groups such as the Klu Klux Klan tried to confiscate it or threatened its readers. The Defender was passed from person to person, and read aloud in barbershops and churches. It is estimated that at its height each paper sold was read by four to five African Americans, putting its readership at over 500,000 people each week. The Chicago Defender was the first black newspaper to have a circulation over 100,000, the first to have a health column, and the first to have a full page of comic strips.

During World War I The Chicago Defender waged its most aggressive (and successful) campaign in support of "The Great Migration" movement. This movement resulted in over one and a half million southern blacks migrating to the North between 1915-1925. The Defender spoke of the hazards of remaining in the overtly segregated south and lauded life in the North. Job listings and train schedules were posted to facilitate the relocation. The Defender also used editorials, cartoons, and articles with blazing headlines to attract attention to the movement, and even went so far as to declare May 15, 1917 the date of the "Great Northern Drive." The Defender's support of the movement, caused southern readers to migrate to the North in record numbers. At least 110,000 came to Chicago alone between 1916-1918, nearly tripling the city's black population.

Related posts:

Cincinnati Post publishes final edition on New Year's Eve

Chicago Sun-Times in trouble

Technorati tags:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Grow some jewels you gaseous
piece of S**T!!!!