Friday, December 28, 2007


CHICAGO DEFENDER Founded in 1905 by Robert S. Abbott, the Chicago Defender was one of the most influential black edited and published newspapers during the early twentieth century. Widely circulated throughout the South, the Defender was instrumental in encouraging southern blacks to migrate to the North during the first World War. Portraying the North as a "land of promise" for African-Americans, the Defender at­tacked southern racism and the economic plight of southern blacks. "To die from the bite of frost," the newspaper asserted, "is far more glorious than at the hands of a mob."

Advertisements for help in the classified columns of the Defender as well as occasional headlines ("MORE POSITIONS OPEN THAN MEN FOR THEM") were specifically written to entice
southern blacks to seek their fortune and perhaps fame in the North. More significant were the repeated appeals of the Defender for southern black men to exert their manhood in the cause of human dignity. "Every black man for the sake of his wife and daughter," proclaimed the Defender, "should leave even at a financial sacrifice every spot in the South where his worth is not appreciated enough to give him the standing of a man and a citizen in the community." See also: ROBERT S. ABBOTT and GREAT MIGRATION.

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