African American Lecture Series: “The Chicago Defender”
The Chicago Defender has long served as one of the most recognized voices of African Americans. When mainstream newspapers did not cover the Black Experience, The Chicago Defender was there! Founded by Robert S. Abbott on May 5, 1905, The Chicago Defender hired their first full-time paid employee, J. Hockley Smiley in 1910. With Smiley’s help, the Defender attracted national audiences and addressed issues of national scope. The Defender had more freedom to denounce issues outright, and its editorial position was very militant, attacking racial inequities head on. Sensationalistic headlines, graphic images, and red ink were utilized to capture the reader’s attention and convey the horrors of lynching, rapes assaults, and other atrocities affecting African Americans.
Presenters: Actor/Historian/News reporter Thomasi McDonald will demonstrate how The Chicago Defender became “A Beacon of Hope” for decades of African Americans fleeing the south.