Chicago Defender

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The Chicago Defender is a Chicago based newspaper founded in 1905 by an African American for primarily African American readers.

In just three years from 1919–1922[1] the Defender also attracted the writing talents of Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks.

In 1923, Abbott and editor Lucius Harper created the Bud Billiken Club and later organized parades to promote healthy activity among black children in Chicago. In 1929 the organization began the Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic, which is still held annually in Chicago in early August. In the 1950s under Sengstacke's direction, the Bud Billiken Parade expanded and emerged as the largest single event in Chicago. Today, it attracts more than one million attendance with more than 25 million television viewers making it one of the largest parades in the country.[2]

Abbott's nephew, John H. Sengstacke, took over the paper in 1940. In 1948, he encouraged President Harry S. Truman to integrate the Armed Service, which he did soon after. Sengstacke served as a member of Truman's appointed committee to assure the military had implemented a plan to fully integrate the military.

Sengstacke also brought together for the first time major black newspaper publishers and created the National Negro Publisher's Association, later renamed the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). Today the NNPA consists of over 200 black newspaper members. Two days following the publishers' first meeting in Chicago, Abbott died.

One of Sengstacke's most striking accomplishments occurred on February 6, 1956, when the Defender became a daily paper and changed its name to the Chicago Daily Defender, the nation's first black daily newspaper.

Control of the Chicago Defender and her sister publications was transferred to a new ownership group named Real Times Inc. in January 2003. Real Times, Inc. was organized and led by Picou, and Robert (Bobby), John H. Sengstacke's surviving child and father of the beneficiaries of the Sengstacke Trust. In effect, Picou, then Chairman and CEO of Real Times, Inc., led what was then labeled a "Sengstacke family led" deal to facilitate trust beneficiaries and other Sengstacke family shareholders to agree to the sale of the company. Picou recruited Sam Logan, former publisher of the Michigan Chronicle, who then recruited O'Neil Swanson, Bill Pickard, Ron Hall and Gordon Follmer, black businessman from Detroit, Michigan (the "Detroit Group") as investors in Real Times. Chicago investors included Picou, Bobby Sengstacke, David M. Milliner (who served as publisher of the Chicago Defender from 2003-2004), Kurt Cherry and James Carr.

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