Tuesday, August 28, 2007
The Chicago Defender is an African American newspaper founded in 1905. According to one photo I saw on the NPR web, site (http://www.pbs.org/blackpress/news_bios/defender.html), the paper's banner once touted itself as "The Mouthpiece of 14 Million People: Carries More Live News of Racial Interest Than Any Ten Weeklies." One fascinating bit of history is that the Defender's voice was a major driving force behind the Great Migration, the movement of 1-1/2 million African Americans to the northern United States between 1915-1925. The numbers are mind-boggling to me. Over less than 3 years, more than 110,000 people migrated to Chicago alone! Where did they put all those people?
I have to confess that I have never read this paper, now called the Chicago Daily Defender. I'm not a native of Chicago and I'm not African American. I don't even subscribe to any of the other Chicago papers.
The Defender building has been vacant since 2006 and is on watch-lists for threatened historic architecture. The building was originally home of the Illinois Automobile Club. If you look closely at the weather-vane on top you can see that it is a car.