28 days of Black History Month: Robert Abbott

28 Days of Black History Month (February 24th, 2015)

Robert Sengstacke Abbott  (24 November 1870 – February 29, 1940)

Robert Sengstacke Abbott
(24 November 1870 – February 29, 1940)


Robert Sengstacke Abbott was born on November 24th, 1870 on St. Simons Island, Georgia. Mr. Abbott was known for becoming the 1st self made African American Millionaire & Creator of the Chicago Defender Newspaper. He was also a Singer, Lawyer, Publisher & Editor, he received his Law Degree from Kent College of Law in 1898. Even though he was indeed a Lawyer many of the racial Prejudices of the day prohibited him from Practicing Law. However, Before Graduating with a Law degree he studied the Printing Trade at The Hampton Institute (now known as Hampton University) from 1892-1896. This skill gave him the experience necessary to start his own weekly Newspaper. It would be called The Chicago Defender.

Founded in 1905 The Chicago Defender was a Newspaper for African Americans by African Americans. It showed America the other side of Racism & Bias. It also helped spearhead the great migration of African Americans from the south to the north. Populating cities like Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit & New York all became hopeful destinations for many families seeking a better way of life. Mr Abbott also founded the Bud Billiken Club in Chicago for the youth to have someplace to socially gather and teach them how to manage and thrive in America. With only his hard work and a personal investment of 25 cents. Robert Abbott turned that into a empire that eventually led him to being one of the Wealthiest African Americans in America at that time. With a weekly circulation topping 200,000  a week he was a very successful man. He died February 29, 1940 of Brights Disease (a form of Kidney Disease) he had no children.

Editor’s Note:

We tend to think that just because times were extremely difficult for African Americans that they would just roll over. No, many of them made the best of a really bad situation. Mr. Abbott was no exception, except the fact that he was exceptional. Makes you wonder just how far you can go in life with a something as small as a personal investment in yourself, #Thankyou.


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