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Robert S. Abbott was born in Frederica, Georgia, the son of Thomas and Flora (Butler) Abbott, both former slaves. From 1892 to 1896, he attended Hampton University in Virginia, where he learned the printing trade. Abbott moved to Chicago, Illinois, to attend Kent College of Law, graduating in 1898. He practiced law for a few years, then changed careers to become a journalist.

Abbott founded the Chicago Defender, a weekly newspaper in May 1905. He launched the paper with $25, and operated at first out of his kitchen. Under his direction, the Defender became the most widely circulated African American newspaper of its time and a leading voice in the fight against racism. Abbott cultivated a controversial, aggressive style, reporting on such issues as violence against blacks and police brutality. The Defender raised eyebrows with its antilynching slogan If you must die ...

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Clint C. Wilson

newspaper publisher, was born Robert Abbott in Fort Frederica, St. Simons Island, off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, the son of Thomas Abbott and Flora Butler, former slaves who operated a grocery store on St. Thomas Island. Thomas Abbott died the year after Robert was born, and Robert's mother moved to Savannah, where in 1874 she married John Herman Henry Sengstacke. Sengstacke was the son of a German father and a black American mother and, although born in the United States, was reared in Germany. He returned to the United States in 1869 and pursued careers in education, the clergy, and journalism. In the latter role Sengstacke became editor of the Woodville Times a black community weekly newspaper that served Savannah area residents Abbott s admiration for his stepfather inspired him to add the name Sengstacke to his own and to attempt to become a publisher in ...

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Frank A. Salamone

In 1909—the same year that W. E. B. Du Bois helped found the NAACP and that the African American Matthew Henson went with Robert Peary on what became the first successful journey to the North Pole—James Henry Anderson from South Carolina established the New York Amsterdam News. Anderson was born soon after the Civil War. At the age of twelve he left South Carolina, a runaway who worked an assortment of jobs, finally settling in New York City. He came up with the idea of establishing a newspaper aimed directly at the needs of an African American audience. This was a brave move on his part: at the time, there were only about fifty such newspapers in the entire country.

Anderson's small investment led to the Amsterdam News a newspaper that grew to have a strong influence in the black community He named the newspaper after ...

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Charles Rosenberg

spent his childhood and early adulthood in Pennsylvania, and may have been born in Philadelphia. Various censuses suggest his year of birth may have been 1818, 1820, or 1824, but a likely 1850 census entry shows his age as thirty-two.

Anderson’s parents have yet to be identified, and little is known about his life growing up in Pennsylvania. Contemporary accounts in California refer to him having worked as a waiter, and a Peter Anderson referenced as mulatto, who worked as a waiter, was recorded in the 1850 federal census living in Philadelphia’s Spruce Ward. Living with him were a woman named Mary Anderson—possibly his wife, or maybe his sister—two boys named Peter and George Anderson, and an unidentified nineteen-year-old named Elizabeth Purnell.

Anderson arrived in California in 1854, as the Gold Rush of 1849 was declining and established a tailor shop described in some directories ...

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Born in Sanford, Florida, Claude Barnett was sent at a very young age to live with his grandparents and other relatives in suburban Chicago, Illinois. He returned to the South to study engineering at Alabama's Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), from which he graduated in 1906. Back in Chicago, he worked as a postal clerk and, exposed to a wide range of advertising journals, decided to make a career in advertising. In 1913 he produced a series of photographs of famous blacks, which he sold through the mail, furthering his interest in business.

Five years later Barnett and several other entrepreneurs formed the Kashmir Chemical Company which sold cosmetics Barnett left the post office took the job of advertising manager at Kashmir and toured the country selling cosmetics as well as his photographs In each town he visited the local black newspaper hoping to bargain for ...

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Robert L. Harris

entrepreneur, journalist, and government adviser, was born in Sanford, Florida, the son of William Barnett, a hotel worker, and Celena Anderson. His father worked part of the year in Chicago and the rest of the time in Florida. Barnett's parents separated when he was young, and he lived with his mother's family in Oak Park, Illinois, where he attended school. His maternal ancestors were free blacks who migrated from Wake County, North Carolina, to the black settlement of Lost Creek, near Terre Haute, Indiana, during the 1830s. They then moved to Mattoon, Illinois, where Barnett's maternal grandfather was a teacher and later a barbershop owner, and finally to Oak Park. While attending high school in Oak Park, Barnett worked as a houseboy for Richard W. Sears cofounder of Sears Roebuck and Company Sears offered him a job with the company after he graduated from high school but ...

Article

Qrescent Mali Mason

Robert L. Johnson is the black entrepreneur responsible for Black Entertainment Television (BET). Johnson was born in Hickory, Mississippi, on 8 April 1946, the ninth of ten children. He went on to receive his bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 1968. It was at UIUC that Johnson became a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and met Sheila Crump, who later became his wife. Johnson completed graduate studies at Princeton University, earning his master's degree in public administration in 1972.

In 1976 Johnson joined the National Cable Television Association (NCTA). At this time, Johnson more closely considered an idea he had to start a channel that focused its programming on African Americans. At an NCTA convention, he met Bob Rosencrans the chief of UA Columbia Cablevision Johnson inquired about using a two hour block of programming time on Friday nights ...

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Hayward Woody Farrar

By the end of the nineteenth century a number of black journalists had learned enough from their predecessors to be able to keep normally short-lived black newspapers running. Among these pioneers were W. Calvin Chase of the Washington Bee, T. Thomas Fortune of the New York Age, John Mitchell of the Richmond Planet, Chris Perry of the Philadelphia Tribune, and John H. Murphy Sr. of the Baltimore Afro-American. As of this writing, two of these papers, the Tribune and the Afro-American, are still in existence.

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Charles Rosenberg

real estate developer, publisher, insurance broker, architect, and philanthropist, was born in Stock Township, Harrison County, Ohio, the son of William Blue and Adeline L. Blue, who married in Ohio in 1863. His father, a farm laborer, was born in Virginia in 1843 and may have been at one time enslaved to Thomas Blue in Hampshire County. He may also have been related to Thomas Fountain Blue, an acclaimed librarian in Louisville, Kentucky. Blue's mother was born in Ohio in 1845, to parents also born in Virginia. He had an older brother, William Benjamin, born in 1864, and a younger brother, Richard J., born in 1871. During the 1870s the family moved to New Philadelphia in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, where William Blue worked as a teamster.

Welcome T. Blue found work in Canton Ohio around 1889 where he lived ...

Article

Lester C. Lamon

The son of Richard Henry Boyd and Hattie Moore, Henry Allen Boyd was born in Grimes County, Texas, on April 15, 1876, and grew up in San Antonio. During the early 1870s his father, a former slave and Texas cowboy, received the call to the ministry and launched a successful career as a minister, church promoter, and entrepreneur. More than any of his eight brothers and sisters, Henry Allen identified with his father's aggressive concern for race achievement and personal initiative. While still in his teens, the younger Boyd attained a clerkship in the San Antonio post office (the first African American to hold such a position), and he held this post until he moved his wife and young daughter to Nashville, Tennessee, just before the turn of the century. Nashville remained Henry Boyd's residence until his death in 1959.

Richard Henry Boyd had become active ...

Article

Robert Repino

literary agent, was born Faith Hampton Childs in Washington, D.C., one of four children of Thomas Childs and Elizabeth Slade Childs, both public school English teachers who had attended Hampton University. Her father, a book collector, encouraged his daughter to learn about the world through reading, which Childs has credited for sparking her interest in literature. Following her graduation from high school, Childs studied history and political science at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, graduating in 1973 Five years later she acquired a law degree at American University in Washington D C Despite practicing law for several years in three different cities Childs found herself in her early thirties in need of a drastic career change The work she has claimed was simply not intellectually challenging Sachs et al and she wished to enter a life of the mind Baker p 50 that her father had encouraged ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

lawyer, journalist, director of the National Negro Congress, publisher of Our World magazine, was born in Washington, DC, the son of Dr. William Henry Davis and Julia Hubbard Davis, who had moved to the capital in 1899 from Louisville, Kentucky. The elder Davis worked in several occupations; in addition to obtaining a doctorate of Pharmacology from Howard University, he developed a successful business school, became official stenographer for the National Negro Business League, and during World War I served as special assistant to Dr. Emmett Scott, special assistant to the United States secretary of war.

In 1922 the younger Davis graduated from Dunbar High School, in Washington, DC, and entered Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. He was selected as editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper The Bates Student in 1925 served as president of the debating fraternity Delta Sigma Rho and represented Bates in an international debate with ...

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Danielle Taana Smith

Black entrepreneurship has been important for the American economy from the 1600s, when the first Africans arrived in America.

Article

Jonathan J. Bean

businessman, publisher, and self-help advocate, was born Samuel Bacon Fuller in Monroe, Louisiana, the son of William Fuller, a sharecropper and commercial fisherman, and Ethel Johnson Fuller, a domestic servant. His formal education ended after the sixth grade, and the young Fuller took up door-to-door sales. In 1920 the Fuller family moved to Memphis, Tennessee. When his mother died in 1922, Fuller's father abandoned the family, leaving S.B. in charge of six siblings; they refused charity and worked various jobs to survive. In 1923 Fuller married Lorena Whitfield; they had six children before they divorced in 1945. One year later Fuller married Lestine Thornton, a long-time assistant. In 1928 Fuller moved to Chicago joining the Great Migration of African Americans from the South to northern cities There he worked for seven years first as a coal deliverer then as a life ...

Article

María de Lourdes Ghidoli

was responsible for the publication of an illustrated almanac in 1881 that published a series of biographies of relevant members of the Afro-Porteño—Porteño meaning resident of Buenos Aires—community. The name of his parents, the exact date of his birth, and whether or not he was married are all unknown. However, the parish registries indicate that he had several children. Garzón had one child, María Leocadia, with a woman named Teofila Teja in 1876. He then had seven more children with a woman named Tomasa Miranda: María Luisa was born a year later in 1877, Mónica María Vicenta in 1880, Luis Modesto in 1882, Héctor in 1885, Eulalia Amalia in 1888, Antonia Alcira in 1891 and Juana Felisa in an unknown year Additionally this documentation points to a close relationship between Garzón and the Thompson family as some of his children were the godchildren ...

Article

Gregory S. Bell

entrepreneur and publisher, was born Earl Gilbert Graves in Brooklyn, New York, the oldest of the four children of Earl Godwyn Graves and Winifred Sealy, both the children of immigrants from Barbados. Graves's parents were very different people, yet both had characteristics that would influence his career. His father, an assistant manager at the Overland Garment Company, an apparel firm in New York City, was very serious and demanding, while his mother was outgoing and involved in a host of community activities. Graves has credited his work ethic, salesmanship, and drive to his father and his involvement in various causes and organizations to the example of his mother.Growing up Graves always looked for opportunities to make money At age six he sold Christmas cards to neighbors Later while attending Morgan State University in the early 1950s Graves worked two jobs at once Seeing the reluctance of local ...

Article

Daniel Donaghy

publisher and corporate executive. Earl G. Graves was born in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York, to Earl Goodwin Graves and Winifred Sealy Graves. One of only two African American students to graduate from Erasmus High School in 1952, Graves went on to star in track, maintain a dean's list average, and undertake several business ventures at Morgan State University, from which he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics in 1958. An ROTC member, Graves graduated from college a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Before he left the military, Graves completed Airborne and Ranger's School and was promoted to Green Beret captain. In 1962, Graves worked his childhood neighborhood as a narcotics agent from the U.S. Treasury Department. Over the next few years, he entered the real estate market, buying and developing land and selling it at a significant profit.

In ...

Article

The Johnson Publishing Company of Chicago, a family-owned conglomerate of media outlets and beauty products, was founded in 1945 by John H. Johnson (1918–). While working for Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Company in the early 1940s, Johnson collected and prepared a digest of news affecting the African American community for distribution among the company's senior managers. Realizing that this news digest could be marketed to African Americans, who were largely ignored by the mainstream press, Johnson used his mother's furniture as collateral to borrow $500, with which he published the first issue of what would be called Negro Digest.

Similar in form to Reader's Digest, Negro Digest initially reprinted articles from other periodicals. Soon, however, the magazine began publishing original articles and essays, notably in October 1943, when First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt wrote an article especially for Negro Digest That issue doubled the magazine ...

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Todd Steven Burroughs

A privately owned firm based in Chicago, Illinois, the Johnson Publishing Company was created, built, and run by John H. Johnson (1918–2005) and for much of the twentieth century was consistently listed as one of the top black-owned businesses in America. The success of Johnson's publishing empire was thanks in large part to the weekly Jet magazine and its big-brother monthly publication, Ebony, the two most popular black magazines in America. With Ebony (founded in 1945) and Jet (founded in 1951), Johnson created the black-oriented print advertising market and proved that commercial black magazines could be successful. By the early twenty-first century the company reported twenty-seven hundred full-time and part-time contracted employees, consultants, and associated employees in eleven nations on two continents.

The first office of Johnson Publishing Company was a corner of the second floor office of the black owned Supreme Liberty Life Insurance ...

Article

Adam W. Green

fashion show producer and publisher, was one of four children born to Nathaniel D. Walker, a physician, and Ethel (McAlpine) Walker, a high school principal and university educator in Selma, Alabama. Along with helping her husband, John Johnson (1918–2005) build the Johnson Publishing Company, Walker also ran the Ebony Fashion Fair, a highly prominent African‐American fashion show.

The importance of education was ingrained in the young Eunice: her father paid his way through Talladega College and medical school at Shaw University; her maternal grandfather, William H. McAlpine, a close friend of Booker T. Washington, founded and served as the second president of Selma University; and her two brothers would become physicians, and her sister a professor.

Johnson attended Talladega College, where she received her bachelor's degree in social work in 1938 with a minor in art She moved north to Chicago ...