Robert S. Abbott – Quick Bio
When it comes to the newsprint and media world, business leader Robert S. Abbott is very well known.
He is the man behind the success of the country’s most influential black weekly newspapers in the 1900s – the Chicago Defender.
Abbott was opposed to any form of racism. With his indomitable spirit and entrepreneurial skills, Abbott was able to catapult the Chicago Defender to national prominence.
Business Leader Robert S. Abbott – His Story
Robert Abbott was not exactly an overnight success – far from it actually. Abbott had to battle racial discrimination, which made it impossible for him to work as a lawyer or printer; this caused him to turn his sights on journalism.
Abbott was born to parents who were former slaves. From his humble beginnings, he persevered, mastering the printing trade at Virginia’s Hampton Institute. For his law degree, he moved to Chicago in 1897 and worked odd jobs until he graduated from the Kent College of Law.
In May 1905, Abbott showed up on Chicago’s streets selling copies of his Chicago Defender, promoting it as the only weekly in the city worth a cheap two cents. With only the kitchen table of his landlord as a desk, he set out to make his publication dream a reality. Abbott served as the newspaper’s editor, business manager, publisher, sales force, and reporting staff.