Illinois History Minutes

May 5 Illinois History Minute


It’s May fifth … a good day in 1893, to visit the Chicago Columbian Exposition, still in its first week of operation. The world’s fair proclaimed Chicago’s recovery from the great fire of two decades earlier. Its temporary but ornate buildings became known as the “White City”. One of those buildings, completely rebuilt, is now home to the Museum of Science and Industry.

The Chicago Defender was launched on this day in 1905. Its founder, Donald Sengstacke (seng-stack) Abbott, grew the Defender into one of America’s most powerful Black-owned newspapers. He used it to attack Jim Crow violence, and to urge African-Americans in the south to migrate north. Abbott’s nephew, John Sengstacke, turned the Defender into a daily paper in the 1950s. Today, it appears exclusively online.