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ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Chicago Defender (1910-1975)

Last Updated: Dec 18, 2023 10:16 AM

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The Defender is one of the most important African-American newspapers.  The Defender is famous for its encouragement of African Americans to move from the rural South to the urban North, especially Chicago, in the early 20th century.  During many of the years of publication,  it has been far more than a regional paper.  The Defender is noted for its fearless reporting of lynching as well as other crimes and injustices.  It has long covered the arts as well as politics and in its earlier years it promoted the careers of Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks.

Contents may be browsed by complete issues (that is, article-by-article), searched by article types and keywords, and printed or downloaded in PDF format. The Defender can also be cross-searched with our ProQuest New York Times resource as well as Ethnic NewsWatch and GenderWatch. Citations can be exported to EndNote.

To be a power searcher, review search help accessible by clicking the Help link on the upper right of the search screen. The web site of the current Defender and a searchable archive (copies of articles are not free but as an abstract some lines from the article are) are accessible at:

Selecting Publications will retrieve a list of Defender editions included in the resource. For a graphic display of when articles on the searched topic appeared, look to the right for a bar chart. Click on the bar for a specific period to retrieve associated articles. To view an article on the page in which it appears (that is, to see the page as it was published) select Page view-PDF or Page view (clickable) from the options under the title of a retrieved article. The paper is readable using the first option. Using the latter option, you will be able to "mouse" across the page, identifying blocks of text (articles) on which you can click to retrieve a magnified version of the piece.

For background on the paper, consult its Wikipedia entry, articles in the encyclopedias that comprise the Gale Virtual Reference Library (specifically the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, the Encyclopedia of African-American History, and the Encyclopedia of African-American Writing).

Dates Covered


Print Counterpart

35mm microfilm of the Defender is held for the years 1909-1920, 1921-1966, 1973-1996. Call Number: Libraries Annex AN161.C45.

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