It's not clear whether John Sengstacke, founder of The Chicago Daily Defender, was born with ink in his blood, as they say in the trades, but publishing was definitely part of his destiny.
Born on Nov. 25, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia, Sengstacke exhibited something special that led an uncle, Robert S. Abbott, to finance his education at Hampton Institute and also help pay for his studies at Mergenthaler Linotype School, the Chicago School of Printing, Northwestern University and Ohio State University.
Abbott, publisher of The Chicago Defender, probably wanted an heir to his own small empire, the Robert S. Abbott Publishing Company, which Sengstacke took over in 1940 after his uncle's death.
That same year, he founded in 1940 the National Newspaper Publishers Association, a coalition of Black-owned newspapers that still exists today. He founded The Chicago Daily Defender in 1956. He also owned weekly newspapers in Detroit, Pittsburgh and Memphis.
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(Photo: Courtesy of the New Pittsburgh Courier)
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