THE CHICAGO DEFENDER ARCHIVE PROJECT
The traditional approach to preserving records has been to simply store records and image to prevent decay. We are doing more than just storing records for the future, we are digitizing the photographs for public access AND provide meaningful documentation for accurate valuation of the photographs. Our goal is to not only support African-American businesses and organizations preserve records for posterity but add additional revenue streams to their bottom line.
The Chicago Defender, founded by Robert S. Abbott on May 5, 1905, once heralded itself as "The World's Greatest Weekly." The newspaper was the nation's most influential black weekly newspaper by the advent of World War I, with more than two thirds of its readership base located outside of Chicago.
While the Chicago Defender is still in publication, the newspaper has not been recorded on microfilm since 2012. The majority of photographs owned by the newspaper have not been digitized or captured on microfilm at all! There are the photographs taken throughout the history of the newspaper. Historically, photographers would turn in many images only to have a small portion of them printed. These outtakes are very important parts of African-American history. Their preservation is essential to serve as positive and purposeful references for decades to come.
The Preliminary Grants were provided by:
PRESERVING HISTORICAL JOURNALISM IN URBAN COMMUNITIES
To recognize this most important preservation project along with the 110th Anniversary of The Chicago Defender and the 100th Anniversary of The Great Migration, we had a celebration at The Gallery Guichard on September 27, 2016. Because all of this effort ties to community engagement, we also announced "The New Mayor of Bronzeville", Andre Guichard. This is a tradition of The Chicago Defender created the same year as The Bud Billiken Parade!