Rahul Sharma (Editor)

Chicago Bee

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weekly newspaper


Ceased publication

Anthony Overton


Broadsheet, later Tabloid

The Chicago Bee or Chicago Sunday Bee was a Chicago-based weekly newspaper founded by Anthony Overton, an African American, for primarily African-American readers. The paper was committed to covering "wholesome and authentic news", and adopted a middle-class, conservative tone. Politically, it was aligned with the Republican Party.

After sharing quarters with the Hygienic Company in the 1920s, the Bee moved into the new Chicago Bee Building , an Art Deco structure built between 1929 and 1931. However, after Overton's bank failed in the 1930s, the two businesses shared quarters once again, as the Hygienic Company moved into the Bee building.

Chandler Owen became editor of the Bee after moving to Chicago. The Bee initially supported the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, which Owen supported, but later joined other publications including the Chicago Defender in opposing the union.

Subsequent editors of the paper included Ida B. Wells and Olive Diggs. The Bee's editorial staff was mostly female, and the newspaper covered the black women's club movement extensively. It distinguished itself from other newspapers in the Chicago black press in its promotion of black history and literature.

The Bee sponsored the original "Mayor of Bronzeville" contest which led to the use of the term "Bronzeville" for the neighborhood. The concept was originally suggested by theater editor James Gentry, who coined the term and had been sponsoring a beauty contest in the neighborhood since 1916. When Gentry left the paper in 1932, he took his concept with him to the Chicago Defender, which continued the contests.

The paper's founder and owner Anthony Overton was a wealthy industrialist, owning a number of concerns including the Overton Hygienic Company, a successful cosmetics firm. He had also made a previous venture in publishing, in the form of the Half Century Magazine. After Overton's death in 1946, the Bee was briefly continued by his sons in a tabloid format, but was unsuccessful. It folded in 1947.

Very little of the Bee survives today, apart from the building it occupied. One historian was unable to find a single intact issue from the years 1925 to 1935.

Works cited

  • Bates, Beth Tompkins (2001). Pullman Porters and the Rise of Protest Politics in Black America, 1925-1945. ISBN 0807875368. 
  • Capozolla, Christopher (2004). "Owen, Chandler". Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance: K-Y. ISBN 1579584586. 
  • Grant, Carl A.; Grant, Shelby J. (2013). The Moment: Barack Obama, Jeremiah Wright, and the Firestorm at Trinity United Church of Christ. ISBN 1442219971. 
  • Ingham, John N.; Feldman, Lynne B. (1994). "Overton, Anthony". African-American Business Leaders: A Biographical Dictionary. ISBN 0313272530. 
  • Knupfer, Anne Meis (2006). The Chicago Black Renaissance and Women's Activism. ISBN 0252072936. 
  • Mahoney, Olivia (2001). Douglas/Grand Boulevard: A Chicago Neighborhood. ISBN 0738518557. 
  • Reed, Christopher Robert (2011). The Rise of Chicago's Black Metropolis, 1920-1929. ISBN 0252093178. 
  • Savage, Beth L. (1994). African American Historic Places. ISBN 0471143456. 
  • Schlabach, Elizabeth (2013). Along the Streets of Bronzeville: Black Chicago's Literary Landscape. 
  • Trodd, Zoe (2011). "The Black Press and the Black Chicago Renaissance". In Tracy, Steven C. Writers of the Black Chicago Renaissance. ISBN 0252093429. 
  • West, Sandra L. (2003). "Chicago". Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance. ISBN 1438130171. 
  • References

    Chicago Bee Wikipedia

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