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The Robbins eagle. : (Robbins, Ill.) 1951-1963
Place of publication:
Robbins, Ill.
Geographic coverage:
  • Robbins, Cook County, Illinois  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Marion L. Smith
Dates of publication:
  • Began in Feb. 1951; ceased in 1963.
  • English
  • African American newspapers--Illinois--Robbins.
  • African American newspapers.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00799278
  • African Americans--Illinois--Robbins--Newspapers.
  • African Americans.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00799558
  • Community newspapers--Illinois--Chicago.
  • Community newspapers.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00871103
  • Dixmoor (Ill.)--Newspapers.
  • Illinois--Chicago--Morgan Park.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01320156
  • Illinois--Chicago.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204048
  • Illinois--Dixmoor.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01226523
  • Illinois--Phoenix.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01260982
  • Illinois--Robbins.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01926160
  • Morgan Park (Chicago, Ill.)--Newspapers.
  • Phoenix (Ill.)--Newspapers.
  • Robbins (Ill.)--Newspapers.
  • West Harvey (Harvey, Ill.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 2 (Mar. 3, 1951).
  • Latest issue consulted: 11th year, vol. 11, no. 23 (June 15, 1963).
  • Preservation microfilmed in cooperation with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library as part of the United States Newspaper Program; the years 1951-1963 (on 2 microfilm reels) are available for purchase from OCLC Preservation Service Centers.
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The Robbins eagle. March 3, 1951 , Image 1


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The Robbins Eagle

The Robbins Eagle was an African American weekly newspaper published in Robbins, Illinois, a village located seventeen miles southwest of the city of Chicago. The paper, established February 17, 1951, was given its title by one of its founders, Marion L. Smith, listed as editor in issues published in 1953. After 1953, Frank Blocker, who had previously worked as a linotype operator at a Chicago printing shop, is listed as editor, owner, and publisher.

The village of Robbins was founded in 1917 by Thomas J. Kellar. Beginning in 1910, real-estate agents Henry and Eugene Robbins opened several subdivisions marketed to African Americans. The area was settled mostly by working-class African Americans, many of whom "were southerners who had preferences for homeownership, open space, tightly knit community life, and country atmosphere" ("Robbins, IL," Encyclopedia of Chicago). Factory job opportunities were available in the Calumet region, and some women worked canning and packing vegetables. The Robbins Airport, which was established in 1931, was considered "a center for black aviation in the North." Between 1950 and 1970, the population of Robbins grew from 4,766 to 9,644, with 98 percent of the population being African American. The village had become a popular recreation spot; the 1949 Negro Motorist Green Book: An International Travel Guide advertised it as "one that is OWNED AND OPERATED BY NEGROES," and proclaimed that due to the "absence of prejudice and restrictions, opportunities for the Negro are unlimited." The village struggled economically in the 1950s and 1960s but was one of the few places in the greater Chicago area where African Americans with limited financial resources could afford land and home ownership.

An article in the May 15, 1954 issue of the Eagle titled "Circulation of the Robbins Eagle Climbs" described the paper's rocky start and noted that during "the first venture in publishing" the paper "lasted only a few months." The author reported that production work "was a burdensome task" because all this work, including gathering news, securing advertisers, and printing, was done outside the village. Eventually, however, the paper was able to continue, with the Eagle becoming "strictly a Robbins enterprise." It was expanded from four to twelve pages and was "compiled, composed, made-up and printed under one roof" in the village of Robbins. Staff, reporters, and newsboys were all residents of the village.

While the work of producing the paper came to be entirely local, the May 1954 article reports that the Eagle circulated in "Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama," and Chicago, as well as overseas. The article stated that, at that time, circulation was "well over the 2,000 mark." News coverage had a local focus and included church and school topics, sports, activities of local organizations, crime, police investigations, and village construction projects. The Eagle ceased publication in 1963, with Frank Blocker still listed as editor in the June 15, 1963 issue of the paper.

Provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL