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Sunday Chicago bee. [volume] : (Chicago, Ill.) 1925-19??
Alternative Titles:
  • Chicago bee
  • Sunday, the Chicago bee
Place of publication:
Chicago, Ill.
Geographic coverage:
  • Chicago, Cook County, Illinois  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Bee Pub. Co.
Dates of publication:
  • "Founded Oct. 2, 1925."
  • English
  • African American newspapers--fast--(OCoLC)fst00799278
  • African American newspapers--Illinois--Chicago--Newspapers.
  • African Americans--Illinois--Chicago--Newspapers.
  • African Americans.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00799558
  • Chicago (Ill.)--Newspapers.
  • Illinois--Chicago.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204048
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Available on microfilm from Library of Congress, Photoduplication Service and Center for Research Libraries.
  • Description based on: Vol. 29, no. 18 (May 1, 1938).
  • Latest issue consulted: Vol. 38, no. 33 (Aug. 17, 1947) (surrogate).
  • Preservation microfilmed in cooperation with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library as part of the United States Newspaper Program; the years 1938-1946 (on 1 microfilm reel) are available for purchase from OCLC Preservation Service Centers.
sn 82015409
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Sunday Chicago bee. [volume] May 1, 1938 , Image 1


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The Chicago Bee

The Chicago Bee or the Sunday Chicago Bee was a weekly paper that ran from 1925 until about 1947 and was founded by African American business magnate Anthony Overton. Overton graduated from law school in Topeka, Kansas and was a judge there in the late 1880s. While beginning in law, Overton later established several businesses, including the very successful Black cosmetic company, the Overton Hygienic Manufacturing Company. The company was founded in 1898 in Kansas City, Missouri, but was moved to Chicago in 1911. Overton, continuing to expand his business ventures in Chicago, also founded the Douglas Bank and the Victory Mutual Life Insurance Company.

Overton, often treated as representative of the entrepreneurial spirit that drove the development of Chicago's South Side in the early 20th century, was awarded the 1927 Harmon Award by the Harmon Foundation and the 1929 Spingarn Medal by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The Bee was founded to promote Overton's line of cosmetics and had a circulation of 50,000 at its height. Prior to starting the Bee, Overton began the monthly, Half Century Magazine in 1915.

Juliet Walker, in an essay on the Black press in Illinois from 1862 to 1970, characterizes the Bee as having catered to the interests of Black, middle-class conservatives. Accordingly, its content aimed to portray "respectability" and "refinement." Lewis H. Fenderson describes the paper's editorial aims as having included the promotion of higher education, amicable relations between races, civic development, and the promotion of Black businesses. Following the 1928 departure of Victor Gray, the paper's first editor, the Bee ran under the editorship of Olive Myrl Diggs and is said to have been staffed entirely by women for the next twenty years. Diggs held a business degree from the University of Illinois and previously worked at Overton's bank. The Bee's staff inspired many young Black women to enter the field of journalism, and the paperprovided training for many of them. While the Bee provided news for both men and women, women's activities, such as church-related events, were covered regularly by the paper.

The description of Chicago's South Side neighborhood now referred to as "Bronzeville" was first used in 1930 in the Bee when advertising its sponsorship of the "Mayor of Bronzeville" contest, later sponsored by The Chicago Defender. The nickname was coined by James J. Gentry, an editor working with Overton, as an alternative to names used in other media outlets to describe the area, like "Black Ghetto" and "Black Belt." Gentry used "Bronzeville" to reflect the area's significant concentration of Black businesses and culture.

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