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The Chicago Illinois idea. : (Chicago, Ill.) 19??-19??
Place of publication:
Chicago, Ill.
Geographic coverage:
  • Chicago, Cook County, Illinois  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
[publisher not identified]
Dates of publication:
  • English
  • African American newspapers--fast--(OCoLC)fst00799278
  • African American newspapers--Illinois--Chicago.
  • 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.
  • Description based on: Vol. 13, no. 24 (Oct. 28, 1916).
  • Latest issue consulted: Vol. 13, no. 24 (Oct. 28, 1916).
  • Preservation microfilmed in cooperation with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library as part of the United States Newspaper Program; the year 1916 (on 1 microfilm reel) is available for purchase from OCLC Preservation Service Centers.
sn 90053126
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The Chicago Illinois idea. October 28, 1916 , Image 1


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The Chicago Illinois Idea

The Chicago Illinois Idea was a weekly paper believed to have run from 1903 to 1922. Its founding editor and publisher Sheadrick Bond Turner (1869-1927) was an attorney and active member of the Illinois Republican Party. Elected to multiple terms with the Illinois House of Representatives, Turner was a founding member of the Colored Press Association of Chicago (also known as the Press Bureau of Chicago), established in 1912.

Turner was born July 12, 1869 in West Feliciana, Louisiana. According to Irvine Garland Penn, in his book The Afro-American Press and Its Editors, before entering publishing and politics, Turner worked various jobs, including as an apprentice in a confectionary shop and as a baker. In Chicago, while attending business college, Turner managed a wood and coal yard and worked in the office of Secretary of State Henry Dodge Dement. Prior to his time in Chicago, Turner lived in Springfield, Illinois from 1885 to around 1890, where he founded his first newspaper, the Republican Springfield The State Capital(1886-1915), which circulated widely through central, southern, and western Illinois.

The October 28, 1916 issue of the Illinois Idea is the only surviving issue on record. As discussed by scholar Ralph Nelson Davis, Turner actively used the paper to further his own political interests and those of the Republican party in the Black community. Described as rival to the Democratic The Broad-Ax(1895-1935), the paper's Republican leanings are apparent in the 1916 issue given the prevalence of advertisements for Republican political candidates, the inclusion of "Campaign Notes from Republican National Headquarters," as well as several articles dedicated to critical social commentary on the actions of current U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and their representation of the Democratic party. Besides political coverage, the Illinois Idea published other contents of interest to its audience, including news of local social and cultural events, churches, deaths, illness, and travel; "race problem news"; and national and international news.

Turner is said to have adopted Booker T. Washington's ideology of self-help. Irvine Garland Penn quotes Turner as follows: "[w]hen the negro in America begins business for himself, and accumulates wealth and intelligence, the race problem then will be solved. Business must be first and politics last." In an interview, a partner of Turner suggested that Turner's political affiliation allowed him to obtain high-priced advertisements from white political associates in exchange for political favors he did for them. The associate also reports that subscription holders included white politicians, and that newsstands and churches were important centers of distribution.

Turner's active involvement in politics left little time for editorial work, and he depended on his wife to do much of it. The 1916 issue of the Illinois Idea lists Mrs. S.B. Turner as the paper's editor and publisher.

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