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Download The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America; From the Age of the Pullman Porters to the Age of Obama Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America; From the Age of the Pullman Porters to the Age of Obama Audiobook, by Ethan  Michaeli Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ethan Michaeli Narrator: William Hughes Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2016 ISBN: 9781504729970
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Giving voice to the voiceless, the Chicago Defender condemned Jim Crow, catalyzed the Great Migration, and focused the electoral power of black America. Robert S. Abbott founded the Defender in 1905, smuggled hundreds of thousands of copies into the most isolated communities in the segregated South, and was dubbed a “Modern Moses,” becoming one of the first black millionaires in the process. His successor wielded the newspaper’s clout to elect mayors and presidents, including Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy, who would have lost in 1960 if not for the Defender’s support. Along the way, its pages were filled with columns by legends like Ida B. Wells, Langston Hughes, and Martin Luther King Jr.

Drawing on dozens of interviews and extensive archival research, Ethan Michaeli constructs a revelatory narrative of race in America from the age of Teddy Roosevelt to the age of Barack Obama and brings to life the reporters who braved lynch mobs and policemen’s clubs to do their jobs.

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Quotes & Awards

  • The Defender is a rich, majestic, sweeping history, both of a newspaper and of a people.”

    Alex Kotlowitz, New York Times bestselling author

  • “An extraordinary history…Deeply researched, elegantly written…A towering achievement that will not be soon forgotten.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Ethan Michaeli has recreated the Defender’s remarkable history—and reminded us of the power of the press at its courageous best.”

    Kevin Boyle, National Book Award–winning author

  • “The story of the Chicago Defender is one of the great untold stories of black America—if not the great story.”

    Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC’s All in with Chris Hayes

  • “Hughes brings a keen awareness of the importance of this monumental audiobook. His clear and modulated performance works well for this account of the glory days of The Defender, giving listeners a sense of how this preeminent African American newspaper achieved its fame…a remarkable audiobook.”


  • “This prodigiously researched work is a testament to the courage of Defender writers through the century, a chronicle of the influence of an important institution—and a sweeping history of black America.”

    National Book Review

  • “For more than a century, the South Side of Chicago has been a hub of African American history, and throughout the years, that saga has been told through the pages of the Chicago Defender newspaper. In this compelling book, Ethan Michaeli shares the story of the Defender and the essential role it has played in Chicago’s black community and beyond.”

    David Axelrod, author of Believer: My Forty Years in Politics

  • “This is a major work of American history—the compelling and richly-researched story of the legendary newspaper and the astonishing collection of history-makers whose lives are forever intertwined.”

    Jonathan Alter, author of The Center Holds

  • “Just as the Defender has broken important journalistic ground time and again in its’ storied history, author Ethan Michaeli is an original and intrepid force in Chicago media, having devoted his life to elevating and celebrating the silenced voices of Chicago’s public housing projects. Michaeli on the Defender is an unbeatable combination.”

    Dave Isay, founder of StoryCorps, author of Listening Is an Act of Love

  • Shortlisted for the 2016 Chicago Review of Books Award
  • A 2016 Amazon Best Books of the Year So Far Selection for History
  • A 2016 New York Times Book Review Notable Book
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About the Author

Ethan Michaeli is an award-winning author, publisher, and journalist based in Chicago. He was a copyeditor and investigative reporter at the Defender from 1991 to 1996.

About the Narrator

William Hughes is a professor of political science at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon. He received his doctorate in American politics from the University of California, Davis. He has done voice-over work for radio and film and is also an accomplished jazz guitarist.