The Legacy of John H.H. Sengstacke: How He Influenced Black America


John Sengstacke was a newspaper publisher who once owned the largest chain of Black publications in the country. The Savannah, Ga. native was born November 25, 1912.

Sengstacke was groomed for the newspaper business, working as a boy alongside his father, Alexander, for “The Woodville Times,” and his uncle, Robert Sengstacke Abbott, founder of “The Chicago Defender.”

Abbott financed his nephew’s college education at his alma mater, Hampton Institute, now known as Hampton University. Sengstacke worked as his uncle’s assistant, then moved to became the VP and general manager of Abbott’s publishing company. When Abbott passed in 1940, Sengstacke inherited the “Defender” and became its president and editor, serving in the