12019-03-12T23:57:20+00:00Stanford University Pressaf84c3e11fe030c51c61bbd190fa82a3a1a1282411Chicago Defender - January 21, 1911plainpublished2019-03-12T23:57:20+00:00Production Editor7a3dce28be212b1ba5b4a7a50f3d6a8d76b58c74
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12019-03-12T23:56:31+00:00January 21, 19113plainpublished2019-10-09T17:36:08+00:00On January 21, 1911, the Chicago Defender offered readers an enticing offer. For $1.75 ($46 in 2016) readers could receive a one-year subscription to the Defender and a copy of a 430-page book, The Life and Work of Paul Laurence Dunbar (click to view PDF). The Defender was founded in 1905, and by 1911 it was the nation’s largest black newspaper in terms of circulation. The postscript in the advertisement points to the Defender’s aggressive marketing tactics: “A few live solicitors wanted, big money for hustlers, apply at 3159 State St. Fine Present for X-Mas. A nice chance for high school and 8th grade boys and girls to make their X-Mas money as agents for this book and paper.” On the network of “standing dealers,” newsboys, and Pullman porters who helped the Defender reach readers across the country, see this visualization and essay from the Black Press Research Collection. Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872–1906) became one of the first African-American poets to receive national attention, and his work was published and reviewed in several African-American newspapers as well at the New York Times and Harper’s Weekly. This advertisement, and the use of poetry to market a newspaper, highlights the cross-pollination of African-American cultural productions.