Robert S. Abbott Biography

First African American Millionaire?

For the last few decades, there has been a growing number of African-American millionaires.

However, for most of the 20th century, only one existed – Robert S. Abbott.

He is known as one of the people who contributed to African-Americans’ rights in the USA the most and one of the first millionaires (if not the first).

Our admiration for this entrepreneur keeps growing despite his departure decades ago, and if you want to earn money or start your business, he is one of the best figures you can follow and should know about.

Thus, what about going over his life and story? Do you want to know how he not only helped but also reached his peak as one of the wealthiest people in the world? Let’s get started!

Robert S. Abbott’s History – Hard Work Falls Short

His full name is Robert Sengstacke Abbott. On November 24, 1868, he was born in St. Simons, Georgia, and performed himself as a newspaper publisher and editor.

However, Abbott had another face: he was a lawyer as well.

Now, going back to when everything started, his parents were Thomas and Flora Abbott, being his father a slave during his early years until he was able to gain his freedom.

Then, they moved at the end of the Civil War to Savannah, Georgia, where he met Robert’s mother, who was a hairdresser.

After getting married, they moved back to St. Simons Island and opened a small grocery shop with very little success. Unfortunately, not too long after Robert was born, he contracted tuberculosis and died (1869).

This left Flora to provide for her son, who returned to Savannah and met John Sengstacke, a bi-racial son of a German sea captain, a man she married and treated Robert as his own son and gave him his last name when he was only 5.

Due to John’s, his new stepfather, work ethic imparted to Robert, at the age of eight, he was already working as an errand boy. Once he was a teenager, his main job was as a printer’s devil.

Before turning 18, Robert enrolled in a college preparatory program at Savannah’s Beach Institute, known as the first school for African-Americans. However, this does not avoid all the bullying from other classmates with lighter skin.

As a result, he transferred to Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina. But he did not find himself comfortable with the environment and education in this second place either.

Therefore, he applied for Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia, in which he had to wait before starting classes.

During this time, he went back home to Savannah, worked as an apprentice in a print shop, and helped his stepfather launch a local newspaper known as the Woodville Times.

He was able to start in Hampton once turning 21 and decided to focus on the printing trade.

But one of the most remarkable times in his education was to earn a law degree from Kent College of Law in Chicago in 1898.

During his years in college and life overall, he suffered from prejudicial taunts due to his ancestors and skin color.

A Lifetime Business: The Chicago Defender

After finishing college and obtaining his degree, Robert dedicated himself to the law practice for a few years in two different places: Gary, Indiana, and Topeka, Kansas.

However, he was not lucky in his project and decided to go back to Georgia for a short time before returning to Chicago and deciding to settle in the city once more.

Here’s when the story starts to be interesting.

After being settled in Chicago, Robert S. Abbott decided in 1905 to found his own newspaper: The Chicago Defender, by investing what today is around $7.

This was a newspaper for African-Americans with the intention of “uniting and elevating an educated race” that would also offer information on jobs, housing opportunities, and other relevant issues to them.

He wanted to open doors to every African-American who needed them and bring social justice and equality to all of them.

Motivated by the injustice so far, Robert put a lot of effort into persuading blacks to join his fight and make sure they were equally treated in society.

Since he used the newspaper founded, the sale and distribution of the papers played the most significant role and let him start kneading his fortune by the time. Of course, this was not his main goal, but it came along the way.

After all, it is worth mentioning that he played a crucial role in protesting against lynching and racism, which had been very common back then.

Within one year, he managed to get in touch with more than 100 people interested in investing money in this project.

While putting and investing blood, sweat, and tears in his new business, The Chicago Defender grew from a simple newspaper to the most popular in Chicago.

Migration, rights, stories from African-Americans, job opportunities, relevant information about how these people were being treated, along with offering and encouragement to change it

These were only a few of the main topics and articles published in the newspaper.

Everything went uphill for the, to this moment, entrepreneur and advocate for justice and black men’s rights.

The Chicago Defender was his lifetime project and business (more of the first than the latter).

Robert printed, folder, distributed, and did all the work himself during the first months. Despite all the difficulties in the following years, including an attack of double pneumonia, Henrietta Lee played an essential role in this moment and his entire journey.

Without even noticing, the paper had a press run of a thousand copies. Fights and challenges followed the project, but along with them, remarkable and talented people contributed, including J. Hockley Smiley, who sadly died in 1915 before the paper could go skyrocket, and Fay Young.

Despite the early departure, Smiley played a crucial role in working over Robert’s vision, and thanks to it, it was possible to print and sell an eight-column, eight-page, and full-size paper in 1915.

The encouragement from Abbott to African-Americans to leave the South and go to the North for much better opportunities was vital for the later success.

By the time World War I was taking place, The Chicago Defender had 180,000 papers circulating, which lead him to make better decisions about offices, salaries and consider the difficulties at the time.

What is always certain is: wealth was starting to be part of his vocabulary and also status.

The Chicago Defender became his most prominent and only source of revenue in the 1920s. Unlike during the first years when advertising was not part of his paper, it made it grow during that time and new products included.

Around 1925, Abbott was already one of the first African-Americans who could call himself a millionaire.

Robert S. Abbott Net Worth, Successes, & More #2 -

Abbott’s Legacy – Where Does It Stand?

Fortunately, before Robert Abbott died on February 29, 1940, in Chicago, The Defender was still going strong, and he was lucky to leave it to his nephew, John H. Sengstacke 1939. The latter ran the paper for a decade despite the legal dispute over Abbott’s estate.

John followed his legacy and made sure his uncle’s wishes reached all the African-Americans he inspired so far.

In 2021, Real Times Inc. is the group that owns the newspaper, which in 2003 was managed by Thom Picou and Robert Sengstacke, who was John’s child.

The current statistics show The Defender to print over 15,000 copies, but its digital edition exceeds the 500,000 marks every month. It continues defending black people’s rights and bringing encouragement.

It is a newspaper that has never stopped and will never stop while people need it.

That’s the story of Robert Abbott and, or as his friends called him: “Mr. Defender” (and his legacy).

Why Knowing Robert S. Abbott Is Crucial

Despite all his difficulties, Abbott was able to find people who supported him, shared his vision, and willingly put their rice grain to make it possible.

The Chicago Defender was his only business and investment, but it sure left an impact that prevails and, along with it, made him a millionaire, with a net worth of over $3 million at the time.

Can we call him a successful entrepreneur? Absolutely.

It is one of the most outstanding examples to perseverate and make sure you are going for the right business, that you are giving your all, mainly if your idea lies in printing and this field.

Because the digital edition of The Chicago Defender is read by over half a million every month, you can bet online options are the best.

This is why, when you cross paths with a business idea, primarily virtual or online nowadays, you must evaluate it and follow Robert’s most outstanding strength: never giving up.

If you are like Abbott and want to start a newspaper for two reasons: a moral purpose and money, you will find yourself in trouble right now.

It’s not simple to get started in a world where digital and virtual are what people want, and competitors are continuously appearing.

However, the business idea is not bad, but it will need just as much work as Robert’s newspaper.

Robert S. Abbott Net Worth, Successes, & More #3 -

Now, if you are interested in bringing significant revenue that requires less effort and time, you should consider renting websites.

Yes, we meant “renting,” not selling.

It is pretty common to read and hear about people selling websites or just building them for other people while they’re paid hourly or fixed prices.

That’s more like a job, not a digital business itself.

Now, what’s the most significant difference? You will build the websites for small businesses and get paid as long as they obtain clients from them.

How is this possible? With something called leads, which is bringing people into the website to turn them into clients.

Since you are renting the site, every lead is yours despite being destined for another business.

You are the one getting all the revenues for the simple fact of bringing those leads and clients. Makes sense? Let’s make it much more straightforward.

  • You contact small businesses that need websites to find more clients.
  • When going online, you are interested in leads before clients, which you will do for those businesses by building the website.
  • You get revenue due to all the organic traffic (leads) you are obtaining with the right SEO and placing the websites at the top of Google and turning them into clients for the small businesses.
  • You can forget about the websites later on and still get revenue since it only requires little maintenance and a server to run in.

But where does the money come from in specific? The percentage the businesses have to pay for those leads and clients.

Here, we go back to renting: they are using the website you built for them constantly.

All this takes three things: a computer, Internet connection, and a few hundred (at most).

If we have to compare this business with Abbott’s one, we won’t point out the virtual aspect but rather how much easier it is to become successful. You don’t have to go through several hardships.

How to Get Started

You are missing one thing: knowledge.

Renting websites is a road that, despite being easier, still requires some time and knowledge to make sure you are doing things right.

Just think about it, do you even know how to build a website? And if you maybe do, do you have an idea of how to bring leads?

Besides, despite the website and leads being the keywords for the business, it does not mean they are the only ones.

Therefore, take your time to take a course that can get you started in what a computer even is (exaggerating a bit).

There’s a training we highly recommend.

It goes through the entire journey with you and guarantees that you get ready to hit those websites and small businesses in no time.

Believe us, making money was never this simple, and it may sound too good to be true, but this won’t be another scam from the millions you can find.

And even if you are not interested in making it your first income source, you will NEED IT 100%.

When starting any other business, you also need clients, and since everything is online (and we mean it with “everything”), a website and leads will be just another part of your success.

Thus, be it for a new opportunity to make money, boost your own business, or maybe both, you can choose to take the #1 training for renting websites.

Got excited? Need more info? We’ve got you.

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Written by Dame Cash

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