Abbott Monument

Monument erected by Robert S. Abbott
Newspaper publisher and equal rights advocate, Robert Abbott, erected the monument for his family.

NPS Photo

Quick Facts

Accessible Sites, Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Wheelchair Accessible

Robert Sengstacke Abbott was born on St. Simons Island in 1868. As the son of former slaves, the advocacy of rights became his life's work. Trained as a printer and lawyer, he turned to journalism to confront the prejudices of the day and founded The Chicago Defender in 1905. This would become the largest Black-owned daily newspaper in the world and the first to circulate over 100,000 copies. The Defender denounced atrocities that affected Black Americans, was outlawed in many southern communities, and had to be smuggled to reach its audience. By praising life in the north, listing jobs, train schedules, and housing opportunities, the newspaper gave the hope and inspirations that launched the Great Migration. Eventually over one million rural black southerners would move north.

In 1929, Robert Abbott placed a monument on St. Simons Island, at what is now Fort Frederica National Monument, in memory of his aunt and father. At a time when Black history was largely ignored, the monument ensured that his family was not forgotten.

Fort Frederica National Monument

Last updated: May 21, 2022