The Library has an extensive collection of photos that were published in the
California Eagle, as well as much of the California Eagle
itself on microfilm. The photos primarily illustrate political and social life
in Los Angeles' African American community.
See a selection of photos from the Eagle...
The Library and USC worked together on a project to digitize approximately 500 photos
drawn from the personal papers of Charlotta Bass and from the California Eagle
and make them available via the web. To access these photos, go to
the USC Digital
Archives page; from there, you can search or browse.
A brief history of the Eagle follows.
Brief History of the Eagle
The California Eagle, one of the oldest African American newspapers in
the West, traces its origins to 1879, when John J. Neimore, a Texan, started
the paper. It was first known as The Owl, later to become the Eagle.
Charlotta Bass changed the name to California Eagle in 1913.
When John Neimore died in 1912, Captain G.W. Hawkins, a second-hand store dealer,
bought the paper and turned it over to Bass to own and operate. Bass
continued in the crusading tradition of the Eagle in fighting for equality
and against racial bigotry. Charlotta Bass was running the paper alone until
Joseph Blackburn Bass, a founder of the Topeka Plaindealer, moved to
Los Angeles in 1913. He and Charlotta Bass married the following year. They
ran the paper together.
After his death, Bass continued to run the paper alone. Money problems plagued
the California Eagle, but Bass continued to publish the paper despite
competition from the Los Angeles Sentinel (established 1933) and the
Los Angeles Tribune (established 1940). Unquestionably, the
Eagle was one of the largest black newspapers on the West Coast into the
thirties and continued to be influential for most of its existence.
During the McCarthy era, Bass was accused of being a Communist, and was
forced to defend herself repeatedly. The accusations took a toll on her ability
to sell newspapers. In 1951, she decided to sell the paper to Loren
Miller, the former city editor of the California Eagle. Miller continued
in the same tradition of putting out an activist paper as Bass and Neimore.
Miller's appointment to the bench as municipal court judge in 1964 led to the
acquisition of his majority stock by a group of 14 people.The paper rapidly
deteriorated and on January 7, 1965, the California Eagle ceased publication
after its beginning 85 years before.
See a selection of articles from the Eagle...
You may also be interested in information about the Library's
Charlotta Bass Collection
Other related materials