Encounters with 'Abdu'l-Bahá

Robert S. Abbott

In 1905, Robert S. Abbott founded The Chicago Defender, which became the most widely circulated black newspaper in the country, came to be known as “America’s Black Newspaper” and made Abbott one of the first self-made millionaires of African-American descent.

Abbott met ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in 1912 covering a talk of his during his stay in Chicago during his journeys in the West and was listed as a frequenter of Bahá’í events in Chicago with his wife in 1924. The Defender published several articles about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s visit (see links below).

After inventing the fictional character “Bud Billiken” with David Kellum, Abbott established the Bud Billiken Club and in 1929 Abbott and Kellum founded the Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic.

After searching through several religious communities for an atmosphere free of race prejudice, even among “light skinned” African-Americans, Abbott officially joined the Bahá’í Faith in 1934 because of its freedom from such prejudice at the convention to elect its National Spiritual Assembly.

Speakers Encourage and Tell of Advance

Fourth Annual Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of This Week, the Most Significant and Important Gathering for Race Welfare Since the Days of the Abolition — Distinguished Men and Women, Representing Many Nationalities, Take Part — Noted Russian and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Persian Philosopher, Prominent on Program.

Echoes Of The N. A. A. C.'s Fourth Annual Conference

Chicago, IL

By Mildred Miller

No greater meeting has ever been held in the later history of this country. From the brilliant opening at Sinai temple Sunday evening through to the closing Tuesday night in Handel hall, every session was marked with an intense earnestness of purpose, and the addresses were of an unusually high order and teaming with information and human interest.

Abdul Baha Abbas Coming. By Lewis G. Gregory.

Chicago, IL

Famous leader of the Bahá’í movement En Route to America — Plans Tour of the Country — Movement Attracts Attention.

By Lewis G. Gregory.

To Break The Color Line

Abdu’l-Bahá, the Great Persian Philosopher and Teacher, Aims to Unite the Peoples of All Races and Creeds in One Great Bond of Brotherhood.

Washington, D. C., May 3. — ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (the servant of God), the great Persian philosopher and teacher, head of the Bahá’ís, will reach Chicago next Monday. He comes to bring hope to the colored people.