The Chicago Star

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Title: The Chicago Star
City: Chicago, Ill.
County: Cook
Available online: 6 July 1946 - 4 September 1948 (114 issues)

The Chicago Star [LCCN sn 87062321] was a progressive newspaper that ran from 1946-48 and was succeeded by the Illinois Standard [LCCN sn 82015060], which only lasted until 1949 when it folded into the National Guardian [LCCN sn 52036925]. The Star was launched on July 4th (actually the July 6th issue) with the goal of uniting the "plain people" of the nation across demographics: "from liberals to Communists; of all religions; of Negroes and whites; and of all minority groups." The board included union founder Ernest De Maio, Communist Party USA member William Sennet, former Daily Worker [LCCN sn 84020097] reporter Carl Hirsch, and Frank Marshall Davis; journalist for the Chicago Whip [LCCN sn 86056950], activist, and poet of the Black Chicago Renaissance. Both the Star and the Standard featured a wide variety of guests and columnists from the left side of the political spectrum. These included Spartacus author Howard Fast, adventurer and artist Rockwell Kent, radio DJ and Destination Freedom creator Richard Durham, and Pulitzer Prize-winning broadcaster Studs Terkel. The Star came under heavy scrutiny for its views and writers; the Spokane Daily Chronicle called it "a red [Communist] weekly" and the Senate Committee on Un-American Activities included in a list of Communist-backed newspapers, both of which were likely untrue. Apart from labor-focused news and opinions, the Star and Standard also offered local reports, arts reviews, and sports. They also organized various community events: charity fundraisers, balls, picnics, and rallies.

Like many progressive papers, the Star and its successors were plagued by financial problems. Each issue was sold for less than it cost to produce, and in 1948 the paper's debts caught up. A fundraising campaign was launched but attracted little money, and on the August 14 issue editor Hirsch announced they were cutting the paper to 8 pages. Less than a month later, the Star sold its assets and equipment to the Progressive Publishing Co, part of presidential candidate Henry Wallace's Progressive Party. The Illinois Standard launched its first issue on September 11, 1948. But following a failed funding drive and the Progressive Party's election defeat, the Standard lost momentum, and after a mere five months sold their subscription list. The National Guardian [LCCN sn 52036925], a Progressive Party newspaper funded by Chicago heiress Anita McCormick, bought the list in hopes of creating a Midwest edition of their publication; but it did not come to fruition.