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California Eagle
California Eagle 1916-04-08.jpg
Front page from 1916
Type Weekly newspaper
Founder(s) John J. Neimore
Founded 1879 (1879)
Ceased publication January 7, 1964
City Los Angeles, California
Country United States
OCLC number 9188894

The California Eagle (1879–1964) was an African-American newspaper in Los Angeles, California. It was founded as The Owl in 1879 by John J. Neimore.

Charlotta Bass became owner of the paper after Neimore's death in 1912. She owned and operated the paper, renamed the California Eagle, until 1951. Her husband, J. B. Bass, served as editor until his death in 1934. In the 1920s, they increased circulation to 60,000. During this period, Bass was also active as a civil rights campaigner in Los Angeles, working to end segregation in jobs, housing and transportation.

The newspaper was next owned for more than a decade by Loren Miller, who had been city editor. He also worked as a civil liberties lawyer and was a leader in the community. After he sold the paper in 1964 to accept an appointment as a judge of the Superior Court of the State of California [i.e., the trial courts] for Los Angeles County, the publication quickly lost ground, and closed that year.


John J. Neimore, founder
Charlotta Bass
Charlotta Bass and Paul Robeson, Los Angeles, 1949

Neimore, a staunch Republican founded the newspaper as The Owl in 1879. After Neimore's death in 1912, Charlotta Bass bought the paper and renamed it California Eagle. During the Great Migration, the paper offered information on employment and housing opportunities as well as news stories geared towards the newly arrived migrant population. She retired in 1951. Her husband, J.B. Bass, was editor until his death in 1934.

By 1925, the newspaper had a circulation of 60,000, the largest of any African-American newspaper in California. Its publishers and editors were active in civil rights, beginning with campaigns for equitable hiring, patronage of black businesses, and an end to segregated facilities and housing.

In 1951 Bass sold the California Eagle to Loren Miller, the former city editor. Miller was a Washburn University, Kansas law graduate. After he relocated to Los Angeles in 1930, he began writing for the Eagle and eventually became city editor. In 1945, Miller represented Hattie McDaniel and won her case against the "Sugar Hill" restrictive covenant case. He was appointed in 1963 as a judge of the Superior Court [i.e., the trial courts] for Los Angeles County by Governor Edmund "Pat" Brown. In 1963, Miller sold the paper to fourteen local investors in order to accept his appointment as judge. The California Eagle initially increased circulation from 3,000 to 21,000. But within six months the paper had to close; on January 7, 1964, the California Eagle ceased publication after 85 years.


The California Eagle had the following platform:

  • hiring of Negroes as a matter of right, rather than as a concession, in those institutions where their patronage creates a demand for labor;
  • increased participation of Negroes in municipal, state, and national government;
  • the abolition of enforced segregation and all other artificial barriers to the recognition of true merit;
  • patronizing of Negroes by Negroes as a matter of principle;
  • more rapid development of those communities in which Negroes live, by cooperation between citizens and those who have business investments in such communities; and
  • enthusiastic support for a greater degree of service at the hands of all social, civic, charitable, and religious institutions


Below is a partial list of employees and contributors at The California Eagle in 1957:

  • Francis Philip Waller Jr., advertising and circulation
  • Abie Robinson, city reporting and general news
  • Roy Smith, sports reporting
  • Calme Russ, office management
  • Maggie Hathaway, society reporting and civic/church matters
  • Anthony Funches, copy boy, cleaning, circulation/distribution

The offices were located at 4071-4075 South Central Avenue.

Notable people

Several newspaper employees went on to become prominent figures in their own right.

  • Robert C. Farrell (born 1936): journalist and member of the Los Angeles City Council, 1974–91
  • Vera Jackson (1912–1999), freelance and later staff photographer.
  • Jessie Mae Beavers She was Family Section editor of the paper. Later became Family Editor of the Los Angeles Sentinel for 40 years until her death in 1989.
  • Adolphus D. Griffin (1868–1916), newspaper editor and publisher in the Pacific Northwest (Portland New Age), California (California Eagle), and Kansas (Topeka Plaindealer) who focused on African-American causes.
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