California Eagle
California Eagle 1916-04-08.jpg
Front page from 1916
TypeWeekly newspaper
Founder(s)John J. Neimore
Founded1879 (1879)
Ceased publicationJanuary 7, 1964
CityLos Angeles, California
CountryUnited States
OCLC number9188894
Free online

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.[1]

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.[2]


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

Neimore, a staunch Republican founded the newspaper as The Owl in 1879. [1] After Neimore's death in 1912, Charlotta Bass bought the paper and renamed it California Eagle.[3] 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.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8] 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:


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

The offices were located at 4071-4075 South Central Avenue.[9]

Notable people

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


  1. ^ a b "John J. Neimore, founder and editor of the California Eagle, circa 1901/1910, Los Angeles". USC Digital Archive.
  2. ^ Hoffman, Claire Giannini (April 2007). California, Past, Present, Future. California Almanac Co., Original from the University of California.
  3. ^ "The California Eagle". PBS. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  4. ^ Charlotta Bass: Her Story Archived 2010-11-28 at the Wayback Machine, Charlotta Bass and the California Eagle, Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, accessed 13 March 2011
  5. ^ Sides, Josh (2003). L.A. City Limits: African American Los Angeles from the Great Depression to the Present. p. 20.
  6. ^ Watts, Jill (2005). Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood. New York, NY: HarperCollins. p. 328. ISBN 0-06-051490-6.
  7. ^ "California Eagle History: Charlotta Bass and the California Eagle". Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research. Archived from the original on March 10, 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
  8. ^ "California Eagle Photograph Collection". Archived from the original on August 19, 2009.
  9. ^ Laura Pulido; Laura Barraclough; Wendy Cheng (24 March 2012). A People's Guide to Los Angeles. University of California Press. p. 184. ISBN 978-0-520-95334-5. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
  10. ^ David T. Beito and Linda Royster Beito, Black Maverick: T.R.M. Howard's Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009), pp. 25-38.
  11. ^ Moutoussamy-Ashe, Jeanne (1993). Viewfinders: Black women photographers. Writers & Readers Publ. p. 86–87. ISBN 0863161588. OCLC 248680578.

Further reading