Back in 1977 when Jimmie Wright started working at
the Chicago Defender, reporters gathered their news
from the street and not the Internet, she said, and there
was always something new going on in the office.
But today, 31 years later, things have ch
Back in 1977 when Jimmie Wright started working at the Chicago Defender, reporters gathered their news from the street and not the Internet, she said, and there was always something new going on in the office.
But today, 31 years later, things have changed for the newspaper industry, and Wright, 83, a cashier for the Defender, will retire Thursday.
“There was a lot of pride at the Defender back when I first started here. We were like a family,” Wright recalls. “Even the publisher John Sengstacke was like family. He would often come to the cafeteria and ask the employees what they were eating and if he could have some.”
Her fondest memories at the Chicago Defender date back to the 1980s when she would have her “girl talk” with the receptionist every day.
“We would talk about everything from marriage to the latest news in Chicago,” she said.
Wright started working at the Chicago Defender after establishing a friendship with Sengstacke’s wife who had worked with Wright at a now-defunct Chicago catalog company.
A widow and mother of one daughter, Wright was born and raised in New Orleans where she attended high school and college. She moved to Chicago with her mother after her father died of pneumonia while Wright was in high school. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Dillard University, a historically Black college.
Her husband, a former Chicago police officer, died of cancer after 59 years of marriage. Wright’s biggest regret in life is that she did not have any grandchildren to spoil.
“I used to cry when I saw my friends with their grandkids because I didn’t have any. My daughter never married, and now she is over age 50, so the chances of me having grandkids is slim to none,” she said.
Even though she will not be working daily at the Chicago Defender anymore, Wright plans to do volunteer work to stay busy. Summing up her life and her career at the Chicago Defender, Wright said, “It’s been a wonderful experience, and I don’t regret any of it. I would do it all over again.”
The Chicago Defender will truly miss Ms. Wright and her warm spirit. The entire staff extends a special thank you to her for more than three decades of dedication to this newspaper.
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