August 11, 1929:  Founding of Bud Billiken

The  Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic, which still takes place annually in Chicago, was started  by Bahá’ís Robert Abbott and David Kellum in conjunction with the Chicago Defender.

Early photo from Bud Billiken

Early Photo from the Bud Billiken Parade

Robert Sengstacke Abbott was the founder of the Chicago Defender. By the start of World War I, the Chicago Defender was the most influential Black weekly newspaper in the United States.  Along with being a member of the Chicago Bahá’í community, Abbot was also a member of the Chicago Commission on Race Relations, a committee formed to conduct an inquiry into the 1919 Chicago Race Riots.


Robert Abbott, Image Courtesy of the Chicago Defender

David Kellum was a long-time member of the Chicago Bahá’í community, an editor at the Chicago Defender, and a civil rights leader dedicated to inspiring young people and improving relations between the races.


The Bud Billiken parade is held on the second Saturday in August and has attracted more than 50 million children and their families throughout the United States for a day of community gathering and a celebration of African-American culture in Chicago.

2007 parade grand marshal senator barack obama and wife michelle

The Obama's at the Bud Billiken Parade, 2007


Leave a comment

Filed under Chicago Bahá'í History, The Chicago Defender

Comments are closed.