When The California Eagle shut down its presses in 1964, it was one of the oldest black-owned and operated papers in the United States. John James Neimore had established it in Los Angeles as The California Owl in 1879, to ease black settlers' transition to the West. The paper provided them with housing and job information, and other information essential to surviving in a new environment. The paper evolved into one of the leading papers of the day while under the control of Charlotta A. Bass (nee Spears) and her husband, John Bass. Charlotta Bass assumed control of The Owl following the death of Neimore in 1912, and renamed it The California Eagle.
In 1951, Charlotta Bass sold the paper to Loren Miller, an attorney and former Eagle reporter, and in an issue dated April 26, announced her resignation in her personal column, "On The Sidewalk."
Bass devoted her remaining years to politics. In 1952 she became the first black woman to run for national office as the Progressive Party's Vice Presidential candidate.
In the ensuing years under Loren Miller's stewardship, The Eagle continued to press for the complete integration of African Americans in every sector of society, and to protest all forms of Jim Crow. Among Miller's primary civil rights concerns were housing discrimination, police brutality, and discriminatory hiring practices in the police and fire departments.
In 1964, Miller sold the paper to 14 local investors in order to accept a judgeship, and under the new ownership the paper deteriorated rapidly. The Eagle presses were forced to shut down on July 7, 1964.
Four years later on April 12, 1969, Charlotta Bass died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 95, but not before, as she remarked in her biography Forty Years: Memoirs From the Pages of A Newspaper, "noting the triumphant emergence of the Negro as a top contender for honors in all fields."
Bass, Charlotta. Forty Years: Memoirs from the Pages of A Newspaper: 1960. (Self-published Manuscript Available at Southern California Research Library and through interlibrary loan.)
Gill, Gerald R. "Win or Lose-We Win: "The 1952 Vice Presidential Campaign of Charlotta A. Bass." in The Afro-American Woman: Struggles and Images. Hartley, Sharon and Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, eds. Baltimore, MD: Black Classic Press, 1997, 1978.
Hardy, Gayle J. American Women Civil Rights Activists: Biobibliographies of 68 Leaders, 1825-1992. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1993.
Jeter, James Phillip, Ph.D. Rough Flying: The California Eagle - (1879-1965) (AJHA Convention Paper)
Streitmatter, Rodger. Raising Her Voice: African American Women Journalists Who Changed History. Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky, 1994.
Charlotta A. Bass Papers and Manuscript Collection located at Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, Los Angeles, CA. Comprised of six boxes of Bass' personal correspondence, campaign literature, book manuscript, and speeches.
40 newspaper and magazine articles located in "Charlotta Bass" clipping file, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York. NY.
Seven articles in "Charlotta Bass" vertical file held at Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University, Washington, DC.
Microfilm available at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library.