The St. Louis ArgusThe. St. Louis Argus. Dr. Eugene Mitchell Owner of the St. Louis Argus. Dr. Eugene N. Mitchell, a general surgeon and was also the founder of the St. Louis Argus newspaper. Dr. Mitchell led two of the most powerful African-American institutions in St. Louis, Homer G. Phillips Hospital and the St. Louis Argus. “Gene was a very talented and gifted surgeon and the Argus was once the dominant African-American newspaper,” said his longtime friend, Dr. Donald M. Suggs, a dentist and publisher of the St. Louis American. The two met when both were young doctors at “Homer G.”

While still practicing medicine, Dr. Mitchell took the helm of the venerable newspaper his grandfather co-founded in 1912 and led it during the civil rights era. On April 8, 1912, Joseph E. Mitchell registered the St. Louis Argus, a five-column tabloid-size newspaper, with the United States Post Office. Dr. Thomas Curtis, who had been associated with Mitchell in the insurance business, had suggested the name Argus, meaning a creature with a hundred eyes never closed at the same time.

A primary goal of the St. Louis Argus was to organize the Negro community for political action. This is understandable, since the very name of the paper was to be a never-sleeping crusader for Negro citizens’ political privileges and social justice.

The immediate cause for the birth of the St. Louis Argus was political, according to George W. Slavens. Slavens’ statement may have been a bit misleading in terms of the influence of St. Louis’ J. Ray Weinbrenner in founding the Argus. Mitchell was thoroughly convinced of the need to found a newspaper before talking to Weinbrenner. However, he was able to gain a more significant interpretation of the political role the St. Louis Argus could play in achieving rights for black people.

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This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 27, 2012 – 


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