Sengstacke immediately got involved with the segregation issues of the time. He worked with President Franklin D. Roosevelt to have African American reporters in the White House and to create jobs in the Postal Service for African Americans. One of John’s biggest objectives was to desegregate the armed forces. Ultimately, President Harry Truman named Sengstacke to the commission he formed to integrate the military. Sengstacke established the National Newspaper Publishers Association, which was an endeavor to unify and strengthen African-American owned papers. He served seven terms as president of this association.
In 1956, Sengstacke had another huge milestone in his career; he turned his weekly newspaper into a daily newspaper. At that time, The Chicago Defender was the nations largest African American owned daily paper. He also purchased a chain of newspapers; Pittsburgh Courier, Tri-State Defender, and Michigan Chronicle. John Sengstacke died on May 28, 1997, but his many accomplishments will always be remembered. In 2000, just three years after John’s death, President Bill Clinton awarded Mr. Sengstacke the Presidential Citizens Medal. Myiti Sengstacke, granddaughter of John, now publishes the Chicago Defender.