William “Bill” Blair Jr., a pioneering newspaper publishing and civil rights leader from Dallas,Texas, died this Sunday. Blair was 92.
Blair was the founder of Elite News, a publication he began after a stint as pitcher in the Negro Leagues. Born in Dallas on October 21, 1921, he attended Booker T. Washington High School and began pitching at the age of 16 before going on to play for several Negro League Baseball between 1946 and 1951. Blair also briefly attended Prairie View A&M University before joining the military.
In his biography, Blair wrote that he was the youngest Black first sergeant to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II at 19. After an injury to his pitching arm, Blair retired from the game. Blair’s first foray into publishing began in 1947 when he started Highlight News. Following that effort, in 1949 he established Southwest Sports News.
The Southwest Sports News focused on African-American collegiate sports. In 1960, Blair changed the name of the paper to Elite (pronounced “E-light”) News and rebranded it to cover events in the Dallas-Forth Worth African-American and church community. Blair was instrumental in getting the Martin Luther King Jr. Parade established in Dallas almost 30 years ago.
A tireless contributor to the legacy of African-Americans in Dallas, the city honored Blair by renaming Rochester Park in his honor. In 2012, Blair donated his collection of newspapers and Negro League memorabilia to the University of Texas at Arlington.
Blair’s wife of 70 years, Mozelle Jordan, was his high school sweetheart and the couple had seven children. Blair stepped down as publisher of Elite News years ago, but with instructions that it continues to serve the Dallas-Forth Worth community. His son Daryl has been charged with handling the family’s affairs and said his father worked until his final days. “
I’m 48. I had 48 years with my Dad. He had 92 years on this Earth, and he used 91-and-a-half of them to service everyone he could,” the younger Blair said to WFAA. “Even when he was in the bed, he’d try to make calls to help somebody else.” Blair’s funeral service will be held this Friday at the Concord Baptist Church in Dallas at 11 a.m.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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