Dallas civil rights leader and publisher Bill Blair dead at 92

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by WFAA

WFAA

Posted on April 21, 2014 at 6:57 AM

DALLAS — William "Bill"  Blair Jr., founder of the DFW Elite News and a champion for civil rights in North Texas has died at age 92.

The Dallas native graduated from Booker T. Washington High School and began his career as a pitcher in Negro League baseball in 1946.

Blair launched Southwest Sports News in 1949, a newspaper that specialized in reporting on African-American collegiate games.

The weekly newspaper was renamed Elite (prounounced "E-light") News in 1960 and expanded its coverage to other issues focusing on the black community.

Blair helped establish the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade in Dallas, and attended the most recent event in January.

In 2012, Blair's community service was recognized when the City of Dallas renamed Rochester Park in his honor.

At the time, he attributed his success to his work ethic. "It's one thing that I learned all of my life," he said. "I never quit nothing that I start. If I start it, I'm going to end it."

Blair's youngest son, Daryl Blair, said his father just wouldn't stop working, even in the final months of his life.

"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. "Even when he was in the bed, he'd try to make calls to help somebody else."

Blair died at his daughter's home in Hunt County. Funeral arrangements are pending.

"A very bright light is dimmed. Rest in peace, my friend," tweeted Dallas police Chief David Brown.

WFAA reporter Marie Saavedra contributed to this story

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