William Blair Collection:
William Blair, Jr. was born in Dallas, Texas, on October 17, 1921. He attended B. F. Durrell Elementary School and graduated from Booker T. Washington High School where he exceled in football and baseball under the tutelage of Coach Raymond Hollie. Blair continued his education at Prairie View Normal and Industrial College (now Prairie View A&M University). World War II intervened and Blair enlisted in the U.S. Army, and is said to be the youngest sergeant who served during that conflict. In 1943, Blair married his high school sweetheart, Mozelle Jordan, the first Miss Booker T. Washington High School Queen. The couple had seven children: William III (deceased), Debra, Michelle, Robert, Jordan (deceased), Terri and Darryl. In 1946, Blair became a pitcher for the Indianapolis Clowns, one of twelve teams comprising the Negro Baseball League. Before an injury to his pitching arm forced his retirement from baseball in 1951, Blair played for several other Negro League teams including the Detroit Stars and Cincinnati Clowns. During that era, Blair was paid $375 a month plus $2 per day for meals.
In 1949, after returning to Dallas, Blair started Southwest Sports News, a newspaper that specialized in publishing scores from African American college sporting events throughout the United States. With the addition of entertainment news in 1957, the name of the paper changed to The Highlight News. Three years later, the paper again changed its format to cover issues of political, social and economic importance to the North Texas African American community and its title became the Elite News (pronounced "E-light"). Five years later, the Elite News began to incorporate news from local churches. The Elite News is the oldest African-American publication in North Texas and is distributed widely in Dallas and Fort Worth. After 30 years as publisher, Blair turned over daily newspaper operations to his children. At age 90, Blair still tends to his newspaper business every day, but now as founder, senior publisher, and the author two weekly columns, "Founding Thoughts" and "Words of Wisdom."
For many decades, Bill Blair has made it his mission to recognize important contributions made by so many individuals to their community and church. Since 1975, Blair has presented the Elite News Awards Night, the first citywide ceremony recognizing the noteworthy achievements of citizens of Dallas and Texas at large. Blair also started the first Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade in Dallas in 1985. Since 1999, Blair has honored the accomplishments of local clergymen in his annual Religious Hall of Fame awards ceremony. In 2011, the Dallas Park and Recreation Department board voted to rename Rochester Park in South Dallas to the William "Bill" Blair, Jr. Park. Blair also serves on the national advisory board of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City and has been inducted into the African American Museum Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Dallas.
Elite News newspapers and press releases, correspondence, photographs, printed materials, and ephemera. The William Blair Collection represents Mr. Blair's personal papers as well as the archives of the Elite News. It documents the activities of the African-American community in North Texas for many decades.
Open for research.
Literary Rights Statement
Permission to publish, reproduce, distribute, or use by any and all other current or future developed methods or procedures must be obtained in writing from Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards.
Gift of William Blair, Jr., 2012.
William Blair Collection, approximately 1975-2012, Unprocessed Manuscript 2012-110, Box Number, Folder Number, Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.
Accessioned as number 2012-110.
Preliminary processing has been performed during the fall semester, 2012, by Penny Castillo, Carlene Rich, and Brenda McClurkin. Preliminary inventory available.
Archivists continue to pack and move this collection to the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.