University of Texas Arlington

William Blair Collection:

A Guide



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Blair, William, Jr.
Title: William Blair Collection
Inclusive Dates: approximately 1975-2012
Bulk Dates: 1992-2012
Abstract: William "Bill" Blair, Jr. is a Dallas, Texas, star athlete, journalist, businessman, political activist and civic leader. Born in Dallas on October 17, 1921, Blair attended B. F. Durrell Elementary School and graduated from Booker T. Washington High School. Blair continued his education at Prairie View Normal and Industrial College (now Prairie View A&M University). During World War II, Blair enlisted in the U.S. Army and is said to be the youngest sergeant who served during that conflict. In 1946, Blair became a pitcher for the Indianapolis Clowns, one of twelve baseball teams comprising the Negro 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. In 1949, after returning to Dallas, Blair started Southwest Sports News. By 1960, the newspaper had evolved into the Elite News, the oldest African-American publication in North Texas. After 30 years as publisher, Blair turned over daily Elite News 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." 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.
Identification: Unprocessed manuscript 2012-110
Extent: 45 boxes, 3 large framed items (45.25 linear ft.)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries

Biographical Note

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.


Scope and Contents

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.


 

Organization

Only preliminary processing has been performed. No final arrangement has been determined.

Restrictions

Access

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.


Index Terms

These materials are indexed under the following headings in the catalog of The University of Texas at Arlington Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Persons
Blair, William, Jr.,--1921- --Archives.
Organizations
Elite news (Dallas, Tex.)--Records and correspondence.
Subjects
African American businesspeople--Texas--Dallas--Biography.
African American churches--Texas--Dallas.
African American journalists--Texas--Dallas--Biography.
African American newspapers--Texas--Dallas.
African Americans--Texas--Dallas.
Negro leagues.
Places
Dallas (Tex.)--History.
Alternate Titles
Historical Manuscripts Collection

Administrative Information

Provenance

Gift of William Blair, Jr., 2012.

Citation

William Blair Collection, approximately 1975-2012, Unprocessed Manuscript 2012-110, Box Number, Folder Number, Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.

Acquisition

Gift, 2012.

Accessioned as number 2012-110.

Processing Information

Preliminary processing has been performed during the fall semester, 2012, by Penny Castillo, Carlene Rich, and Brenda McClurkin. Preliminary inventory available.


 Note to the Researcher 

Archivists continue to pack and move this collection to the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.