Mr. William “Bill” Blair: A Life Lived
By: Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Guest Contributor
The Dallas that embraced a young William Blair was far different from that we know today. Mr. Blair, whose father worked six days every week in a mill, faced a difficult life. But he made the most of what he had, and accomplished some remarkable things in his long and productive life.
Always small in size, he amazed his football coaches at Booker T. Washington Senior High School, becoming a very capable running back that successfully competed against players twice his size. There, he met his wife, Mozelle Jordan, who maintained the Blair household while building a respectable catering business.
After returning to Dallas as a military veteran at the end of World War II, Mr. Blair entered the newspaper business. Publishing a newspaper was not his first passion, but when white-owned publications would not print results from African-American college games and the Negro Baseball League, where he played as a pitcher, Mr. Blair went into action. He started something new.
Over the years his insight and his vision compelled him to create numerous institutions and events. While publishing the Elite Newspaper, he founded the Elite News Religious Hall of Fame, which acknowledged the contributions made by members of the clergy in North Texas.
Mr. Blair worked closely with Reverend S.M. Wright, the nationally known Baptist preacher whose impact on life and politics was legendary. When the ministerial organization that Reverend Wright led needed a public voice, Mr. Blair made the pages of the Elite News available to the clergy group. Soon after, the Elite Newspaper became known as the official “voice of the church community.”
Never one to stand on the sidelines of life, Mr. Blair started a Martin Luther King Parade in January of 1986. A few drummers, a trumpet player and some preachers marched with him down a street in South Dallas. Last year, the event drew a crowd of more than 250,000 and the parade lasted nearly four hours.
His vision allowed him to believe that one could start small and grow into abundance. That is exactly what he did with many of the programs and concepts that he touched. He nurtured them as if they were lilies in his personal garden.
North Texas may never see the likes of Mr. William “Bill” Blair again. He made his presence known. He worked with young minds, including those who were not members of his family, teaching them the crafts that he had mastered.
Now, he has taken his much-deserved eternal rest after so many arduous years of planting seeds for all of us. We remain grateful that he lived among us, and bid him farewell.