After an injury cut short his time on the fields of Negro League baseball, William “Bill” Blair became a newspaper publisher and prominent community activist in his hometown of Dallas, Texas.
Born on October 17, 1921, Blair left Prairie View College to join the military and became the youngest black first sergeant in the United States Army during World War II. After the war in 1946, he began his Negro League baseball career pitching first for the Cincinnati Crescents and then the Indianapolis Clowns. He retired from baseball after the 1951 season due to an injured pitching arm.
Blair’s Elite News, first published in 1951, is now the longest existing African American newspaper in North Texas. It covers issues of political, social, economic, and religious importance for African Americans in the North Texas area. In 1985, Blair was instrumental in organizing Dallas’ first Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade which is today one of the largest such tribute to Dr. King attracting thousands each year.
To learn more about the Negro League baseball era, read “Last Train to Cooperstown: The 2006 Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees from the Negro League Baseball Era”. To order go to (http://booklaunch.io/kevinlmitchell/last-train-to-cooperstown)