— The UT Arlington Special Collections Library has been named the repository of
an extensive collection of newspapers, photos and personal memorabilia from
William “Bill” Blair Jr., a former Negro League baseball pitcher, a Dallas
civic and business leader and founder of the Elite News.
William Blair, Jr.
who is 90, will sign the deed of gift at 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at The
University of Texas at Arlington Central Library, in the Sixth Floor Atrium,
702 Planetarium Place. The event is open to the public.
Guests may park at no charge between 9 a.m. and noon the day of the event in the College Park garage at 100 UTA Blvd., between Pecan and Center streets. Paid
parking is available in the Maverick Parking Garage, 708 S. West St. For other
parking locations and a campus map visit www.uta.edu/maps.
said he is making his personal holdings available to the public with hope that
others may learn from his experiences.
are people who are not interested in anything until it happens to them,” Blair
said. “But if you read and see photos, you learn.”
Hodges, special collections program coordinator, negotiated acquisition of the William
Blair Collection with W. Marvin Dulaney, chair of the UT Arlington Department
of History, and Brenda McClurkin, the library’s historical manuscripts
archivist. The records hold particular importance for the North Texas region,
“The acquisition of
the William Blair Collection greatly enhances Special Collections’ holdings of
African-American archival materials,” Hodges said. “This collection will
allow us to preserve the story of a living legend in the African-American community for generations to come.”
During the late 1940s to early 1950s, Blair pitched for several Negro League baseball teams including the Indianapolis Clowns.
said the acquisition is another signal that the University intends to be a
focal point for African-American studies. Dulaney helped plan the new UT
Arlington Center for African American Studies, which officially launches this
want to be a repository for major African-American items and let people know
this is where items of importance should go,” Dulaney said. “The Blair Collection
fits into UT Arlington’s mission to promote African-American history, studies
and research about issues of significance to all African Americans.”
was born and raised in Dallas. He attended B. F. Darrell Elementary and
graduated from Booker T. Washington High School. After six months at Prairie
View A&M University, he enlisted in the military and became the youngest
black first sergeant in the U.S. Army during World War II.
talented baseball player, Blair pitched from 1946 to 1951 for the Indianapolis
Clowns and other Negro League baseball teams at a time when Major League
Baseball barred players of color.
baseball career includes pitching a no-hitter in the 1947 Denver Post
Tournament, playing with the late Winfield Welch, Jesse “Hoss” Walker and
Buster Haywood. Blair also toured with Olympic track and field legend Jesse
Owens and the Harlem Globetrotters.
injury to his pitching arm forced Blair to leave professional baseball. Later,
he established the Southwest Sports News, a newspaper that specialized in
publishing scores from black college games throughout the United States.
soon recognized the need for black churches to have a voice in the city of
Dallas. As political, educational and economic unrest led to the Civil Rights movement
and race riots grew, Blair decided that African Americans also needed a media outlet
to cover issues of importance to them.
1960, the Southwest Sports News was renamed the Elite News. The newspaper
highlighted the black churches, black people making a difference in their
community, politics and sports.
several decades, the Elite News has been “devoted to nothing but the truth,” according
to the newspaper’s motto.
1986, Blair launched the first Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade, which has
become a Dallas institution. An advocate for the Interdenominational
Ministerial Alliance, he also founded the Religious Hall of Fame to honor black
said photos from Blair’s baseball playing days and business, as well as older
copies of the Elite News newspaper will eventually be developed into a UT
Arlington exhibit and that some materials will be made available online.
of the UT Arlington Library’s rich resources can be accessed online at www.uta.edu/library.
www.dfwelitenews.com for more information about William Blair Jr.
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