The memorial and funeral for William "Bill" Blair Jr, civil rights activist and founder of Dallas' Elite News, will be held later this week.
Blair died Sunday at the age of 92 after a lengthy illness. He will lie in state at The Hall of State at Fair Park from noon to 5 p.m. on Thursday. Later that evening, a memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.
Funeral services will be held on Friday at 11 a.m. at Concord Church.
Blair was a Dallas native who grew to be a voice for the black community for more than six decades. He graduated from Booker T. Washington High School before attending Prairie View A&M University. After six months at Prairie View, Blair would enlist in the United States Army where he would become the youngest black sergeant during World War II.
From 1946 to 1951, Blair, now a member of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, played professional baseball for the Indianapolis Clowns as well as other Negro League teams. After baseball, he would go on to found the Southwest Sports News, which published scores from black college games across the United States.
Blair would later found The Highlight News, which was renamed The Elite News in 1960.
In addition to being a publisher and athlete, Blair fought for civil rights and helped recognize church leaders with the Religious Hall of Fame that began in 2004. The City of Dallas renamed Rochester Park William "Bill" Blair Jr. Park in 2011.
In June 2012, Blair donated his collection of newspaper materials and Negro League memorabilia to the University of Texas at Arlington.
Memorial, Funeral Service Information
Thursday, April 24
Lying in State from noon — 5 p.m.
The Hall of State at Fair Park
3939 Grand Avenue, Dallas
Thursday, April 24
Memorial Service at 7 p.m.
New Birth Missionary Baptist Church
444 West Ledbetter Drive, Dallas
Friday, April 25
Funeral Service at 11 a.m.
6808 Pastor Bailey Drive, Dallas