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William Lee

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Information about William Lee

Profile image of William Lee

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Newspaper Publishing Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Fried Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me.

Birthplace

Born:
5/29/1936
Birth Location:
Austin, Texas

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Newspaper Publishing Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Fried Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me.

Birthplace

Born:
5/29/1936
Birth Location:
Austin
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Biography

Newspaper publisher William H. Lee was born on May 29, 1936 in Austin, Texas. Williams attended Sacramento State College from 1953 to 1955, and went on to earn his A.B. degree in journalism from the University of California in 1957.

From 1959 to 1965, Lee served in the U.S. Air Force. Lee, along with radioman Glino Gladden and businessman John W. Cole, founded the Sacramento Observer on November 22, 1962. Despite early challenges, Lee became president and sole publisher of the paper in 1965. At that time, he also founded Lee Publishing, Col. Five years later, under his leadership, the Sacramento Observer was named the number one African American newspaper in the United States. Throughout the years, the Sacramento Observer has been a strong community leader and was the catalyst for organizing the local chapter of the National Urban League. In the past TheSacramento Observer has sponsored numerous community events including organizing the annual Sacramento Black Expo to celebrate African American history featuring seminars, workshops, concerts and a marketplace.

In 2001, a year after Lee appointed his late wife Kathryn Lee, as co-publisher, the newspaper launched an online news site, SacOberver.com. Its first inception featured select articles from The Sacramento Observer newspaper. Lee’s youngest son, Lawrence Charles Lee, served as the president and CEO of SacObserver.com. Then, in 2005, executive and publishing control of the Sacramento Observer passed from Lee and his wife to his son Lawrence Charles Lee, who now is the sole publisher, president, general manager of the Sacramento Observer and Lee Publishing, Co.

From 1970 to 1973, Lee served as secretary and as a member of the board of directors of the National Newspaper Publishers Association. He was elected as president of the West Coast Black Publishers Association 1974. He is founder and past president of the Men’s Civic League of Sacramento, co-founder of the Sacramento Area Black Caucus, and is a lifetime member of the N.A.A.C.P.

Lee received Sacramento’s Outstanding Young Man of the Year Award (1965), the Carly Murphy Plaque for community service (1994), the. The Sacramento Observer was a recipient of the Media Award from the Western Regional Conference of Elected Black Officials in (1973) and the John B. Russwurm Trophy – which is considered to be the Pulitzer Prize in African American newspaper publishing – from the National Newspaper Publishers Association (1973, 1975).

Lee and his late wife Kathryn Lee, have three sons: Lawrence Charles, William Hanford, Jr., and Roderick Joseph (deceased).

William H. Lee was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 5, 2013.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Lee's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Lee lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Lee describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Lee talks about his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Lee describes his parents' education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Lee describes his father's career
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Lee talks about how his parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Lee remembers his family's move to San Francisco, California
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William Lee talks about his brother and sister-in-law
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - William Lee describes his likeness to his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - William Lee remembers his father's strokes
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - William Lee describes his upbringing in San Francisco, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Lee describes the children's book based upon his family
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Lee remembers playing basketball in high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Lee remembers moving to Del Paso Heights in Sacramento, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Lee describes his experiences at Grant Union High School in Sacramento, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Lee remembers his arrival at the University of California, Berkeley
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Lee talks about his time at Sacramento State College in Sacramento, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Lee remembers his accounting professor at Sacramento State College
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William Lee describes the student organizations at the University of California, Berkeley
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - William Lee remembers the student activism at the University of California, Berkeley
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Lee recalls the lack of support for black students at University of California, Berkeley
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Lee remembers being hired at Aerojet Rocketdyne in Sacramento, California
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Lee remembers his courtship with his wife
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Lee describes the African American community in Sacramento, California
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Lee recalls the founding of The Sacramento Observer
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Lee talks about the Men's Civic League of Sacramento, California
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William Lee talks about the cofounders of The Sacramento Observer
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William Lee remembers the restrictive housing covenants in Sacramento, California
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William Lee talks about the professional legacy of William Byron Rumford
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William Lee describes the political climate in California during the early 1960s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William Lee describes the black leadership of Sacramento, California
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William Lee talks about the growth of the black community in Sacramento, California
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William Lee remembers becoming the sole owner of The Sacramento Observer
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William Lee talks about success of The Sacramento Observer, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William Lee talks about the success of The Sacramento Observer, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - William Lee describes the operations of The Sacramento Observer
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William Lee talks about the advertisements in The Sacramento Observer, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William Lee talks about the advertisements in The Sacramento Observer, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William Lee describes the readership of The Sacramento Observer
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William Lee talks about The Sacramento Observer's outreach programs
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William Lee talks about the impact of technology on the newspaper industry
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William Lee describes the editorial goals of The Sacramento Observer
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William Lee talks about Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, California
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - William Lee talks about the stories covered in The Sacramento Observer
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - William Lee describes the staff of The Sacramento Observer
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - William Lee describes The Sacramento Observer's sports coverage
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - William Lee talks about his sons
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - William Lee reflects upon his career at The Sacramento Observer
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - William Lee describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - William Lee reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - William Lee talks about his wife
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - William Lee describes his youth outreach programs
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - William Lee describes how he would like to be remembered