The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

James M. Blount

Magazine publisher James M. Blount was born on June 5, 1943 in Newport News, Virginia to Helen Wilson Blount and Walter L. Blount, Sr. Blount graduated from Isle of Wight County Training School in 1961; and received his B.S. degree in industrial management in 1965 at Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia. Blount also took graduate courses in business administration at the University of Scranton in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

From 1966 to 1970, Blount worked as a marketing and proposal developer in the federal systems division of IBM in Owego, New York. In 1970, Blount and his wife, Carolyne S. Blount, relocated to Rochester, New York, where he worked as a sales representative in the office products division of IBM.

Blount is a military veteran, having served in the U.S. Navy Reserve from September 1965 to August 1971, including active duty aboard the USS Claude V. Ricketts DDG-5, a guided missile destroyer, from February 1967 through October 1968. He was involved in the 1967 Middle East war between Israel and the Arab nations.

In 1972, the Blounts became the sole proprietors of About…Time magazine, one of the oldest African American publications in the country. Blount left IBM in 1973, and became the president and publisher of About…Time magazine the following year. Under Blount’s leadership, About…Time Magazine published interviews with such figures as Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, National Security Advisor Colin Powell, Secretary of the Army Clifford Alexander, Civil Rights Leaders Leon Sullivan and Dorothy I. Height, U.S. Solicitor General Wade McCree, Children's Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman, and Dance Theatre of Harlem founder Arthur Mitchell. In 1984, About…Time published a six-part history series called “Rochester Roots/Routes.” Other notable pieces published under Blount’s tenure include “The Last Mile of a 400-Year Journey,” “Katrina Echoes: Storm Season Aftermath is Hard to Erase,” and “Strange Fruit: Jena Six and the Quest for American Justice.”

Blount served on the board of education for the Rush Henrietta School District from 1981 to 1987. He also served on the board of directors for the Arts Council of Rochester, Rochester Business Opportunities Corporation, Industrial Management Council, and the Otetiana Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Blount received many awards for his work in the community of Rochester including a Certificate of Appreciation from the Advertising Council of Rochester; the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Service Award from Colgate-Rochester Divinity School; Urban League of Rochester, NY’s Dr. Charles T. Lunsford Lifetime Achievement Award; Harriet Tubman Award, presented by the New York State Governor’s Office; Pioneer Award, presented by the City of Rochester Black Heritage Committee; and U.S. Postal Service Black History Committee Award.

He is a news analyst on Fox Sports radio AM1280 Brown and Allen Show, and was a frequent guest providing public affairs commentary on WXXI public radio’s 1370 Connection show hosted by the late Bob Smith.

Blount and his wife, Carolyne S. Blount, have three children: James Ural, Christina, and Cheryl.

James M. Blount was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 19, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.072

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/19/2018

Last Name

Blount

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Newport News

HM ID

BLO05

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

All Around the World

Favorite Quote

Power Concedes To Nothing Without A Demand.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

6/5/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Rochester

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Magazine publisher James Blount (1943 - ) was the president and publisher of About…Time Magazine in Rochester, New York.

Favorite Color

Turquoise

William Blair, Jr.

Baseball player and newspaper publisher William Blair, Jr., was born on October 17, 1921. A former Negro League baseball player turned newspaper publisher, Blair has been a community voice in Dallas for over forty years. Blair attended Booker T. Washington High School and Prairie View A&M University. After six months at Prairie View A&M, Blair enlisted in the United States Army and became the youngest black first sergeant in the United States Army during World War II.

Blair, a Negro League Baseball Museum inductee, pitched from 1946 to 1951 for the Indianapolis Clowns and other Negro League baseball teams. His baseball career included pitching a no-hitter in the Denver Post Tournament, playing with the late Winfield Welch, Jesse “Hoss” Walker, and Buster Haywood, and touring with Jesse Owens and the Harlem Globetrotters. Blair was instrumental in the development of the African American Museum’s Texas Sports Hall of Fame and serves on its advisory board. He was inducted in 1996 as a member of its inaugural class.

Blair founded the Highlight News (1947-1957). He also later founded the Southwest Sports News, a newspaper that specialized in publishing scores from Black college games throughout the United States. The paper was renamed The Elite News in 1960. One of the most influential black newspapers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Elite News created “The Elite News Awards Night,” which was the first African American awards ceremony in Dallas when it began in 1975.

Blair had been a civil rights activist for more than six decades. In 1986, Blair launched the first Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day Parade, and this parade is now an institution in Dallas. Blair was a major force in local and state politics and was also an advocate for the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance. In 2004, he founded the Religious Hall of Fame to honor African American ministers.

Blair lived in Dallas, Texas with Mozelle, his wife of sixty-three years. All of his children were involved in the family business.

Blair passed away on April 20, 2014 at age 92.

Accession Number

A2006.085

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/2/2006

Last Name

Blair

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Booker T. Washington High School

Prairie View A&M University

B.F. Darrell Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Dallas

HM ID

BLA10

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

Kleberg Foundation

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

If I Can Help Somebody.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

10/17/1921

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Peas (Black-Eyed)

Death Date

4/20/2014

Short Description

Baseball player and newspaper publisher William Blair, Jr. (1921 - 2014 ) pitched for the Indianapolis Clowns and other Negro League baseball teams during the late 1940s. He also founded Elite News, an important Dallas-Fort Worth area black newspaper, and launched in Dallas the first Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day Parade.

Employment

U.S. Army

Negro League Baseball

Elite News Religious Hall of Fame

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
0,0:8236,118:9342,194:15741,350:16057,355:18111,408:23840,432:24336,437:25452,458:58261,990:60070,1041:90342,1656:96065,1854:126320,2066:126624,2071:128600,2122:130196,2336:162438,2838:165342,2891:168840,2957:169104,2992:173135,3022:197202,3904:219990,4182:233106,4324:236220,4344:248220,4617:274060,4840:279065,4945:282240,4981$0,0:17758,332:20107,432:36864,666:61408,1021:70635,1140:73470,1154:75144,1237:78430,1321:92684,1592:105460,1925:121725,2190:130500,2338:143214,2579:145550,2625:145842,2630:146353,2643:148032,2733:172564,3189:177570,3262
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Blair, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Blair, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Blair, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Blair, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Blair, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Blair, Jr. describes his childhood in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Blair, Jr. remembers celebrating holidays with his family

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Blair, Jr. describes Benjamin Franklin Darrell Elementary School

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William Blair, Jr. describes a lesson from his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - William Blair, Sr. remembers his favorite subjects in school

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - William Blair, Jr. remembers Munger Avenue Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - William Blair, Jr. describes his first job in the newspaper business

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - William Blair, Jr. remembers his friends at Booker T. Washington High School

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - William Blair, Jr. describes the Moorland YMCA in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - William Blair, Jr. describes his mentors at Booker T. Washington High School

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - William Blair, Jr. describes his extracurricular activities in high school

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - William Blair, Jr. describes his aspirations in high school

Tape: 1 Story: 18 - William Blair, Jr. describes his neighborhood in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Blair, Jr. recalls developing a fear of snakes in rural Powell, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Blair, Jr. describes his U.S. Army service during World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Blair, Jr. remembers becoming a pitcher for the Indianapolis Clowns

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Blair, Jr. describes his family

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Blair, Jr. remembers his career with the Indianapolis Clowns

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Blair, Jr. recalls his baseball teammates in the Negro Leagues

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Blair, Jr. talks about the impact of Negro Leagues

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William Blair, Jr. reflects upon the changing role of sports teams

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - William Blair, Jr. talks about the importance of the Negro Leagues' history

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Blair, Jr. remembers founding Elite News

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Blair, Jr. describes the finances of the Elite News

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Blair, Jr. describes his civic involvement in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Blair, Jr. talks about his book, 'The Dallas I Know'

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Blair, Jr. describes the Elite News Religious Hall of Fame

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Blair, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William Blair, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William Blair, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - William Blair, Jr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

7$3

DATitle
William Blair, Jr. talks about the impact of Negro Leagues
William Blair, Jr. describes his civic involvement in Dallas, Texas
Transcript
Tell me some more stories. I mean, what do you want to tell me about the Negro League?$$Well, the Negro League should have been a viable league now, like I was telling you at first. You see any time you turn your, turn something over to other folks, people do what they want to with it. The Negro Leagues should be have been, should have been a good farm system for ball players. I'll give you an example of what I'm talking about. They started Major League Baseball in 1976 [sic.], Negroes didn't get in it until 1947. Every major record that they had in there, it took them seventy-five years to achieve it. Negroes broke it in fifty. Every one of 'em. You name, they broke 'em. Like I was telling you, they never thought nobody never break Babe Ruth's record. It was four or five Negroes could hit that many home runs. If we had got a chance to plan. If Willie Mays had played in a park where, where, like some of these ball parks these 325 foot fences, he'd a hit a thousand home runs. Just that, and they wasn't looking for Willie Mays when they found him. They was looking for that big old boy name Alonzo Perry, a good friend of mine, boy name Alonzo Perry, but a man had sense enough to see, see what he looking at and tell 'em about it. That's how they got in. They wasn't looking for him. Whole lot of ball player. The greatest, the best ball player I played with though was an older man. He was forty-eight years old. Him and Satchel [Satchel Paige] 'em come along together. I know you heard 'em talk about Cool Papa Bell [James "Cool Papa" Bell]. He's, he's the best I ever seen. He could run, do everything, and a wonderful man. And the thing that sticks our more about me and more about Cool, I don't care where we were on Sunday, he was going to church before he come to the ball park. Did it religiously. Wonderful man. He died in 1991.$$What changes would you have made to the Negro League?$$Well, the first thing they did, the first thing you needed to do with the Negro League is to control your own destiny. You see when people can come and take your folk from you for just a little bit of money, they should have money enough to keep 'em to do what they needed to do. Here's a ball player like [HistoryMaker] Ernie Banks, you get twenty-five thousand dollars for him. Hall of Fame ball player, to give a little bit more money for, for Willie Mays. So a lot of ball players they got for nothing. And for what they got 'em for, they didn't, they didn't do nothing with 'em. They take people's word, I was reading in the paper this morning about Denzel Washington's son played football down at Morehouse [Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia]. They gone give him an opportunity play in the NFL [National Football League] now. Now you know good and well, he ain't never played in that type of competition. I said he ain't that kind of football player 'cause I don't, I never seen him, didn't know he had a son, but this is the kind of stuff that they do, they'll run and grab some Negro for name, but it's some boys that got ability, that they'll never give a chance. I know good and well he wasn't the best back over there. I know he wasn't 'cause I never heard of him. It's a whole lot of that. But that's what happened to us in a lot of ways. And then we do ourselves wrong, like I was telling you. It's so many great ball players I seen. I seen so many ball players, just like you hear 'em talk about Satchel, Satchel was a great pitcher, no doubt about it. Never heard him say about (unclear), did you? It wasn't no difference than Hilton and Satchel. One was promoted and the other wasn't. They didn't promote Hilton Smith. Ball players will tell you, "Well if you can get Satchel out of there, they get Hilton," say, "you might get some runs in there." I said man, "You ain't got none off Satchel, you ain't get none off of Hilton." That's the pitchers they had. They had pitchers over there like Connie Johnson who died a couple of years ago. Connie Johnson, Booker McDaniels, Shape Alexander [ph.], Jim LaMarque, Satchel Paige, Hilton Smith. These people pitched nine innings every day. (Unclear) these people got twenty-five ball players on their team. We didn't have but fifteen, and all of them could play different places, different places and if you got hurt, three or four could probably take your place and play that. That's the way they was. And they didn't have all this, like you hear 'em talking about people doing throwing (unclear), well that was known fact in the Negro League. You gone get throwed at just like you hit a home run in front of me, if I come up I knew I was gone have to lay down. They called it laying down. We could forget and the manager gone fine you. They want to fine the pitcher now hitting the ball, for throwing at 'em. They just, these people they take the game, they want to take it and make out of it what they want to. They never played it so what they want to do, they want to change it around. You can't do that.$So the newspaper [Highlight News; Elite News], once you got with the churches, you put in church news also. And it took off (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) (Claps) Been going ever since. Been going ever since.$$So every denomination?$$Anybody, everybody.$$And you just talk about their church? Tell me what a normal paper would--$$What I do, whatever they had, just like they have a, anything they have in their church, the things that worthy of news, they bring it to me. Just like they have their anniversary, they invite me, I go over to their anniversary, speak at their anniversary and this kind of stuff. I do all this then. I've done all this. I done it for years. I give to my kids now. I let them do it. That's the reason, most folks around here know me by what I did in the community, see I worked for politicians, I don't duck 'em. Politicians in this city here that elected in this city now, they elected on account of the work that I done for them, 'cause they couldn't get in places that I could take 'em. Just like, they don't let politicians go to no churches. William Jr. [HistoryMaker William Blair, Jr.] can take 'em. I started that. President Clinton [President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton], before he ever was president, I was in a meeting right downtown at Jess Hay's office, the biggest, the biggest money-raising Democrat in the United States. I set up there and I told Reverend Raditz [ph.], there's five us in there, I told him, I say, he gone be the next president of the United States. You know how come I said that? 'Cause the man could talk. And you could understand exactly. He was right down to earth with what's he's doing and that's what he did. And all these local politicians, I don't have no trouble with none of 'em. I know all of 'em. One of the biggest mistakes we ever made in our life though, some of 'em, you put 'em in office, but you know, you have to live with it, so time will take care of that.$$So what other civic organizations do you work with?$$Oh, any of 'em. They come for all kinds of stuff here. Anything they want, they'll come here. They want me to help 'em with it. Especially when it comes to dealing with people. See I'm a people person. See all this stuff, talking about big shots, I don't believe in big shots. It's more average people than it is big shots, and that's what I deal with. I deal with average everyday people. I can go anywhere, I can take you right now, and I bet if it's fourteen people there, I bet ten of them there know me. And if I ever know your name, I don't never forget it. See I don't look down on nobody. It's one thing I guess I just learned that from people. I'm not no better than you, and you not no better than me. I don't care what your circumstances are. See, you may have all the money in the world, but we still a human being, and I don't look down on nobody that away. And that's the way I been all my life. Anybody that know me will tell you, say whatever he tell, say he ain't gone, ain't gone mince no words with 'em. I'll tell you exactly what it is. And I ain't trying to make no friends. Me and you can be friends, but I'm a tell you right. I said Denise [Denise Gines], that's wrong. Now you do whatever you want to about it, but I'm a sure tell you.