DALLAS Mayor Mike Rawlings and Police Chief David Brown were among Dallas leaders who gathered Friday at the Concord Church to remember local civil rights leader and publisher William 'Bill' Blair Jr.

Blair died Sunday at the age of 92 after a long battle with illness.

A former Negro League pitcher and founder of the Dallas weekly 'Elite News,' Blair was remembered as a man who 'blessed the lives of others.'

A Dallas native, he attended Booker T. Washington High School and went on to Prairie View A&M, where he left after six months to enlist in the Army. It was there he began his role as a leader. He served during World War II and became the youngest black first sergeant in the United States.

In 1946, he started pitching with the Negro League. His baseball career came to an end in 1951.

During his time in baseball, he founded the 'Southwest Sports News,' which published sports scores from black colleges. In 1960, his publication was renamed 'The Elite News,' which continues to highlight black news throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, five children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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