Rochester magazine publisher and activist James Blount has died
A pioneer among Black journalists and entrepreneurs in Rochester and across the country has died.
James Blount, who with his wife Carolyne published About…Time magazine for more than 50 years, died Thursday. He was 80 years old.
An immediate cause of death was not provided, but a statement from his family said that, “Mom was with him when help arrived and she is doing well overall. We are just in the process of sharing the loss, and will keep family and friends posted as we finalize arrangements.”
Blount was born in Newport News, Virginia, and the Navy veteran worked in various positions including sales for IBM, and after he and Carolyne moved to Rochester in 1970, they eventually took over ownership of About…Time, which focused on international, national and regional issues important to African Americans.
Nate Brown worked with Blount and knew him for many years, they appeared together on a radio talk show on WHTK called ‘What’s Goin’ On.’ He said he was amazed by the range of knowledge that Blount had about any number of issues.
“We would be talking about a topic and he knew dates, times, locations,” said Brown, “and you didn’t even have to Google it, because I called him the ‘Black encyclopedia.’ He knew so many things regarding shareable content, because he had to do research for About…Time magazine."
Although Blount was from Virginia, Brown said he easily adopted his new home and “was proud to be part of Frederick Douglass’ city, and understand the challenges that came along with Rochester.”
Walter Cooper, a longtime researcher, educator and activist knew Blount well, and said what Blount provided through the magazine was key for the Rochester area.
“It’s a huge loss to the community, which needs to be better informed,” said Cooper. “The community is at a low ebb when it comes to being informed by events among African Americans in this country and in the world.”
Cooper cited Blount’s ‘outgoing personality with lots of experience and lots of interest in issues that were germane and fundamental to the community in general and specifically the African American community.”
Cooper and Blount were recently on WXXI’s Connections with Evan Dawson program talking about the work of chemist William Jacob Knox, Jr., an African American man who worked on the Manhattan Project in 1942.
Richard McCollough, is a longtime local broadcast meteorologist and former president of the RABJ (Rochester Association of Black Journalists).
He said that he liked the fact that Blount and his wife Carolyne “were chronicling the history, chronicling the events in the Black community, and doing it in a very professional way, in a way in which people understood the stories,” said McCollough.
He also credits the Blounts with taking a lot of risks, starting a magazine for the Black community more than 50 years ago when there were few other publications taking on that challenge. “And they became a pillar of journalism of the Black press, here in Rochester, and they were noted around the world,” said McCollough.
He said that Jim Blount had been a member of the RABJ, and McCollough and other senior journalists made sure that newer members of their organization always “knew about Carolyne and Jim, knew about their work and their accomplishments…and for people to understand the importance of what they did here,” said McCollough.
Funeral arrangements for James Blount are still pending.