Remembering James Blount, and the voice he gave to Rochester's Black community
A number of people from around the Rochester area gathered over the weekend to celebrate the life and legacy of James Blount, a co-publisher with his wife Carolyne, of About...Time magazine for more than 50 years.
That publication that the Blounts put together each month was focused on Rochester's Black community. James Blount died last month at the age of 80.
The memorial service took place on Saturday at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church on Adams Street in Rochester.
James Blount III, a son of James Blount, said that his father’s vision originated from identifying a vital community need and his determined commitment to address it.
“The value of sharing those stories and the successes that only we can tell through our voice, and be able to share that voice through the written word in the About...Time magazine format," said Blount. “So, he saw idea that this is news that our community can use, without feeling abused or even confused. It was coming straight from an authentic voice of the writer, and the storyteller.”
Blount said that his father was ahead of his time, as he worked to ensure that the positive accomplishments of the Black community were being highlighted, something Blount’s father felt that mainstream media were not doing enough of.
Among those at the Saturday service was former Mayor Bill Johnson. Johnson said he worked with Blount to elevate the profile of the Urban League in Rochester, and the former mayor also noted that he still has almost all of the editions of the early About...Time magazines.
"And I was looking through those magazines, and I got a clearer picture of what the importance was, because they were highlighting a lot of local events, which were not picked up in the mainstream media, “said Johnson. “So things of importance, celebrations, programs, events, honors…they would have a way to get all of it in a magazine."
Johnson said that About...Time magazine played a significant role in bringing national issues into perspective, including the coverage of topics like apartheid in South Africa, and changes within the Reagan administration.
Johnson said that About...Time is a testament to James Blount’s enduring legacy in the Rochester community.