The Black Press lost one of its most devoted freedom warriors, last week. Walter “Ball” Smith, Publisher of the New work Beacon and the Philadelphia Observer die on Friday, November 10th. He was 83 years old.
“The Black Press has lost a true giant in Black America,” Said Dorothy R. Level, Chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association(NNPA). “Walter Smith made a difference in so many lives of Black readers and Black publishers in the Northeast and America in general.”
As CEO of the Smith Haj Group, Smith published Newark’s Beacon and the Philadelphia Observer. Like Black newspapers across the country, both publications catered to a loyal Black readership that made Smith a prominent figure in the Black community. For 26 years, he led the Beacon. “The NNPA mourns profoundly the passing of beloved publisher Walter Smith,” said Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., the President and CEO of the NNPA. “At a time that we are celebrating the 190th year of the Black Press, we pause to salute the outstanding contributions of Walter Smith to the Black Press.” Smith is survived by his wife, Miatta, their children and grandchildren.