William Garth, Sr., a philanthropist, community leader, activist, political influencer, and freedom fighter, earned posthumous enshrinement into the Black Press Archives and Gallery of Distinguished Black Publishers at Howard University’s historic Moorland-Spingarn Research Center.
The guiding force behind the Chicago Citizen Newspaper Group, Garth joined a host of others enshrined, including Lenora “Doll” Carter, Marcus Garvey, Frances Murphy, Dr. Mary Ellen Strong, Charles Tisdale, and M. Paul Redd.
“On behalf of the National Newspaper Publishers Association Fund (NNPAF), we pause in sacred remembrance in tribute to the life, legacy, and memory of Publisher William ‘Bill’ Garth Sr.,” NNPAF Chair Pluria Marshall Jr., stated in a video tribute to Garth during Black Press Week.
A pillar in and around his community, Garth reportedly led the Citizen Newspaper with “a steady hand and worked hard to make the news operation the largest Black-owned ABC audited newspaper in the Midwest.”
He began selling advertisements for the Citizen but eventually purchased the newspaper chain in 1980.
The sale included the Chatham Citizen, Southend Citizen, and the Chicago Weekend Newspapers.
He later added the South Suburban and Hyde Park Citizen Newspapers to his holdings.
The Citizen soon became a business that Garth both nurtured and loved. “I’ve been good to the Citizen because the Citizen has been good to me,” Garth famously proclaimed.
To the innovative businessman, it counted as vital to him to ensure African American representation at all levels.
His peers said Garth understood the power of the Black Press and remained an active member of the National Newspaper Publishers Association [NNPA].
He served as president of Midwest Region III of the NNPA and the Region III Advertising Representative.
Garth became the first Black person elected president of the Illinois Press Association [IPA] – the state’s largest newspaper association and office trade organization for Illinois weekly and daily newspapers.
“Bill Garth was my hero, friend, and business partner,” noted former NNPA Chairman Al McFarlane, the founder of Insight News. “He was part of the pantheon of legendary newspaper owners and civic leaders.”
Garth died in 2016 at the age of 79.