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Inquirer Mourns the Passing of a Fellow Publisher James Alfred Washington

James Alfred Washington
April 26, 1950 – April 2, 2024

James Alfred Washington was born in April 26, 1950, in Lafayette, Louisiana, the youngest of two sons. His family says that James exhibited characteristics that would serve him well becoming a master communicator at an early age.

The family resided in Chicago, Illinois where Washington graduated from the De La Salle Institute. He attended Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in English and Instructional Media. Later, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a Danforth Fellow and received a Master’s degree in Journalism.

Washington was a professor of Communications at Tennessee State University (TSU), and later a professor of Journalism at Paul Quinn College. During his tenure at TSU, Washington was granted the distinguished Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and had the pleasure of having Oprah Winfrey as a student at that time.

Washington’s career included many opportunities in the communications Industry; News Director at KALO radio station in Little Rock, Arkansas; Public Relations Specialist for the Dallas Ballet and Public Relations Specialist for the American Heart Association National Center In Dallas Texas.

He co-founded Focus Communications in 1980 and acquired the Dallas Weekly, the largest and most widely read African-American newsweekly in North Texas. Under Washington’s leadership, the Dallas Weekly received numerous awards from organizations such as National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), Texas Publishers Association, Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists and the Press Club of Dallas.

Washington was acknowledged by both the community and Industry peers. He was named “Man of the Year” in 1986 by the Dallas Metropolitan Club of Negro Business and Professional Women and In 2019, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) awarded him the Legacy Award for his significant Impact on nurturing other journalists.

Washington served on numerous boards and received many acknowledgements for his service including the Dallas Citizens Council, Dallas Assembly, Cotton Bowl Athletic Association, Fair Park Merchants Association, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, American Heart Association, Dallas Arboretum, Dallas Theater Center, Dallas Museum of Art and the Dallas Zoological Society. Washington served on the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, NNPA, Dallas’ Commission on Race Relations and Dallas Together Forum.

In 2003, Washington married Janis L. Ware, publisher of The Atlanta Voice. Sharing the passion for Black Press, they pursued their mission of educating and informing the Black community. In 2004, Washington was diagnosed with prostate cancer and endured his cancer treatments with courage, conviction, dignity, and determination.

Washington wrote about his diagnosis and shared his journey openly and honestly with his readers through his column, “Spiritually Speaking” which was later compiled and published in book form in 2019.

In 2018. Washington became president and general manager of The Atlanta Voice newspaper. Washington had traveled extensively with his wife Janis Ware to Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Israel, Mexico, Spain, Amsterdam, Rome, Venice and most recently to Greece in 2023.

James Alfred Washington transitioned on April 2. 2024 and was preceded in death by his parents and brother. Surviving family members are: his loving wife, Janis L. Ware Washington, with whom he shared 22 wonderful years of marriage; his son Patrick (Jessica); his daughter Elena (David); his grandchildren, James Spencer Emanuel Washington, Penelope Elena Jimenez Washington, and William Emmanuel Edward Austin Bonifay; and a host of other relatives.

The funeral was held on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 at Elizabeth Baptist Church, 4245 Cascade Road SW in Atlanta / South Fulton, Georgia, officiated and eulogized by Minister Terrence Albritton. Passionate and loving comments were given by friends and fellow media personalities: Reverend Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA); Reverend Dr. Toni Draper, board chair of Word In Black and chief executive officer (CEO) and publisher of Afro American Newspapers; Robert Bogle, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of The Philadelphia Tribune newspaper; Patrick Washington, son and chief executive officer (CEO) and co-publisher, The Dallas Weekly; Richard Dunn, chief operations officer (COO) of The Atlanta Voice newspaper.

The Atlanta Inquirer family thanks the Washington and Ware families and The Atlanta Voice family for the outstanding dedication and determination of James Alfred Washington. Inquirer Publisher/Editor John B. Smith, Jr. states, “He was a good friend and positive contributor to the Black community and community at large.” “We thank him for his unselfish contribution to periodicals and media as a whole.”

Last updated on April 12, 2024

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