Nation Mourns The Passing of Black Press Champion James A. Washington

Friends, family and supporters are mourning the passing of The Atlanta Voice president and general manager James Washington who died on Tuesday, April 2.  Washington, 73, was a respected veteran of the Black Press, having established himself earlier in his career at the helm of the Dallas Weekly. 

Outspoken and direct, Washington was revered by his peers for his willingness to tackle hard issues and address future challenges and solutions for Blacks in media.

Washington became the owner and publisher of Dallas Weekly in 1985 and stayed until 2018 before handing off operations to his son so he could relocate to Atlanta. In 2003 he married Janis Ware, Atlanta Voice publisher and daughter of the iconic newspaper’s founder J. Lowell Ware. 

Under Washington’s leadership, the Atlanta Voice greatly expanded its digital presence to reach approximately 150,000 unique users and 200,000 monthly pageviews. “Our presence is now being demanded by readers because they want our coverage, and it’s fueling our growth because people are coming back to talk to us about a number of things,” he explained of new technology initiatives he implements at the historic publication, which threw his efforts has garnered significant national recognition for its timely and informative coverage of issues affecting metro Atlanta Black communities and citizens. 

The admired leader in multi-media products and practices was once quoted as saying, “You can manage yourself into second-class citizenship. Just do inferior work,” he remarked when asked about his forward-thinking management style.

A 2019 National Association of Black Journalists Legacy Award winner, he earned a Masters Degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was a proud graduate of Southern University, having graduated with a degree in English and Instructional Media. He authored his first book, Spiritually Speaking, Reflections For and From a New Christian in 2019. 

For over four decades Washington had been involved in nearly every level of the communications field. From his time as the publisher of The Dallas Weekly, a Black-owned and operated publication, to his work as the public relations manager for the Dallas Ballet, Washington had always been a strong representation of Black excellence and intelligence. 

Washington twice served on the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce board, the Dallas Arboretum, the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, and the National Newspaper Publishers Association. He is a former tri-chair of Dallas’ Commission on Race Relations and the Dallas Together Forum. He is also a former member of the Federal Reserve Bank’s Small Business and Agriculture Advisory Committee in Dallas. Jim was named “Man of the Year” in 1986 by the Dallas Metropolitan Club of Negro Business and Professional Women.  Since then, he has been honored for outstanding community service by organizations such as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, The Links, Inc., United Way, Dallas Independent School District, Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, Daniel “Chappie” James Learning Center, the NAACP, KKDA, and KRLD radio stations, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dallas Museum of Arts, and the State Fair of Texas.

Washington is survived by his wife, The Atlanta Voice publisher Janis Ware, his children, daughter Elena Bonifay (husband David Bonifay) and son Patrick Washington (wife Jessica Washington), his grandchildren James Spencer Emanuel Washington, Penelope Elena Jimenez Washington, and William Emmanuel Edward Austin Bonifay, and his nieces and nephews.

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