A pioneer in Dayton media died Monday, April 6.
“Today my hero took his last breath at 5:08 p.m. at Hospice of Dayton, surrounded by me, my sister, his granddaughter, daughter-in-law and holding hands with my mom, his wife of 53 years,” Donerik Black wrote on his Facebook Monday about the passing of his father, Dayton Weekly News founder, Don Black. “Words can’t describe the heaviness I feel in my heart right now. I have a void in my soul and I have no idea how to fill it. But if I know my dad he would make me promise to get the paper out on time and make sure that there are lots of pictures. So I’m going to mourn the loss of the man who gave me life and opportunity tonight, but tomorrow I’m getting back to work because I know that’s what he would want me to do.”
Don Black was 74.
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Donerik Black told this news organization that only his mother, Glenda, could be in the room when his father passed due to restrictions in place because of the coronavirus crisis.
“But they moved him to a room with a window and moved his bed right up to the window so we could say our goodbyes through the screen and be there with him. Together. As a family,” he wrote on Facebook.
Before being taken to Hospice, Don Black was in a local nursing home.
His son told us he had not seen his father for three weeks before his death.
“My biggest fear was that he would die alone,” he said.
A celebration of life will be held for Black at a later date, his son said.
Don Black launched his first company, Black Associates Photography, Inc., in the early 1970s.
The company grew in the field of communications and changed its name to Multi-Western Public Relations/Marketing Inc. in 1979, according to The Dayton Weekly’s website.
Concerned about representation of the interests of Dayton’s African American community, Don and Donerik Black started “The Dayton Weekly News” in 1993.
Before that, Black had been involved in a list of black newspapers that includes The Dayton Defender and The Dayton Express, according to a 1995 Dayton Daily News article about local black media penned by Janette Rodrigues.
"I'm old enough to remember when you couldn't get any news unless you got it from a black newspaper," said Black in the article. “The purpose of black newspapers is to tell the story behind the story."
The Greater Dayton Association of Black Journalists, the local chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, was among the organizations offering condolences to Black’s family and friends.
“Don was a pillar in the local journalistic community for decades and an inspiration for young journalists of color. May his principles and dedication to civil rights, equality and fair reporting be something we aspire to moving forward,” Courtney Wheaton, the chapter’s newly elected president, said in a statement. “We want to express our heartfelt gratitude for the years of support he showed our organization.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Turner said he joins the entire Dayton community in mourning Black.
“I was proud to honor Don with the first annual Black History Month Congressional Award for Community Service in 2016. Dayton Weekly News was a cornerstone of information for Dayton’s African American community. Don leaves behind a legacy of service and leadership, and he will be sorely missed,” Turner said.
Donerik Black said that his father, a member of Dayton Ethan Temple Seventh-Day Adventist Church, was dedicated to his work.
There were times when Don Black was practically carried into his office because that is where he wanted to be.
“My first lesson in entrepreneurship as a kid I learned from him. I saw him get up and hustle every day,” Black said.
“He didn’t have any hobbies his hobbies were his community his church and his family. He always wanted to be right in the middle of it.”
Don Black, a Chicago native, moved to Dayton 60 years ago when his parents, Uster Black and Inez Franklin, relocated here.
The Englewood resident held several leadership positions in a list of organizations that includes the Ohio Governor's Conference of Minority Business, the Dayton National Business League, the Dayton Minority Enterprise Small Business Investment Company, Kettering Medical Center, Bank One and the Dayton NAACP and Dayton Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Black was also active at DATV, Dayton Access Television.
“The DATV Family is deeply saddened by the passing of Don Black. Mr. Black's program, “News From a Different View,” is one of our longtime programs on DATV,” Rosemary Bradley, DATV’s executive director said. “For nearly 10 years, Don presented issues and concerns specific to the African American community in the Greater Dayton Area initiating public discussion and dialogue toward resolution of those concerns. Don was a strong voice and tireless advocate for his community — a true gem in the Gem City. And although his health prevented him from hosting “News From a Different View” in the last few years, his presence was always with us on the set. He will be sorely missed by his DATV crew.”
The winner of several community awards, Black served a decade as chairman for the Dayton Martin Luther King Holiday Celebration.
Donerik Black donated a kidney to his father in 2006.
Don Black talked about the experience for a Dayton Daily News article that year.
"When I found out five years ago I would need a kidney, my son said, 'I'll give you mine,’” he said. “For five years, I never moved on it. But Donerick was persistent and persuasive.”
As part of his Facebook post, Donerik Black thanked Dayton Respiratory and Nursing Center, Hospice of Dayton, the Oniru Group and the “amazing Dayton Weekly News staff who have worked nonstop to keep his passion, the Dayton Weekly News alive.”
Black is survived by his son, wife, daughter, Sharonda Smith, and grandchildren, Taylor Renee Black and Carlos Karrington Smith.
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