James Blount, one of the co-founders of About... Time Magazine, sadly passed away at the age of 80.
Blount's passing is a significant loss for the Rochester community, as he was one of the most influential black voices in the area.
Blount and his wife Carolyne dedicated their lives to delivering news and information about the Black community through their publication, About... Time Magazine, which they started over 50 years ago. At a time when very few publications addressed the challenges faced by the Black community, Blount and his wife took on the responsibility with passion and determination.
The Frederick Douglass Voice, a popular Black newspaper in Rochester, had printed its final edition, marking the end of a long legacy in Black publishing. This newspaper, founded by Frederick Douglass himself in 1847, had been an important voice for the community until its closure in 1996. At that point, About...Time Magazine became the main source for Black news.
Born on June 5, 1943, in Smithfield, Virginia, James Blount came to Rochester in 1970 with his wife Carolyne to work as a sales representative for IBM. He also served in the U.S. Navy Reserves. However, it was through their ownership of About... Time Magazine that Blount and his wife made their greatest impact. The magazine, one of the oldest African-American publications in the nation, had been in circulation since the 1970s, taking over from its original founders, Gloria Winston and Peter L. Bibby.
The Blounts became pillars of journalism in the Black press, not only in Rochester but beyond. Their contributions to the field of journalism and their impact on the community deserve recognition and remembrance.
Under their leadership, About... Time Magazine published articles on a wide range of issues important to African Americans, from local to international, political to cultural. The magazine covered significant events such as the 200th anniversary of Harriet Tubman's birth, the achievements of Black women in historic sports positions, and the career of National Security Advisor Colin Powell.
In addition to his work with About...Time Magazine, James Blount was also involved in various community organizations. He served on the Rush-Henrietta School Board and was a board member for several local organizations, including the Boy Scouts, Arts Council of Rochester, and Rochester Business Opportunities Corporation.
Blount's impact extended beyond the pages of his magazine. His dedication to delivering news and information about the Black community resonated with people worldwide. About... Time Magazine became a symbol of empowerment and representation within the Black press, gaining recognition and respect. Blount's efforts elevated the importance of Black journalism and paved the way for future generations of Black journalists to share their stories.
As a member of the Rochester Association of Black Journalists (RABJ), Blount actively mentored and inspired younger journalists. His legacy lives on through the journalists he influenced, who continue to carry the torch of Black journalism and advocate for the representation of marginalized communities.
Admirers took to Facebook to post their sentiments about journalistic pioneer.
The Rochester Association of Black Journalists released the following statement, "The Rochester Association of Black Journalists is saddened by the passing of James Blount, publisher of About...Time Magazine.
He was a pioneer in the world of journalism and media. We were favored by his wisdom, knowledge, enthusiasm, and encouragement.
His impact on our organization will be missed. Our condolences and prayers go out to his wife, Carolyne, and other members of his family.
He will be sorely missed.
Clianda Florence posted, "I recalled a conversation I had with Mr. Blount and the wonderful stories he shared with me about my grandfather Minister Florence. His passion and commitment to Rochester and literacy were moving. I was encouraged by his drive and his “WHY”. A powerful voice within the community that will be missed!"
Aenon Missionary Baptist Church posted, "It is with great sadness to learn of the passing of our dear friend, James Blount, of About Time Publishers. Mr. Blount met with the Historical Ministry often. The elders love to share their knowledge of our local history. Mr. Blount knew much of Rochester’s history whether it was regarding our church, his church, or yours; he was quite familiar with past to current details of civil unrest; and he knew or was aware of many of our city leaders, and/or their parents. Just a great man with a wealth of knowledge and love for history who will be sorely missed.
Take your well-deserved rest in heaven with the ancestors, Mr. Blount.
Aenon’s Historical Ministry."
A Celebration of Life and Legacy service for James Blount will be held on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church in Rochester, New York. A viewing will take place from 10 a.m. to noon, followed by the funeral service. Additional services will be held on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, in Smithfield, Virginia, Blount's birthplace.