ISIAH WILLIAMS III: 1931-2009; Publisher Tried to Save Black History He Looked for Positive Stories on Behalf of the Jacksonville Advocate

By Kerr, Jessie-Lynne | The Florida Times Union, December 2, 2009 | Go to article overview

ISIAH WILLIAMS III: 1931-2009; Publisher Tried to Save Black History He Looked for Positive Stories on Behalf of the Jacksonville Advocate


Kerr, Jessie-Lynne, The Florida Times Union


Byline: JESSIE-LYNNE KERR

Isiah "Ike" Jesse Williams III, lawyer, historian, community activist and former publisher of the Jacksonville Advocate newspaper, died Nov. 25 in a local nursing home. He was 78 and had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease six years ago.

The family will greet friends from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at The Ritz Theatre and Lavilla Museum, 829 N. Davis St. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Paul AME Church, 6910 New Kings Road. Burial will be in Jacksonville National Cemetery, 4088 Lannie Road.

"Ike was a great historian and the best journalist," said Gertrude Peele, a long-standing friend and state director of the National Council of Negro Women. "He loved Jacksonville and its people."

Mr. Williams graduated from Edward Waters College and Florida Memorial College before earning his juris doctorate degree at Florida A&M University. He also received a master's degree from Brooklyn (N.Y.) Law School and in the 1960s studied at the New School for Social Research and Xavier Institute of Labor Relations, both in New York City.

Mr. Williams stayed in New York City practicing law for 10 years. Active in the civil rights movement there, he was an attorney for the Black Panthers and became friends with Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell.

Returning to Jacksonville in the early 1970s, he continued his community activism, serving on numerous boards and commissions dealing with equal opportunity.

He provided positive stories about the African-American community when he founded the Jacksonville Advocate. He published the Advocate as a weekly newspaper for 30 years. Two years ago, his wife and two partners purchased the paper and renamed it The People's Advocate, publishing on a monthly schedule.

Mr. Williams also was a union organizer and helped form the Brotherhood of Black Firefighters.

A life member of the NAACP, a Mason and a founding member of the National Business League, Mr. …

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