T. Williard Fair reflects on past 50 years, honored at Fontainebleau Hotel

Fair helped turn Miami Urban League into one of most successful chapters in country

By Calvin Hughes - Anchor

MIAMI - He really has seen it all in the Magic City, from Miami's transformation from a sleep, segregated town to what it is today.

As President of Miami's Urban League Chapter, T. Williard Fair helped jumpstart the wheels of change 50 years ago, and today he's still rolling.

Fair learned fresh out of college that sometimes you don't choose to make history, but history chooses you.

"I was here two months, got the promotion out of spite, and I said, 'I'll take it,'" said Fair.

He took on the role of the youngest president and CEO in the history of the Urban League, and it happened in 1963.

The first 10 years on the job, though, Fair was nearly fired 55 times.

"At the end of the board meeting, 'Mr. Chairmen, could we have an executive session?' I used to tell my wife, you know I have a board meeting today. When I come back, I might not have a job," said Fair.

Fair's outspokenness has always been a hallmark of his style, and as a radio host in Miami 40 years ago, it led to him getting death threats.

"I would be broadcasting on the floor, and I was getting all kinds of calls, and they would say, 'I see you ni**er and as soon as you come outside that building, we are going to get you,'" Fair said.

By the 1970s, Fair turned the Miami Urban League into one of the most successful chapters in the country, but it was always the Magic City he wanted to see more unified.

Fair helped integrate Miami-Dade's first jury, always worked behind the scenes and made unlikely friends along the way.

"There's nothing that we've been able to accomplish in this community over the last 50 years," said Fair. "Without those alliances, be white, Hispanic or Haitian, this is about a community of thought and not a community of differences."

Fair was honored Saturday night at the Fontainebleau Hotel for his 50 years of service as president of the Miami chapter of the Urban League.

Local 10's Calvin Hughes served as emcee of the event, which began at 7 p.m.

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