BY: Leslie R Chinn
On Friday, February 19, prominent dignitaries and community leaders will convene at the Citizen Newspapers at a reception to officially unveil a street sign named in honor of Citizen Newspaper Group Inc. CEO William Garth Sr.
The street, “William Garth Sr. Avenue” was named in recognition of Garth’s many accomplishments including his work in the community and civic contributions. The sign is located between 77th and 78th Streets on Cottage Grove. It was previously approved by Chicago’s City Council last fall.
Garth, who is the only living Black publisher in Chicago who has had a street named after him, is also Chairman of the Quentis B. Garth Foundation.
Having started with the Citizen Newspaper in 1969 as an advertising sales representative under the leadership of former Congressman Gus Savage, he purchased the Chatham Citizen, Southend Citizen and Chicago Weekend in 1980. Garth later added the South Suburban and the Hyde Park editions, and founded Garthco Publications, which published PUSH Magazine, a bi-monthly national publication. With Chicago’s population being nearly 50% Black, the Citizen has effectively reached this market. Citizen Newspapers has a total circulation of 121,000 and a weekly readership of over 400,000. The circulation areas cover Chicago’s South and West sides as well as the South Suburbs.
As a tribute to his business acumen, Garth became the first Black person to be elected President of the Illinois Press Association (IPA). The IPA is the state’s largest newspaper association and the office trade organization for Illinois’ weekly and daily newspapers. Garth is the second Black person in the nation elected president of a statewide press association. He currently sits on the Board of Government Affairs Committee, of the Illinois Press Association and has served as a board member for more than 15 years. In addition, he was elected a stockholder in the Cook County South Suburban Publishers Association and in 2009, was elected to become Chairman of the Cook County Publishers Association for 2010. Although he resigned from the position, his business savvy and knowledge in the publishing industry allowed him to also serve as Chairman of the Midwest Black Publishers Association. In December 1998, Garth received the honor of being appointed to Governor-elect George Ryan’s Transition Team and was later appointed to the Board of Directors for the Illinois Inauguration 1998, Inc.
In 1995, Garth founded the Quentis Bernard Garth (Q.B.G.) Foundation in memory of his youngest son, Quentis B.
Garth, of which he is chairman. The Q.B.G. Foundation provides scholarships to the disenfranchised, inner city youths in the Chicagoland area. To date, the Foundation has helped over 49 students and has disbursed over $1million in scholarship awards. A dedicated activist and leader in the business community, Garth maintains memberships and positions with several business organizations. He is Chairman of the Chatham Business Association, former President of Midwest Region III of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), Region III Advertising Representative with the NNPA, Transition Team for IDOT -Dan Ryan Project, board member of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, a life-time member of the NAACP and a member of the Chatham Lions Club. Garth has been the recipient of numerous local and national awards and honors; one of such honor bestowed upon him was to carry the torch in Chicago during the 2002 Olympic Torch Relay. These awards have become trademarks of his extraordinary character and commitment to the Black community.