William A. Hilliard was born on May 28, 1927, in Chicago and died on January 16, 2017.
He was an American journalist.
Hilliard was editor of The Oregonian, the major daily newspaper in Portland, Oregon, from 1987 to 1994 and was that newspaper’s first African-American editor.
Hilliard was also president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 1993–94.
At a young age, William lived in Arkansas until age 8, then moving to Portland, Oregon.
As a youth, he applied for a job as a newspaper delivery boy for The Oregonian, but his application was rejected out of concerns that having a black delivery boy would not be acceptable to the paper’s white subscribers.
William A. Hilliard graduated from Benson Polytechnic High School, where he had worked on the school newspaper, and spent a year in the U.S. Navy after being drafted at the end of the Second World War.
He studied journalism at Vanport College (now Portland State University) and then at the University of Oregon, before transferring in 1950 to Pacific University, in Forest Grove, from which he graduated in 1952 with a degree in journalism.
During his time at Pacific, he was managing editor of the university’s then-weekly newspaper, The Pacific Index, starting in December 1950, and was the paper’s elected editor for the 1951–52 school year.
He died in Portland, Oregon.
William A. Hilliard passed away at 89 years old.