Garth C. Reeves, 100, Activist Newspaper Publisher, Is Dead


“He started to use the newspaper as a vehicle to express the kind of disgust he felt when he got back and nothing had changed,” said Mohamed Hamaludin, who was managing editor of The Times under Mr. Reeves for 15 years.

Mr. Reeves was working in the newspaper’s printing business when he and other young black men went to court in 1949 to challenge a city policy that allowed black people to play on Miami’s public golf courses only once a week — on Mondays, when the greens were watered. The case dragged on until 1958, but the city ultimately lost.

The next year, to challenge a Miami-Dade County policy under which black people could use only one public beach, in Virginia Key, Mr. Reeves and a friend went to a whites-only beach in Crandon Park, on the north end of Key Biscayne. Ignoring police threats, they waded into the water, but the police made no move to arrest them.

News of the men’s defiance of the color line and the lack of a police response inspired other black Miamians to begin using whatever beach they pleased.

Garth Basil Reeves III, who is 30, said his grandfather had instilled in him the values of advocacy journalism at a young age.

“Other children were told they could be astronauts or the president,” Mr. Reeves said in an interview. “I was told that I had a role to play in this community.”

The elder Mr. Reeves handed the paper to his son, Garth Reeves Jr., in 1980. But his son died of colon cancer at age 30, two years later, so the elder Mr. Reeves returned to the helm. His daughter, who had not been groomed as his successor — Mr. Reeves admitted that he had perhaps been a “chauvinist” — eventually took over.

At her funeral, Mr. Reeves, a century old, walked from the car to the front pew of the church and then back out, behind his daughter’s coffin.

Susan C. Beachy contributed research.

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