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Legacy of 'The Facts' publisher lives on as new voices in media amplify his contributions

Converge Media founder Omari Salisbury pays homage to Fitzgerald Beaver, who founded "The Facts" newspaper in 1961. #k5evening

SEATTLE — When Fitzgerald Beaver arrived in Seattle, he noticed it no longer had a newspaper that catered to the black community. 

So on Sept. 7, 1961, he launched "The Facts".

"He picks up where the daily news drops off. That was his thing," his daughter Marla Beaver shared. "It's always been positive news."

RELATED: Celebrating Black History Month

Marla was just a little girl when she started working for her dad and his newspaper. For many years, she watched and learned. But she never imagined those skills would come in handy so soon in life. 

In January of 1992, he passed away. Fitzgerald's wife, Elizabeth Beaver, kept "The Facts" going, and her daughters Marla and LaVonne eventually picked up the torch. 

It's been 61 years, making "The Facts" the oldest Seattle newspaper serving the black community.

And while Beaver, the founder and publisher has been gone for 30 years, his legacy continues to expand. 

Omari Salisbury, with Converge Media, credits Beaver for planting the seeds that got him here. 

Converge produces digital content specifically for the Northwest's black community.

"One of the first jobs my dad had was a staff photographer at "The Facts" newspaper," Salisbury shared. "My father's dream was to open a photography studio and Mr. Beaver is the one who put my dad in business."

Omari said watching his dad's career, inspired his own. 

After graduating from college, he traveled the world working in media.  

"When I returned to the U.S. in 2016, I knew there was a gap in our community and one of the biggest gaps was delivery of content in a video format," Salisbury explained.

Converge now produces 13 shows, including a daily morning show that streams live. 

And he's already shaking things up. 

KING 5 interviewed him after his investigative reporting led to a discovery that the Seattle police department used a legal, but uncommon ruse during the Black Lives Matter protest of 2020.

And right after the swearing in of Seattle's new Mayor, it was Omari who got the first question.

"My first question was, 'What are you going to do for black people?' And that's the importance of being there," Salisbury shared. "If we weren't there, who was going to ask that question?" 

Salisbury said he would not be where he is today without Beaver blazing the trail and lifting others up, like his father. 

"You will never find us saying we got here by ourselves. We didn't." 

So when Omari invited the Beaver family to his studio for a new project, he first wanted to say thank you. 

"It is such an honor and a pleasure to have you and your family here in our studios today. Ever since I was a little kid, the legacy of Mr. Beaver loomed large," Salisbury shared with Marla. "We literally stand upon these very broad shoulders and here we were 60 years ago, he started "The Facts", helped my dad get into business. Here I am at Converge, my son is studying broadcasting at Loyola."

Mr. Beaver's granddaughter is also following in her trailblazing family's footsteps.   

The UW Student writes a column for the newspaper, called W.O.W. (Words of Wisdom) by Char.

"We are all self-taught and the beauty of that is that we have been able to sustain," Chardonnay Beaver said. 

The bylines may have changed over the years, but the FACTS remains a family business with a rich history generations can draw from for inspiration.  

"I tell Marla Beaver all the time, I hope we are doing her father's legacy justice," Salisbury shared. "I hope we are working hard enough. I hope we are creating enough opportunities for other people."

"It feels good to be part of and to carry the legacy that my dad had started," Beaver said. "I wish he was here to see that, you know? I'll have to talk to him!" 

KING 5's Evening celebrates the Northwest. Contact us: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email.

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