John Kilimanjaro, the founder of the Carolina Peacemaker, was being remembered fondly far and wide on Wednesday, March 27, after his death at the age of 88 Wednesday morning.
In 1967, Kilimanjaro founded the weekly newspaper that has, for more than a half a century, provided news in Greensboro with a focus on the African-American community.
As a former professor at NC A&T State University, he influenced many students over the years.
Those who knew Kilimanjaro were paying their respects Wednesday and the story of his death was national news with coverage by the New York Timesand other national media outlets.
Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston, who’s been a prominent force in Greensboro’s African-American community for years, said Wednesday that the Carolina Peacemakerhas been a valuable asset to the city and is extremely important to the black community.
Alston went on to speak very highly of Kilimanjaro.
“He was one of my mentors,” Alston said. “I always considered him the wise man. He was very thought provoking. He always came down on the side of reason; he always gave smart advice.”
Alston said that, to a large extent, Kilimanjaro and the Peacemakerhelped shape his career.
“They gave me a lot of notoriety,” Alston said, referring to his own rise in Greensboro in the ‘80s. “If it wasn’t for the Carolina Peacemaker, I wouldn’t have gotten that notoriety.”
The commissioner said Kilimanjaro and the paper were always “fair.” He said it supported him at times and criticized him at other times.
On Wednesday, US Rep. Mark Walker issued a statement on Kilimanjaro that highlighted some important aspects of his life and referred to him as a trailblazer.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of John Kilimanjaro,” the statement read. “Mr. Kilimanjaro was a fierce trailblazer and community leader who served the greater Greensboro area with honor and distinction for decades.”
Walker’s statement pointed out that Kilimanjaro was an acclaimed promoter of education and the arts and also stated that the Peacemakerhas given, and still gives, African-Americans “a voice and an outlet.” The statement goes on to note that he founded the theater arts program at A&T as well as the NC Black Publisher’s Association.
“Kilimanjaro was a courageous public servant who always fought for truth and justice, even in difficult times,” Walker stated. “While his leadership will be missed in North Carolina, his legacy will live on.”