Former Fresno Councilman Les Kimber dies


Les Kimber, who co-founded the California Advocate Newspaper and was a strong activist for racial equality, died Saturday after an undisclosed illness. He was 80.

Kimber served two terms on the Fresno City Council, from 1983-1991.

A native of Boonville, North Carolina, moved to Fresno in 1966 with his wife, Pauline, a Fresno native. In 1967, he co-founded the California Advocate newspaper, and served as the paper’s publisher, and a leading African-American voice in the community.

Kimber also helped organize the annual Martin Luther King Jr. March in Downtown Fresno. His face was always a familiar one along the route. "One of the main lessons we have not yet learned is Dr. King's emphasis on how hate devastates this society and keeps us from being the America it ought to be," Kimber told the local ABC affiliate in a 2007 interview.

“Les was a dear friend, mentor and advisor. His wise counsel to me over the years was invaluable,” said council president Oliver Baines in a statement. “We have lost a true pioneer who lead many efforts to make our community a better place.”