NABJ Mourns the Loss of Veteran Columnist William Raspberry
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Posted by: Aprill Turner
WASHINGTON, DC (July 17, 2012) – The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) mourns
the loss of veteran Washington Post
columnist, Pulitzer Prize Winner, and recipient of the NABJ Lifetime
Achievement Award William Raspberry. He died Tuesday at the age of 76.
Raspberry’s career spanned nearly 60 years
beginning with various positions at The
Indianapolis Recorder, the city’s trailblazing African-American newspaper. He
would later join The Washington Post,
as a columnist in 1966 following service in the Armed Forces.
"NABJ is deeply saddened by the loss of
Bill Raspberry. While he may have authored the book "Looking Backward at Us,”
William Raspberry opened the hearts and minds of many as he compelled us to look at ourselves and to
look around at the world, right there in the moment. His thought-provoking
columns on social and political issues inspired readers to seek out truth, and
to seek change where they saw inequity and injustice,” said Gregory Lee Jr., NABJ
President and former Post colleague, from 1999-2004. "He blazed a trail
for many black journalists who followed him at The Post, and as a professor inspired those who will help lead us
tomorrow. His legacy should inspire us all. Our thoughts and prayers are of
course with his wife Sondra, and their family.”
"Bill was a wonderful
colleague, always had a smile and time to chat. He was generous with his
knowledge, sharing sources, writing tips and survival skills,” said Vanessa
Williams, fellow Washington Post colleague
and former NABJ President.
Raspberry’s first column appeared in the Metro section of The Post in 1966 before it later moved
to the opinion/editorial section. In syndication his column appeared in
hundreds of daily newspapers. His body of work earned him The Pulitzer Prize in
1994, and that same year he received NABJ’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Raspberry's last column ran December 26, 2005, though he penned a guest column
for the paper following the election of President Barack Obama. Raspberry was
the Knight Professor of the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy Studies at
Duke University. In 2006 he was inducted into the NABJ Hall of Fame.
"William Raspberry leaves a tremendous legacy in
word and deed for all journalists to follow. For decades, he fearlessly covered
issues of race and poverty -- topics many still shy away from today. The pages
of The Post and our society as a
whole were enriched by his contributions as a man and a black journalist,” said
Errin Haines, NABJ Vice President of Print and a newswoman at
The Associated Press' Atlanta bureau who covers race and Southern politics.
advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest
organization for journalists of color in the nation, and provides career
development as well as educational and other support to its members worldwide.