Remembering a Pioneer: William Raspberry

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson fondly remembers the black journalism pioneer who died this week at age 76. 

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The Washington Post/Getty Images

In his Washington Post column, Eugene Robinson fondly remembers the black journalism pioneer who died on July 17 at age 76.

Bill Raspberry wore his eminence well. In a city full of preening, self-centered journalistic royalty, he was a warm and generous prince who never deluded himself into thinking he knew all the answers. He is desperately missed.

William James Raspberry, who died Tuesday at 76, will be remembered by history as a brave and intrepid pioneer. In 1966, when he wrote his first column for The Post, there was really no model for him to imitate. Young black men did not speak their minds in the pages of the nation’s leading newspapers.

African American readers were first stunned, then thrilled, to see their lives and views reflected in what had been a white male bastion. Raspberry was in the first wave of an invasion of outsiders -- minorities and women -- who transformed American journalism.

Read Eugene Robinson's entire piece at the Washington Post.

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