William Raspberry

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William James Raspberry
William Raspberry 2009.jpg
Born October 12, 1935
Okolona, Mississippi, United States
Died July 17, 2012(2012-07-17) (aged 76)
Washington, D.C.
Occupation Journalist
Residence Washington, D. C.
Education Indiana Central College, B.S. 1958 (History)
Notable awards
Spouse Sondra Patricia Raspberry (née Dodson) (m. 1966–2012)
  • Patricia D. Raspberry
  • Mark J. Raspberry
  • Angela Raspberry Jackson
  • foster son, Reginald Harrison

William Raspberry (October 12, 1935 – July 17, 2012) was an American syndicated public affairs columnist. He was also the Knight Professor of the Practice of Communications and Journalism at the Sanford Institute of Public Policy at Duke University. An African American, he frequently wrote on racial issues.

In 1999, Raspberry received the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award as well as an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Colby College.

After earning a B.S. in history at the University of Indianapolis in 1958, Raspberry continued to work at the local weekly Indianapolis Recorder where he had begun in 1956, rising to associate managing editor. He was drafted and served as a U.S. Army public information officer from 1960-1962. The Washington Post hired him as a teletypist in 1962.[1] Raspberry quickly rose in the ranks of the paper, becoming a columnist in 1966. Raspberry was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1982, and won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1994.

Raspberry supported gay rights, writing at least one column condemning gay-bashing.[5][6][7] He argued against certain torts and complaints from the disabled.[8] Ragged Edge, a disabled-rights publication, published complaints from letters to the editor that the Post did not print.[7]

Raspberry retired in December 2005.[9] He provided the Washington Post a guest column on November 11, 2008, commenting on the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States.[10]

As of 2008, he was president of "Baby Steps", a parent training and empowerment program based in Okolona, Mississippi.[10] Raspberry was an alumnus of Okolona College.[11]

He is the author of Looking Backward at Us, a collection of his columns from the 1980s. Raspberry died of prostate cancer on July 17, 2012,[1] aged 76.


  1. ^ a b c Schudel, Matt (July 17, 2012). "William Raspberry dies: Washington Post columnist wrote about social issues including race, poverty". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-07-17. 
  2. ^ Hevesi, Dennis (July 17, 2012). "William Raspberry, Prizewinning Columnist, Dies at 76". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-01-19. 
  3. ^ "William Raspberry dies at 76; prize-winning columnist". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. July 18, 2012. Retrieved 2014-01-19. 
  4. ^ "William Raspberry". Contemporary Authors Online (fee, via Fairfax County Public Library). Detroit: Gale. 2012. Gale Document Number: GALE|H1000081181. Retrieved 2014-01-20.  Biography in Context. (subscription required)
  5. ^ Archive Search for "William Raspberry" gay, archival list of William Raspberry's columns on gay issues at the Washington Post 1993-2005.
  6. ^ Raspberry, William (November 2, 1998). "What Are Gay-Bashers Afraid Of?" (fee). Washington Post. p. A.19. Retrieved 2014-01-20. 
  7. ^ a b "News Bites Gimps: Raspberry's target denied response in print". Ragged Edge. March–April 1999. Retrieved 2014-01-20. 
  8. ^ Raspberry, William. Claims Against Common Sense. November 16, 1998, Washington Post via archive accessed May 23, 2009.
  9. ^ Raspberry, William. What I'll Do Next. December 26, 2005, Washington Post. Accessed May 23, 2009.
  10. ^ a b Raspberry, William. A Path Beyond Grievance. November 11, 2008, Washington Post. Accessed May 23, 2009.
  11. ^ "African American educator and 1901 graduate Wallace A. Battle to be honored at Berea College Founders' Day Oct. 12 - Media Relations & News". berea.edu. 

External links

  • William Raspberry's column in The Washington Post
  • Raspberry's Duke University Homepage
  • William Raspberry curriculum vitae dated 2008/08/12
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
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