Funeral services are pending for Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist William Raspberry, who died Tuesday from complications of prostate cancer. He was 76.
Raspberry was the second Black columnist to win a Pulitzer. He wrote his opinion column for the Post for more than 40 years, and by the time he retired in 2005, in excess of 200 newspapers carried his column in syndication.
The product of a segregated upbringing in Mississippi, Raspberry began his journalism career as a reporter at the Black weekly, the Indianapolis Recorder. He worked there in positions of increasing importance before moving on to the Post as a teletypist in 1962.
After a few months, Raspberry became a general assignment reporter and eventually developed a wealth of knowledge writing on civil rights issues. He rejected the label “expert” and even initially turned down the opportunity to be a columnist, because he felt he might run out of ideas in three or four weeks. But the ideas flowed for decades, and Raspberry became one of the deans of Black journalism.