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William Raspberry

Newspaper columnist William Raspberry is a highly regarded journalist whose twice-weekly columns for The Washington Post are syndicated around the country. Born on October 12, 1935, in Okolona, Mississippi, Raspberry has won the respect and admiration of his media peers for his opinions and reporting.

Raspberry earned a B.S. degree from Indiana Central College in 1958, and from 1960 to 1962 worked in Washington, D.C., as a public information officer with the U.S. Army. After finishing his military service, Raspberry took a job with The Washington Post as a teletypist. Within a few months, he had moved up to writing obituary notices. Raspberry later joined the paper’s city desk, first as a reporter and later as an assistant editor.

In 1966, Raspberry took over The Washington Post’s “Potomac Watch” column, which concerned local issues. During his tenure, Raspberry molded the column to fit his own interests, which included such topics as drug abuse, criminal justice and minority issues. Independent in tone, neither liberal nor conservative in philosophy, Raspberry consistently wrote on the importance of human responsibility and self-esteem.

Raspberry’s columns have earned him numerous awards and much praise, particularly from his colleagues and peers. The Capitol Press Club named him Journalist of the Year for 1965 for his reporting on the Watts Riot in Los Angeles. A longtime member of the Pulitzer Prize Board, Raspberry was nominated for journalism’s highest honor in 1982. He finally won the award in 1994 for Distinguished Commentary.

In 1991, Raspberry published Looking Backward at Us, a book of columns that touch on the themes of education, poverty, drugs, racism and parenting. Raspberry has also taught journalism at Howard University, and is a frequent panelist on television talk shows. He resides in Washington, D.C.

William Raspberry passed away on July 17, 2012.

Accession Number

A2003.224

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/27/2003

Last Name

Raspberry

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Meridian Street School

Okolona Technical College High School

University of Indianapolis

Search Occupation Category
First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Okolona

HM ID

RAS01

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

Mark D. Goodman

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere New

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

10/12/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Greens (Collard)

Death Date

7/17/2012

Short Description

Newspaper columnist William Raspberry (1935 - 2012 ) writes twice-weekly columns for 'The Washington Post,' which are syndicated around the country. In 1991, Raspberry published 'Looking Backward at Us', a book of columns that touch on the themes of education, poverty, drugs, racism and parenting.

Employment

Indianapolis Recorder

United States Army

Washington Post

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Raspberry interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Raspberry's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Raspberry remembers his father

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Raspberry remembers his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Raspberry describes his family life

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Raspberry recalls his childhood environs

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Raspberry recalls an incident from his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Raspberry begins to discuss his school life

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Raspberry recalls the school structure for African Americans in Okolona, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Raspberry lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Raspberry remembers influential teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Raspberry describes his foray into journalism

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Raspberry outlines the development of his career in journalism

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Raspberry recalls his coverage of the 1965 Watts riots

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Raspberry describes the professional networks of African American journalists

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Raspberry discusses the history of African Americans in journalism

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Raspberry discusses his family

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Raspberry describes highlights in his career

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Raspberry reflects on receiving the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Raspberry notes his fields of interest

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William Raspberry reflects on recent scandals in journalism

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William Raspberry considers issues of ethics for African American journalists

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William Raspberry considers his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William Raspberry considers the state of black affairs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$3

DAStory

7$1

DATitle
William Raspberry recalls an incident from his childhood
William Raspberry describes the professional networks of African American journalists
Transcript
What kind of youngster were you?$$Perfect of course. I was, I was probably pretty, pretty average. I was a happy kid, playful, a little bit mischievous.$$Tell us about some things you did.$$Oh, one of the things I, I, I didn't know about till later and it wasn't mischievous it was actually kind of sweet if you think about it. My mom [Willie Mae Tucker Raspberry] had a little flower garden of which she was inordinately proud and I loved my mom and I must have been about three when I presented her with some flowers, a bouquet. I just thought, I wanted her to know how much I cared for her. And she accounts that I had gone out into her garden and picked off all her favorite flowers, destroying the garden and bringing them to her. And she didn't know--she managed to make me think I'd done the sweetest thing in the world. And I always thought that, that was so, so wonderful of her. I mean it was, it was, I guess she figured I--she couldn't scotch tape them back. But it, it must have hurt that I had wrecked her garden but she never let me know that I'd, that I'd done this. And all she, all she saw was my intent and, and she honored the intent and that--it was a lesson for me.$$What was the lesson?$$That you can get, you can get hung up on things and forget, and forget what's, what lies behind what people do. And if you can look at, if you can look at your children, if you can look at each other and pay more, a little more attention to the intent of what we do and not just its effect, we may, it doesn't make us like everything that's done but it does make us more forgiving and makes it easier to move on.$Tell me a little bit about how you made contact with other journalists at major newspapers in the country.$$In those early days and again we're talking early 1960s now, it's no exaggeration to say that the African American reporters on white dailies knew each other. I mean Tom [Thomas A.] Johnson at the '[New York] Times', Paul Delaney at the '[Washington D.C.] Star' or Ernie Holtz (ph.) is at 'Dolph' (ph.), you know (pauses) Earl Caldwell, and we, we, we knew each other at, at the very least by name and reputation because there just weren't that many. Then we, as I say the recruitment changed. I mean up to that point you basically had people who were crazy enough to think that in this really still pretty much segregated business, it made sense to try to enter daily journalism. Then the major newspapers started recruiting and the numbers started to grow some largely I would say as insurance against the prospective, a prospective riot. And then at some papers including the 'Washington [D.C.] Post', reporters found themselves, black reporters found themselves sort of on hold waiting for the riot, not really getting, being considered for promotions and not often being considered for other kinds of work that was not race specific. And one of the, one of the major episodes was an uprising by some of the young reporters, the 'Metro Seven' we called them at the 'Washington Post' making a series of demands and some change came out of that. But as the numbers started to grow it seemed important to, to begin a more formal kind of networking and, and so was born the National Association of Black Journalists. And as a corollary of that some local, the Washington Association of Black Journalists and the Atlanta [Georgia] Association of Black--and so on. But now I mean one, one of, one of the, the many heartening things now is to go to an NABJ [National Association of Black Journalists] national convention and see one of the convention hotels teaming with young, bright, aggressive, confident journalists who, whose names you didn't hear before and who are going to be you know doing all kinds of things. It's, I mean I, I think the future is in good hands. We, we, we still complain that the numbers don't reflect our presence in, in the, in the, in the community but they're better by far than they were when I came along. And, and the kids are so good that I, I'm, I'm confident that, that we're going to do well in the future.

The Honorable DeLawrence Beard

The Honorable DeLawrence Beard was born in Okolona, Arkansas, on December 26, 1937. Graduating from high school in 1956, Beard joined the Navy, and served until 1959, when he was honorably discharged. He then enrolled in the University of Missouri, where he received a B.A. in political science in 1964. Beard began law school at Missouri in 1964, but withdrew a year later. He would later go on to enter the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1967, earning a J.D. in 1970. In 1977, Beard graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center with an LL.M.

After earning his B.A., Beard joined IBM Corporation in Washington, D.C., where he was a senior marketing representative. Even after earning his law degree, Beard stayed on with IBM, finally going on to practice law in 1974. That year, he began as a prosecutor, first in juvenile court, and the next year, moving to felony cases. By 1978, Beard had moved to the position of senior assistant state's attorney for Montgomery County, Maryland, supervising a team of attorneys and prosecuting serious offenses. Continuing his climb, Beard became a judge in the District Court for Montgomery County in 1982, and in 1984 became an associate judge to the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Maryland, which is also the appellate court. In 1996, Beard advanced to the position of chief judge for the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court, where he remains today.

Beard is also currently an adjunct professor of law at both the University of Maryland and American University in Washington, D.C. He has lectured to incarcerated individuals, giving them advice on life skills. Beard is a member of several Bar Associations and has received a Governor's Citation in 1998 for meritorious service to the state of Maryland.

Beard is married to Lillian, a pediatrician.

Accession Number

A2003.092

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/26/2003

Last Name

Beard

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Cole Elementary School

Cote Brilliante Elementary School

Charles H. Sumner High School

University of Missouri

University of Baltimore

Georgetown University Law Center

First Name

DeLawrence

Birth City, State, Country

Okolona

HM ID

BEA03

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Mazatlan, Mexico

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/26/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Spicy Food

Short Description

Circuit court judge The Honorable DeLawrence Beard (1937 - ) is a chief judge for the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court of Maryland. Beard is also an adjunct professor of law at the University of Maryland and American University.

Employment

IBM

Montgomery County, Maryland

Montgomery County District Court

Maryland Sixth Judicial Circuit Court

Mueller's

United States Navy

Remmert and Werner

McDonnell Aircraft

Internal Revenue Service

Human Development Corporation

George Washington University

Washington College of Law--American University.

University of Maryland, College Park

Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
0,0:2176,47:2432,52:4032,85:4352,91:4608,96:12119,199:14732,267:15000,272:15268,277:19020,364:20494,416:32212,552:33524,576:60392,1108:61085,1120:67952,1351:70283,1423:80700,1605:81190,1617:91650,1730$0,0:10638,140:26993,291:27609,300:29226,324:29534,329:29996,339:32691,408:33384,419:45278,569:46046,591:46302,596:46622,603:49822,686:53214,789:53470,794:61840,904:62452,916:66056,1012:66328,1017:66872,1030:71690,1074:84454,1265:86698,1324:86970,1329:87242,1334:87854,1346:102370,1531:103558,1557:110730,1649:111726,1666:113137,1718:120573,1794:124640,1846:126370,1854:130079,1911:136966,2040:139664,2098:141794,2136:148730,2229:152054,2282:155898,2375:158950,2407:159582,2417:165840,2480:167240,2514:169340,2555:172420,2651:172910,2659:173540,2672:173820,2677:178020,2766:184842,2839:193016,3017:203090,3145:206444,3216:209876,3302:218956,3432:219716,3447:220856,3464:221540,3477:222300,3492:223440,3509:228934,3570:229286,3582:237083,3678:237401,3685:247198,3947:248030,3985:249118,4011:254734,4082:256632,4114:267962,4333:275318,4460:275894,4469:277090,4481
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of DeLawrence Beard's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - DeLawrence Beard lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - DeLawrence Beard describes his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - DeLawrence Beard describes the town of Okolona, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - DeLawrence Beard describes why his family left Okolona, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - DeLawrence Beard describes what he knows about his grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - DeLawrence Beard describes his father's background and occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - DeLawrence Beard describes his father's interests

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - DeLawrence Beard describes his mother's family and her personality

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - DeLawrence Beard describes his exposure to arts and culture in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - DeLawrence Beard describes how his parents met and why they moved to St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - DeLawrence Beard describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - DeLawrence Beard describes the segregated communities in St. Louis, Missouri in the 1940s and 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - DeLawrence Beard describes the segregated school system in St. Louis, Missouri and hearing of the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - DeLawrence Beard describes attending Cole Elementary School and Cote Brilliante Elementary School in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - DeLawrence Beard describes his experience at Charles H. Sumner High School in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - DeLawrence Beard describes being motivated by Jackie Robinson and by his teachers at Charles H. Sumner High School in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - DeLawrence Beard describes being informed and inspired by the black press and his teachers at Charles H. Sumner High School in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - DeLawrence Beard explains his intentions after graduating from high school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - DeLawrence Beard describes his interest in sports and music at Charles H. Sumner High School in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - DeLawrence Beard reflects on how his childhood neighborhood has changed

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - DeLawrence Beard describes his plans for the future during high school and his employment after graduating in January 1956

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - DeLawrence Beard describes enlisting in the United States Navy after graduating from high school

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - DeLawrence Beard describes being transported to the Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA-42 aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - DeLawrence Beard describes being transported to the Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA-42 aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - DeLawrence Beard describes his experiences on the Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA-42 aircraft carrier and his decision to attend college

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - DeLawrence Beard describes enrolling and working part-time jobs at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - DeLawrence Beard discusses his understanding of politics while at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - DeLawrence Beard describes being hired by the Internal Revenue Service in 1964

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - DeLawrence Beard talks about moving to Washington, D.C. and being hired by IBM

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - DeLawrence Beard describes marrying HistoryMaker Dr. Lillian M. Beard and re-attending law school

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - DeLawrence Beard talks about his awareness of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - DeLawrence Beard recalls the civil rights progress he witnessed in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - DeLawrence Beard explains why he became a lawyer

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - DeLawrence Beard reflects upon how his marriage and changing cultural attitudes about race motivated him through law school

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - DeLawrence Beard describes his experience at the Georgetown University School of Law in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - DeLawrence Beard describes the positions he held in the Maryland legal system, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - DeLawrence Beard describes the positions he held in the Maryland legal system, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - DeLawrence Beard describes the law courses he taught

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - DeLawrence Beard describes his judicial philosophy

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - DeLawrence Beard describes the demographics of Montgomery County, Maryland and presiding over naturalization ceremonies

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - DeLawrence Beard describes a case he presided over concerning spousal privilege

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - DeLawrence Beard describes a double murder case and a tenant-landlord case he presided over

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - DeLawrence Beard shares his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - DeLawrence Beard shares his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - DeLawrence Beard reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - DeLawrence Beard describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - DeLawrence Beard narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

1$5

DATitle
DeLawrence Beard describes being transported to the Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA-42 aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean, pt. 2
DeLawrence Beard describes a case he presided over concerning spousal privilege
Transcript
So, on the highline when the ships roll toward each other, the line is slacking, the chair goes down. So, you may be 10 or 12 feet above the top of the ocean, okay. But, then when they roll toward each other, obviously they gonna, at one time or another, roll away from each other. And, the consequence of that is, it tightens and you go up in the air, so from being 10 feet off the ocean, you're 75 feet off the ocean, okay. This happens a couple of times and the first time you do it, it's kinda interesting, but after that, you know, boom. So, ultimately, I caught my ship, which is the Roosevelt [Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA-42]. It was a carrier, and I believe it was in Naples [Italy]. It was either Naples or Marseille, France, one of the two, I can't remember. But--no, no, I--we landed in Naples and I got onboard the [U.S.S.] Aucilla and that's when I was transported to a little ship, which landed near the Roosevelt. But, it was rather interesting because growing up in St. Louis [Missouri], the biggest or largest body of water I've ever seen was the Mississippi River. And, the land is essentially flat. It's part of the Great Plaines. I've never seen a mountain, so when we see Mount Vesuvius, as we're flying into Naples, it's a revelation. I've never seen a mountain before. I've seen pictures of mountains, and I thought that was interesting. I've never seen the ocean before, and there I am almost in the ocean. So, it was a revelation and something I'll never forget. And, I'll never forget seeing an aircraft carrier for the first time too, you know, huge. But, I was aboard that ship for a couple of, couple of years and we moved, you know, from Greece, to Sicily, and Southern France, Italy.$Okay. Are there any particularly interesting cases that you can talk about, that, you know, in general terms?$$Some are significant from a legal standpoint and some are not, I would say, they're not legally significant but they got a lot of notoriety, okay. From a legal standpoint, I can think of probably two within the last couple of years. Most people haven't even heard of them, but one involved the concept of spousal privilege. In other words, any communication between spouses cannot be use in a court of law, against one of them. Obviously, in a divorced case what they say to each other, because they're both parties, that's an adversarial situation. But, in a criminal prosecution, you can't use communications between spouses as part of the prosecutor's evidence. Well, this case involved physical abuse and assault, serious assault. The husband was charged with, with assaulting his wife to the point of hospitalization and so forth and so on. Prior to the event, they'd been living in the same house. But, essentially occupying separate bedrooms and only using common facilities like the kitchen and so forth and so on. Something happened, he beat her up rather badly. He was criminally prosecuted for it and she testified against him. A spouse, again, is not a compellable witness. She couldn't have been made by the court or the prosecutor to testify against her husband, but she wanted to testify against him. So, there was no way of preventing that. That is, he could not have prevented it. But, during the period of time between the event and the trial, he had actually called her on the telephone. And, what he said was, he was sorry that he had beaten her up. He apologized and that he regretted his conduct and he wanted her to take him back. And, her response was, don't call me again. I'll see you in court. Which she did. But, when her testimony was offered, her lawyer attempted to get in that apology, I mean, not her lawyer, the prosecutor wanted to get in the apology over the telephone, which is sort of like an admission or declaration against one's punitive interest, when he says that. Anytime, you apologize for doing something, it's essential the same as admitting it. Right. I'm sorry I stole the cookies, you know, and that kind of thing. So, anyway, the defense lawyer said, this is a privileged communication between a husband and wife. It cannot be used. The prosecutor's position was, the whole purpose of the privilege with respect to marital communications is to save the marriage. Judge, this wasn't a marriage (laughter). They were--they were just sharing a house, they were legally connected to each other, but for all practical purposes. Substantively, this was not a marriage. There's nothing to protect. It would be engaging in the practice of futility to exclude this. Besides, here's a statement, but it falls within an exception which makes it admissible called the declaration against one's punitive interest. So, I bought that argument. I allowed it in. And, he was convicted. An appeal was filed. And, it ultimately went up to our highest court, The Court of Appeals. And they said, you know, essentially the privileged communications, privileged communications of the concept of privileged communications between a husband and wife, irrespective of the way the relationship is functioning, it's sacrosanct. And, until the legislature changes it, it remains live and well in this state. It was inappropriate to allow it. The conviction is reversed and it was sent back. That got, a little publicity. Whether it was right or wrong, I don't know. But, this is the way the court system functions. And, this is what trail judges do, you know. Was the guy safe or was he out. You have to call 'em, you know. There's no video tape in the courtroom. Well, you use to be able to say there's no videotape in the courtroom. I'm not sure you can say that anymore. But, but the point is, when you have to make the decision, you have to make it then and there, okay. And, there may be some reason, a good reason, for making it, but sometimes there's no option. There are no (unclear) options, it's either is or it isn't. He's either safe or he's out. It's either a ball or a strike, okay. And, you either let the evidence in or you exclude it, okay. And, the Appellate Courts have to review it and determine the propriety of it, okay. And, that was sort of socially significant.