Famed columnist slated to speak Friday

By Katie Conway

Renowned Washington Post columnist William Raspberry will present a free lecture this week to NIU students as part of Black History Month.

Raspberry is slated to speak at 7 p.m. Friday in the Duke Ellington Ballroom at the Holmes Student Center. Admission is free and all are welcome.

April McLaughlin, treasurer of the Black Student Union, said she hopes Raspberry will appeal to all students.

“We originally wanted Raspberry, not only because he’s a prominent black male figure, but because he is a recognizable figure as a journalist,” she said. “We feel that he is approachable and acceptable to all, not only to blacks because of Black History Month but to a variety of people and majors.”

Born in Okolona, Miss., Raspberry earned a bachelor of arts degree in history from Indiana Central College, a Methodist institution now known as the University of Indianapolis.

Raspberry is an award-winning, nationally syndicated urban affairs columnist. Time magazine hailed Raspberry as “the most respected black voice of any white U.S. newspaper.”

He joined the Washington Post in 1962 following four years with the Indianapolis Recorder during 1956-1960 and two years in the U.S Army.

Raspberry has received awards from Lincoln University of Jefferson City, Mo. and the Baltimore/Washington Newspaper Guild. In 1965, Raspberry won the Capital Press Club’s “Journalist of the Year” award for his coverage of the Watt’s riots in Los Angeles.

Richard Digby-Junger, an assistant journalism professor, said, “We’re delighted that he’s coming, he’s a very talented writer. He’s someone in the center of the political situation in Washington, D.C. Students can learn firsthand what the situation in D.C is from someone who is there.”

George Gutierrez, director of the University Resources for Latinos, said, “We feel that someone with Raspberry’s credentials as a journalist serves as a good role model to students at NIU.”

Raspberry’s visit is being sponsored by 16 different student and academic organizations on campus including the Judicial Office, Colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Law, Business and Education and the journalism department.

Also sponsoring the visit are The Northern Star, Phi Sigma Kappa, Affirmative Action, the Student Association, the Center for Black Studies, the Residence Hall Council, Kappa Alpha Psi, the Black Student Union, University Resources for Latinos and NIU President John La Tourette’s office.