Thursday, July 19, 2012

Power Of The Pen

Let me to take a moment to pay homage to the late William Raspberry who was a provocateur, gentle spirit and by most accounts a gentleman who used words effectively to shake conventional conversations. His artistry was so profound that it was not until you actually thought about what he said did you feel the power of his words. This profound wordsmith was my hero and a man - among men!

This legendary columnist died a few days ago and with his passing I wondered if this teacher to all who read his work really understood the significance of his presence. From my reading of his words I came to feel the spirit of this great man who cared profoundly about morality, and particularly parental responsibility. Now, I never met Mr. Raspberry but because of him I wanted to use words to affect the minds of men, and women.

It is hard to say how his importance to journalism will be measured. His headstone should say that he was one of the first widely syndicated African American columnists. He was a pioneer and a “role model”, a staunch advocate of civil rights who could also pick fights with what gets referred to as “the civil rights establishment.” You would have to add that he was also an advocate of civility.

This man did not meet the stereotypes of what a “black commentator” was supposed to be as often times he was characterized as a conservative. But Mr. Raspberry simply had a passion for justice, especially where poor children were concerned. It was a passion that refused to be contained by ideological boxes or by the expectations of others about what he was supposed to be writing.

This powerful African American writer was built with bravery. He was consistent in his opposition to the Iraq war and injustice, which was a rare in the world of commentary. His questions about why we were going to war were both basic and sophisticated, rooted in the common sense that characterized all his work.

I have often heard the unanswerable question; “if a tree falls in the woods and no one was there – could it be heard”. With respect to this literary giant – there is a load sound and the vibration shakes the world. Someone once said, “I might not be the one who changes the world but I can change the mind of the one who will change the world”. That is what you did Mr. Raspberry!

You were my hero and thank you for your contribution. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

Legacy – A New Season the sequel is now available on Kindle with the hard copy released July 20th.

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