Ray Boone began the Richmond Free Press in 1992. He was a tireless advocate for free speech and civil rights in the Richmond community.
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) -
Raymond H. Boone, veteran journalist and the founder of weekly newspaper the Richmond Free Press, has died. He succumbed to pancreatic cancer in his home Tuesday, June 3.
In addition to founding the Richmond Free Press, Boon was a veteran newspaper reporter and former associate professor of journalism at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he taught for nearly nine years.
Boone started Richmond Free Press in January of 1992. The publications has received numerous awards over the years from a range of organizations, including the Virginia Press Association, the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, and the National Newspaper Publishers Association. It currently boasts 135,000 weekly readers.
Organizations and publications from around the country bestowed a variety of awards and honors upon Boone; he was the recipient of the 2006 Oliver W. Hill Freedom Fighter Award, the Virginia NAACP’s highest honor; the 2006 DaimlerChrysler Entrepreneurial Award as well as a 2006 first-place Virginia Press Association editorial writing award.
Boone was also well-known in the Richmond community for his outspoken views. In 2013, The Richmond Free Press dropped the Redskins nickname for the Washington NFL team from its pages, calling it racist.
"We want to make it absolutely clear that the Richmond Free Press does not endorse or promote that outrageous nickname," Boone said of the change.
Boone married his wife Jean in 1966; they have two children, Regina Helen Boone and Raymond H. Boone, Jr.
Congressman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott was one of the first public figures to issue a statement on Boone's passing. In part, it read: "I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Ray Boone. Ray was a pioneer and a fixture in the Virginia Press Corps. The Richmond Free Press, which Ray founded more than 20 years ago, has been an important source of news and information for the Richmond community, often covering issues and stories left unnoticed by larger media organizations. While he was my friend, Ray was always a newsman first and never hesitated to hold my feet to the fire on issues important to the Richmond community."
Senator Tim Kaine also expressed his sadness at Boone's death:
"Richmond lost a crusading journalist today with the death of Ray Boone. My thoughts are with Jean, Raymond, Regina and the Free Press family."
Senator Mark Warner offered his condolencesces and words of respect, as well:
"Mr. Boone represented the very best of aggressive, community-based advocacy journalism. His career as a newspaperman and then as a professor of journalism would have been more than enough for most people, but instead Mr. Boone founded the Richmond Free Press in 1992 to provide a voice for the voiceless. I offer my condolences and respects to his wife, Jean, and to Ray's family, friends, employees and readers."
Mayor Dwight C. Jones issued the following statement:
"The passing of Ray Boone really marks the end of a personality who was an integral part of our city. His stalwart support for the black community, for economic justice and fairness paved the way for change in so many ways. As Founder/Editor/Publisher of the Richmond Free Press, week after week, he offered many a window into the world of black Richmond. He provided visibility for people who might otherwise be invisible to some. He voiced concerns and desires in ways that might not otherwise have gotten expressed. When I think of Ray, the word that comes to mind for me is 'crusader.' It's clear to me that Ray Boone was a giant of a personality that won't soon be forgotten. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones during this time of loss."
Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement today following the passing of Richmond Free Press founder, editor and publisher Raymond H. Boone:
"Raymond Boone was a singular figure in the history of journalism and politics in Virginia. His was a life devoted to justice, equality and a well-informed public discourse, and I know that commitment will live on thanks to his leadership at the Richmond Free Press. Dorothy and I are keeping Raymond's wife Jean and all of their family and friends in our prayers today as we mourn the passing of a true Virginia legend."
A wake will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Monday, June 9 at St. Philip's Episcopal Church, 2900 Hanes Ave., Richmond, Va. 23222. Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, June 10 at 12:30 p.m. at New Deliverance Evangelistic Church, 1701 Turner Road, North Chesterfield, Va. 23225.
Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond Related Stories: