Raymond H. Boone, Free Press founder, to be honored

Joey Matthews | 10/10/2014, 6 a.m.
Raymond Boone Sr., who died at age 76 in June after battling pancreatic cancer, is being honored this week for ...

Look up the words “freedom fighter” on Wikipedia, and you’re apt to see a picture of Raymond H. Boone.

The late Free Press editor/publisher spent more than a half-century on an uncompromising mission to secure rights for African-Americans and communities of color as a journalist, newspaper leader and social justice advocate.

Mr. Boone, who died at age 76 in June after battling pancreatic cancer, is being honored this week for his unflinching civil rights work by the Richmond NAACP.

The commemoration is Friday at the Richmond NAACP’s 2014 Freedom Fund Gala Dinner and Awards Program, Richmond NAACP branch President Sylvia Wood has announced.

“Mr. Boone advocated for the little people,” Ms. Wood said Monday. “He had a voice in the city of Richmond and people listened to him. He spoke truth to power.”

The gala is being held at the Richmond Marriott, 500 E. Broad St. in Downtown.

A 6 p.m. reception will be followed by a dinner at 7 and a program.

The banquet’s theme: “Advocating for Justice and Equality — The Struggle Continues.”

Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Dana T. Bedden will deliver the keynote address.

Seven other community members and a nonprofit organization are to be honored in addition to Mr. Boone. They are:

Economic Development: Malcolm E. Thomas, CEO of Ty’s Hauling and Paving on South Side; Excellence in Education: Dr. Claude G. Perkins, president of Virginia Union University; Health Education: Juan M. Pierce Sr., executive director at Minority Health Consortium Inc.; Housing Education: Jerryl E. Bennett, housing director and diversity advocate at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Religious Affairs: Dr. Rodney D. Waller, pastor at First African Baptist Church on North Side; Voter Empowerment: Betty L. Squire, former City Council member and voter registration advocate; NAACP Youth: Meta Staten, former president of the Richmond NAACP Youth Council; and Youth Work: Roses and Wings Mentoring Program.

Tickets to the event are $50.

Details: (804) 505-0083.