Raymond H. Boone was the founder, editor and publisher of the Richmond Free Press, a progressive, prize-winning weekly newspaper with a readership of more than 135,000 from January 1992 until his death on June 3, 2014.
The Free Press, under Boone’s leadership, became the most honored newspaper in the Richmond region. He was the recipient of the 2006 Oliver W. Hill Freedom Fighter Award, the Virginia NAACP’s highest honor; the 2006 DaimlerChrysler Entrepreneurial Award; a 2006 first-place Virginia Press Association editorial writing award that recognized his skill in giving a strong voice to the voiceless; and the 2006 International Toastmasters’ Leadership Award. He also received the recipient of the 2005 A. Philip Randolph Messenger Award “for publishing excellence in civil rights.” In 2003, the Free Press won eight national awards for journalistic excellence from the National Newspaper Publisher’s Association.
In recognition of his “exceptional achievement” in the newspaper industry, Boone was inducted into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame at Virginia Commonwealth University on April 6, 2000.
In 1998, Richmond Magazine named him to its list of “100 Power Players” in Central Virginia. In 1999, Style Magazine, in partnership with the Valentine Museum, named Boone among Richmond’s “Movers and Shapers” of the 20th century.
Boone was an associate professor of journalism at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he taught for nearly nine years before starting the publication of the Free Press in 1992. The Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Fla., honored him for his "outstanding teaching in journalism." Black Enterprise magazine once hailed his brand of journalism as a model for the survival of black newspapers in America.
Prior to joining the Howard faculty, Boone was editor and vice president of the Baltimore-based Afro-American Newspaper Group. Time magazine has credited him with bringing "sophistication and verve" to the black press. He also was a reporter for the Norfolk Journal and Guide. He also had daily newspaper experience, having worked as a reporter for the Quincy (Mass.) Patriot-Ledger and the Suffolk (Va.) News-Herald.
While serving as a Pulitzer Prize juror on two separate occasions, he spearheaded a successful effort that resulted in the placement of African-Americans and women on the Pulitzer Board at Columbia University.
As a correspondent for the National Newspaper Publishers Association, Boone wrote from Germany, Finland, the former Soviet Union, Israel and Cuba. Former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder appointed him to the Virginia Commission on Campaign Finance Reform, Government Accountability and Ethics. He held life memberships in the NAACP and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. He was also a member of the National Association of Guardsmen.
A native of Suffolk, Va., Boone received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University and a master’s degree in political science from Howard University.
He was married to the former Jean Patterson of Columbia, S.C. and the father of two adult children, Regina Helen Boone and Raymond H. Boone, Jr.