SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Former Indiana U.S. Rep. Katie Hall, a key sponsor of the 1983... More
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Former Indiana U.S. Rep. Katie Hall, a key sponsor of the 1983 legislation that established a national holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., has died. She was 73.
Hall's husband, John Henry Hall, said she died Monday at Methodist Hospitals' Northlake campus in Gary from an undisclosed illness.
Although she was just a freshman congresswoman at the time, Hall was credited with playing a key role in getting the King holiday approved after it stalled in the House the previous 14 years. She sought the chairmanship of a Post Office and Civil Service subcommittee so she could get the bill moving and held hearings, bringing in King's widow, Coretta, singer Stevie Wonder, Sen. Edward Kennedy and House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill.
"Sometimes when you get to the goal line it's good to go to someone fresh and new to take it over. She brought a freshness of approach, a spirit of reconciliation to what had sometimes been a bitter battle," Rep. William H. Gray III, a Philadelphia Democrat, said at the time.
John Henry Hall said his wife's work on that bill was the accomplishment of which she was most proud.
"She was there with President Reagan as well as Coretta Scott King and others when the president signed it. It was one of the highlights of her career, tremendously so," he said.
Katie Hall, who was Indiana's first black member in the U.S. House, was a school teacher and got involved in politics in 1962 shortly after moving to the city. In 1963 she worked on the campaign for Richard Hatcher when he first ran for City Council and helped with his campaign again four years later when ran for mayor of Gary, becoming one of the first black mayors of big U.S. city.
"That energized her and got her into politics," James Lane, a history professor at Indiana University Northwest in Gary.
She served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 1974-76 and in the Indiana Senate from 1976-82. When U.S. Rep. Adam Benjamin of northwestern Indiana's 1st District died suddenly in 1982, two months before the election, Hatcher was influential in persuading Democratic Party officials to nominate Hall to replace him, Lane said. She was picked over Benjamin's widow, Patricia, during a meeting at Hatcher's home. Hall won election to the remainder of Benjamin's term and a full two-year term on the same day in November.
Hall was defeated in the 1984 Democratic primary by Peter Visclosky, who has held the seat since. Visclosky accused her of being unresponsive to voters outside of Gary.
"She serves one constituent, the mayor of Gary," Visclosky said at the time.
Visclosky defeated her again two years later. She then served as Gary's city clerk from 1988 until 2003, when she pleaded guilty to mail fraud as part of a deal with federal prosecutors on 20 felony public corruption charges. Hall and others had been accused of making workers in the city clerk's office raise money for Hall's re-election campaigns in order to keep their jobs.
Hall was sentenced to house arrest and probation, but her daughter, Junifer Hall, served a 16-month prison term.
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson expressed her condolences to Hall's family in a statement released Tuesday.
"She was a great friend of our family, a phenomenal educator, author of the King holiday bill and a political trailblazer we will never forget," Freeman-Wilson said.
Hall's husband said his wife should be remembered as a humanitarian who rose from humble beginnings growing up on her grandfather's cotton farm in Mound Bayou, Miss.
"She left a great legacy of love and concern for city, state and country as well as humanity, and her great work rising from the cotton fields of Mississippi to serve in the Congress of the United States of America," he said.
A public viewing for Hall will be held 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at Van Buren Baptist Church in Gary. A funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday at the church.
Associated Press writer Rick Callahan in Indianapolis contributed to this report.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Richard J. Blood, a former city editor at the New York Daily News who nurtured a... More
NEW YORK (AP) -- Richard J. Blood, a former city editor at the New York Daily News who nurtured a generation of young journalists while teaching for more than two decades at the Columbia University School of Journalism and New York University, has died. He was 83.
Blood died of respiratory failure in Manhattan on Friday, according to his eldest son, Associated Press political writer Michael Blood.
"I never knew anyone to get more excited about a good story," Michael said of his father, who taught until he was 79.
Blood was born in the Boston suburb of Lynn, Mass., on Nov. 12, 1928. He joined the Navy as a teenager and later served in the Merchant Marine before attending Boston University and, later, Columbia's journalism school, where he graduated with a master's degree in 1958.
He began his career at newspapers in New Hampshire, Vermont and New Jersey before joining the now-defunct Newark (N.J.) Evening News and, later, the Daily News in New York in 1970.
"Dick was one hell of a newsman," said Mike Oreskes, AP's senior managing editor who reported for the Daily News from 1975 to 1981.
"He cared passionately about the story, whatever the story was, and he loved nothing more than when one of his reporters came back with a scoop," Oreskes said.
"I was proud and lucky to have been one of those reporters. He never let any of us settle for less than the best in getting the story," said Oreskes, who added that he still hears his voice every day, "still urging us to get out there."
Blood also put his stamp on a slew of notable journalism students, including New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, who recalled lacking confidence in his journalism before taking the professor's rigorous course at Columbia University in 1988.
"The main lesson I learned from him is if you have some ability and are willing to work really hard to cultivate that ability to its greatest potential, you will have some success," said Bruni, who has worked in some of the most desired jobs in journalism, ranging from the Times' Washington correspondent covering national politics to the paper's restaurant critic.
Blood, known to wield a red pen like a sword aimed at sloppy writing, thoughtless reporting and cliche, was not lavish in his praise, but his praise was deeply felt.
"In a world that is way, way too seldom a meritocracy, I think Dick Blood was the ultimate -- if it's a word -- meritocrat," Bruni said.
"I don't think there's a student he had that wasn't bettered by him, and I doubt there was a single professor whose students felt more loyalty to and adoration of him."
He is survived by his wife, Dr. Carol Joyce Blood of Manhattan and New Lebanon, N.Y., two sons, Michael R. Blood of Los Angeles, and a former City Hall Bureau Chief for the News, Christopher R. Blood of Denville, N.J., a daughter Kathleen Blood Stokas of Tucson, Ariz., and four grandchildren.
Associated Press writer Shaya Tayefe Mohajer in Los Angeles contributed to this report.