My friend, Rupert Richardson

26 Jan

National, state civil rights leader Rupert Richardson dies at 78

1/25/2008, 7:56 p.m. CST

The Associated Press


BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Civil rights leader Rupert F. Richardson, who served as national president of the NAACP, has died. She was 78.

Richardson collapsed and died Thursday as she was decorating a Baton Rouge home she had recently moved into, her son, Thomas Clemons, told The (Baton Rouge) Advocate. An official cause of death has not been announced.

Funeral arrangements were pending but there were tentative plans to hold services late next week in Baton Rouge and Lake Charles, her hometown, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said Friday in a written statement.

———I was so sad to learn today that my friend and former boss Rupert Richardson has died. What makes me feel more sad is how on her birthday, January 14 if I remembered correctly, I attempted to get in touch with her, and I think of this – how the need to let her know I was happy and what I was doing was strong, how I did a google, looked up her address, read about her, smiled at the photos of her in her hats, how I meant to send her a card, or perhaps phone her. I wanted her to be proud of me, to know how strong a woman I have become.  I never got that far, as I let life get in the way — I missed the opportutnity to talk to her and just twelve days later she is gone. It’s been years since I’ve seen her or spoken with her. We let our friendship drift away as we moved about our lives, jobs, moves, through time and circumstance. I thought I had time, didn’t I?. We had many talks about life and people and race–I learned a lot from her…I hope she learned something from me.

I worked for Rupert years back when we both worked at the same substance abuse agency, she was my boss. She called me her "White Daughter" — she was the first person I told I was leaving my first marriage – I wasn’t working with her then, but we’d remained friends. I remember her look – one of "I know this is best for you, but I also know how hard it’s going to be…" and she was right. It was hard. And, it was best for me.
When her beautiful daughter, Joy, died, I wrote to her – and when I saw her, she had the look mothers of lost children wear, as if she were see-through, as if a part of her had stayed with her daughter and gone to where she went-a mother’s sacrifice. Rupert had always been strong -in mind and body, but after Joy died, some of that strength was used for her grief. Grief takes from us more than our loved ones.
Rupert – my friend – I love you and send you peace. I hope wherever you are hovering, it is with your Joy. Remember what I told you in that letter? I do. I remember what you said to me – I won’t forget it, ever, and I won’t ever forget you. Peace. Peace. Peace.

19 Responses to “My friend, Rupert Richardson”

  1. Michiko's January 26, 2008 at 11:12 pm #

    I\’m sorry to heard you had lost your dear friend,it sound like you have some affectied in yourlives that I hope it doesn\’t make you running down?
    we will all got old and ventually die, trying to just remember a bright side her …..
    Please accept my condolence to your friend Rupet and her family.
    I hope you find easy time for this sadness times.
    Big Hugs,

  2. Michiko's January 28, 2008 at 6:07 am #

    Thank you for visit, you said your son\’s and his girl friend are going to Japan. I hope they going to the Cherry blossom season?
    I think the best time in Japan, March, May, Oct, I hope they will enjoy themselves.
    You might like to go too?
    Have a great week ahead,

  3. JaAG January 28, 2008 at 11:56 am #

    Wow, that must have been a shocker for you. Curious, a lady named Rupert? What\’s that about; a nickname or parent-given? What a cool thing to have worked with Rupert though. I bet you two were champions in battling substance abuse. Hmm… I wonder if there are stories there you haven\’t told us?

  4. Delete52Mitch January 28, 2008 at 8:20 pm #

    My sincere condolences. I used to live in Baton Rouge. Best wishes from Alabama. Mitch

  5. Betty January 29, 2008 at 3:20 pm #

    Hi Kathryn,
    I am very sorry for your loss.
    I agree about country snow.  In Montana after the countryside is covered wih snow, it is possible to see things that one cannot see in the greeness of summer, like small cabins off in the woods.

  6. peter January 29, 2008 at 3:50 pm #

    I am sorry about your friend.
    Its to bad you couldn;t get the chance to talk to her when you called but the same could be said for her.
    How many times did she pick up the phone to look for you and life got in the way.
    I am sure she is proud of you, who knows, she may have googled you at some time

  7. Linda January 30, 2008 at 7:50 am #

    So sorry to read about the loss of your friend.  She must have really benefitted from your friendship.

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