Friday, August 26, 2011

Elizabeth Wright: A tribute

It is with sadness that I report the death of 2011 Champion of Liberty Elizabeth D. Wright, which became publicly known August 19. A resident of Brooklyn, New York, Mrs. Wright was an outspoken opponent of political correctness in racial issues. She expressed those opinions through a newsletter known as Issues and Views. She began the newsletter in 1985 and converted it to a blog about ten years ago.

She particularly opposed the view that African-Americans were a victim of their race.  Instead, Mrs. Wright stressed the importance of personal responsibility and entrepreneurship as ways of creating economic opportunity; having been rooted in the political and economic philosophy of Booker T. Washington. She also saw that "political correctness" was hindering legitimate academic inquiries into the problems that affect the African-American community.

Mrs. Wright was a private person, almost to the point of being mysterious. The exact date of her death is currently unknown, and no one knows whether she had a family. I was under the impression that in age she was in her mid-seventies. She wrote a touching farewell post in Issues and Views June 20 that indicated that she was going into hospice for cancer.

While her contrarian views on racial issues were reflected in the work of 2010 Champions of Liberty Walter E. Williams and Thomas Sowell, she also became, unfortunately, a darling to white supremacists (very mild example). This may be in part because of statements like her piece "Racism is not sin." I only learned of her death because The Ohio Republic enjoyed a record hit count from one such organization accessing my 2011 Champions of Liberty citation. Perhaps this should not matter, but at a time when liberals are fond of charging people with "racism by association" (even when they are using your work, and not the other way around), it is disconcerting and a bit embarrassing to me. It is also an injustice to a woman who respected the truth so much that she was willing to be ostracized by others in her community.

This is how Elizabeth D. Wright should be remembered. She respected the truth more than anything else, and had the courage to proclaim it. May she rest in a well-deserved peace.

Update Sept. 7: Here is a longer obituary by Samuel Newhouse in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. It should go without saying that I take very strong exception to the remark by One People's Project founder Daryle Lamont Jenkins that “The only blogs that are paying tributes to her ... are all white supremacists,” but then judging from this blog post, One People's Project appears to be the Southern Poverty Law Center in wolf's clothing...

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