Accolades for Al Lipscomb at Dallas funeral

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by DEBBIE DENMON

WFAA

Posted on June 25, 2011 at 7:19 PM

Updated Sunday, Jun 26 at 9:07 AM

DALLAS — Al Lipscomb, the former Dallas City Council member and outspoken civil rights activist, was laid to rest on Saturday.

Lipscomb was remembered for his commitment to changing the political landscape in Dallas, an activist who opened many doors for minorities.

"Al Lipscomb taught me when you love God, you better hate injustice," said Pastor Fred Haynes of Friendship-West Baptist Church, where hundreds attended the funeral service.

Al Lipscomb wore many hats with one main mission: To tear down the wall of inequality in the City of Dallas.

The outspoken civil rights activist often wore a colorful scarf signifying pride in his African heritage.

The 86-year-old spent 15 years as a Dallas City Council member, where he was known for shaking things up in a city divided along racial lines.

"Dallas is a cleaner city today because we had an agitator named Al Lipscomb who refused to allow Dallas to remain dirty with racism," Haynes said.

The sanctuary at Friendship-West Baptist Church was filled with City Council members past and present — standing to acknowledge Lipscomb for paving the way for minorities to serve in public office.

Lipscomb filed a groundbreaking lawsuit that forced Dallas to elect Council members by individual districts instead of at-large.

The confrontational councilman was also the first black to become a Dallas County Commissioner in 1975.

"He ran for mayor first before anyone else, and when you talk about that, he showed the courage and consciousness that moved us all to another level," said Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price.

"The effort that Al Lipscomb put forth... it was to make Dallas a better city for all of Dallas," said Mayor Dwaine Caraway.

Lipscomb was an activist in the company of powerful people, so it was only fitting for him to leave this world in style, and leaving behind a legacy in city politics.

Mayor Caraway challenged Mayor-elect Mike Rawlings at the funeral to make sure the community celebrates Lipscomb's legacy by using his namesake.

That may spark a debate; a federal bribery conviction forced Lipscomb to resign from the Council back in 2000, even though that conviction was later overturned.

"He was not a drive-by activist," Price said. "He understood the issues. He stayed very much attuned to the issues, and he was one who fought the good fight."

 

E-mail ddenmon@wfaa.com

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