Al Lipscomb Is Dead

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'Round this time last year Al Lipscomb was hospitalized at Methodist following a fall that resulted in a broken leg; Gromer Jeffers wrote that the former council member wasn't "doing so well these days." Which was a far cry from just two years ago, when Sam ran into him at the federal City Hall corruption trial. Laura Miller had taken the stand, but found time enough to tell her one-time favorite target he was looking "dapper as always." But today, on Election Day, Al Lipscomb has died, says a Channel 8 brief.

I expect Jim will have much more to write about the 86-year-old civil rights activist-turned-politician Monday; God knows he's had plenty to say in the past -- like, for starters, the '98 piece titled "Saint Al," and this piece from Amarillo in January 2000, just before Lipscomb was convicted of 65 counts of bribery and conspiracy (a conviction later overturned on a technicality involving the decision to move the trial to Amarillo). A few years after that Lipscomb tried to return to the council horseshoe by unseating friend and protégé James Fantroy, who'd replaced Al after the conviction ended his 14-year run at City Hall. When that failed, he instead settled for the role of rambling public speaker at the horseshoe.

Our archives are littered with Lipscomb readings. And then there is this piece from Texas Monthly's June 1984 issue about Lipscomb, written by Gary Cartwright, who first met Lipscomb while doing a piece for Esquire in 1970. Wrote Cartwright, "Yes, Dallas has had blacks on the council before, and God knows it has had badasses, but I'm not sure it has ever had a badass black like Al Lipscomb until now. A new day indeed."

Update at 4:11 p.m.: City Hall has sent the following statement from City Manager Mary Suhm: "The City mourns the loss of a dedicated public servant and civil rights leader. Mr. Lipscomb loved this city. He was a weariless defender of human rights and was untiring in his pursuit to make our city better for all of its residents."

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