Ray Bazmore 1926-2020

January 31, 2021

From the January-February 2021 issue of News & Letters

Raymond Harold Bazmore, long-time passionate advocate for social justice, died Nov. 4 at the age of 93 in Detroit, Michigan. Ray graduated from his home town high school in Aliquippa, Penn., and was a veteran of the U.S. Navy before he moved to Detroit.


All his life Ray continued to learn and to seek justice. On the G.I. Bill, he pursued education and a career in electronics, which led him to working in Audio Visual Technical Services with the Detroit Public Schools for many years. At the same time he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Vocational Technology from Wayne State University.

He was active in civil rights organizations in Detroit: the Lions Club International, Central Methodist Church, and News and Letters Committees, where he continued to develop his ideas. There, he contributed an important perspective on discussions among Black freedom activists of the early 1970s whether to describe themselves as “Negro,” “Black” or “African-American.” He wrote in News & Letters under the name Ray Robeson.

Ray remained active and engaged in numerous social justice struggles after retiring, always reading widely and engaging in discussions. In 2020 he posted a yard sign denouncing the inflated property assessments by the city of Detroit and the lack of political will to return overpayments to taxpayers. Friends, family and comrades will miss his gentle wit and wisdom.

—Susan Van Gelder

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