Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lionel Barrow Jr.'s life had ties to MLK and Obama

TAMPA — Days before he died, Lionel Barrow Jr. refused his pain medication.

It was well worth tolerating the cancer for a little clarity last Tuesday. As the 82-year-old watched the inauguration of President Obama, tears streamed down his face and he pumped his fists from his hospice bed, nurses told his wife.

For Mr. Barrow, it was the culmination of a lifelong journey.

As former dean of the Howard University School of Communications and a Morehouse College classmate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s, Mr. Barrow worked to promote the role of women and minorities in the world of journalism.

In 1958, he joined the Army when he couldn't find a job after graduating with a master's degree in the field.

"Those experiences with racism are what led him to do what he did," said his wife, Frederica Barrow. "He came from civic-minded people."

Mr. Barrow died Friday, three days after watching the historic inauguration on TV.

Born in 1926 in Harlem, Mr. Barrow was the son of a Barbardos immigrant. He started school at the age of 5 in a one-room schoolhouse. Fascinated by history and literature, he dabbled in radio and newspapers, and after receiving his doctorate, went to work in the advertising industry.

Eventually, he became vice president and associate director of research for the Foote, Cone and Belding advertising agency in New York. Then in 1975, he began a 10-year stint as dean at Howard University.

Mr. Barrow also founded the Minorities in Communications Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. A graduate scholarship was established by the group in his name, and later he was presented an AEJMC Presidential Award for his contributions.

Mr. Barrow met his future wife on a blind date. Married in 1992, they moved to Tampa in 2002 so she could begin her academic career at the University of South Florida. With his first bout of prostate cancer behind him, the couple headed for the Florida sunshine. Here, they held poetry readings and supported the Democratic Party. Last fall, they hosted a fundraiser for Obama in their predominately Republican Arbor Greene neighborhood.

Mr. Barrow had hoped to be a super delegate, but he gave up the idea when the cancer came back. Instead, he supported his wife as a precinct committeewoman, as well as Obama.

The last week of his life, Mr. Barrow told his wife to use those lucky inauguration tickets and head to Washington. "If he couldn't be there, someone from his family had to," Frederica Barrow said. "He was elated."

A memorial for Lionel C. Barrow Jr., will take place at Grace Episcopal Church in Tampa on Feb. 8 at 1 p.m. A second memorial is planned in the Washington, D.C., area the weekend of Feb. 14.

Chandra Broadwater can be reached at cbroadwater@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2454.

Lionel Barrow Jr.'s life had ties to MLK and Obama 01/25/09 [Last modified: Monday, January 26, 2009 7:18am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Hernando County Sheriff's Office: Deputies shoot suicidal woman who brandished shotgun

    Crime

    BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County Sheriff's deputies shot a woman they believed to be suicidal after she pointed a shotgun at them Sunday, according to a police report.

  2. Trump administration disbands federal advisory committee on climate change

    National

    WASHINGTON - The Trump administration has decided to disband the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment, a group aimed at helping policymakers and private-sector officials incorporate the government's climate analysis into long-term planning.

    President Donald Trump. [Associated Press]
  3. Blake Snell shines as Rays beat Mariners to end skid (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell delivered the best outing of his young career and the Rays offense continued its home run-hitting ways for a 3-0 victory Sunday against the Mariners in front of 13,354 at Tropicana Field.

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) with starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) after the top of the seventh inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  4. No touchdown, but fun lesson for Bucs' Adam Humphries

    Bucs

    It didn't end up being a touchdown, but one of the Bucs' biggest hustle plays in Thursday's win over Jacksonville saw receiver Adam Humphries scoop up a loose ball just before halftime, after what looked like an incompletion but was correctly ruled a Jameis Winston fumble.

    Bucs WR Adam Humphries runs to the end zone with QB Jameis Winston trailing -- his alert play wasn't a touchdown because teammates cannot advance a fumble in the final two minutes of a half.
  5. Bucs' Demar Dotson should be back from injury next week

    Bucs

    The Bucs got good news on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI showed only a mild right groin sprain and should be back at practice next week.

    Bucs tackle Demar Dotson, shown last year when he signed a three-year contract extension, should only miss a week of practice with his groin injury and can return healthy for the Bucs' season opener at Miami in three weeks. [Octavio Jones | Times]