Les Payne: Saying goodbye to a journalism lion

HARLEM _ We gathered to mourn.

But instead, we were inspired and empowered and left with a sense of peace and continued admiration.

The homegoing service for acclaimed columnist and editor Les Payne was exactly what it needed to: uplifting and motivational.

I left emboldened, remembering all that Les taught me about being fearless and being unapologetic in my march for truth and justice and fairness.

Afterward, I was honored to have lunch with NABJ founders and dear friends Allison Davis and Joe Davidson, longtime buddy Fred Sweets and Joe’s wife, Dine, at Ponty Bistro, the favorite after-church spot of Les and his wife of more than half a century, Violet. The service was as spectacular as his legacy. And it was good to just sit and remember our friend, our role model for courage and the man who taught me to be fearless.

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