From the Congressional Record – 2006

CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — EXTENSIONS
Friday, December 08, 2006

109th Congress, 2nd Session
152 Cong Rec E 2227
REFERENCE: Vol. 152, No. 135

SECTION: Extension of Remarks

TITLE: HONORING COLBERT KING ON THE OCCASION OF HIS RETIREMENT FROM THE WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL PAGE

SPEAKER: Ms. NORTON

TEXT: [*E2227]


speech of

HON. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON

of the District of Columbia

in the House of Representatives

Friday, December 8, 2006

Ms. NORTON . Mr. Speaker, I rise to honor Colbert (Colby) I. King, the Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize winning columnist and Deputy Editorial Page Editor. In a recent column, Mr. King informed his readers that he soon will cease writing editorials. However, Colby King’s informal and spontaneous Saturday morning reading club takes some comfort in knowing that Colby King will continue to write his weekly column.

For 16 years, the Post, our city, and the region have benefited from reading a man who learned to write by doing it, not by going to journalism school. Colby went to school right here in the District, native born and native educated in the D.C. Public Schools and at Howard University.

Colby King’s preparation for the career for which he will be best remembered came from the life he has lived_a childhood bereft of privilege, even equality, but rich in family love and upbringing. His pre-Post eclectic career ranged from the U.S. Army and VISTA to Treasury Department official and international banker.

Colby wrote about any and everything, but he was in his special element when he wrote about his hometown. Most of what the Post editorial page has had to say about this city came from Colby King_sometimes sizzling with pride or indignation at shabby treatment by Congress and the like, even more often, hot with criticism of local officials and citizens alike, whose actions he thought unworthy of the city on a hill Colby wanted his hometown to become. Colbert King’s role in writing the Home Rule Act, his special feel for the city of his birth, his wit and ability to laugh and to cry about this city, all contributed to the authority with which his views were received throughout the District and the region.

Colbert King has a way with words, a mark of pure talent, but talent alone won’t win you a Pulitzer in his tough and competitive business. Colby’s Pulitzer was his alone, the fruit of his columns. He used them to speak his mind on an unpredictable variety of subjects-too much crime and too little punishment; forgotten children and star-crossed residents, often remembered only in his Saturday columns; national and local politics and politicians scored without fear, favor or mercy; and the beloved family that reared him and the family that he and his wife, Gwendolyn, raised.

Colby King will be remembered also for his remarkable range. His contributions to the editorial page covered the page’s territory, as Members know well from watching him on foreign and domestic affairs as a television opinion show panelist. His unusual set of talents and his judgment took him to editorial leadership on one of the world’s most important papers. His contributions came during troubling times in our country and in this city. A failing war at home and an insolvent hometown, for example, badly needed unadulterated self-criticism and tough love. Colby King had the credibility, the talent, and the wisdom to offer both, to make us shake our heads up and down in agreement, and then to try again to reach his high expectations.

Mr. Speaker, if I may, I note a personal regret as well that Colby is ending one part of his career. His 16 years on the editorial page and my 16 years in Congress overlap. I will miss not only reading Colby. I will miss having someone at the Post with whom I personally identify in so many ways_a friend who remembers the District as it was when we both were born in a segregated city and when we went to Dunbar High School, and a city that is both the same and very different today. I wish the Post good luck in finding such invaluable, institutional and personal experience for its editorial page.

Colbert King has decided to no longer write editorials, but he has certainly left his signature in indelible ink on the Washington Post. I ask my colleagues to join me in both honoring and thanking Colbert King for using his craft in service to the public.

SUBJECT: ENTERTAINMENT & ARTS AWARDS (90%); POLITICS (89%); LEGISLATIVE BODIES (78%); CHILDREN (77%); EDUCATION SYSTEMS & INSTITUTIONS (77%); ARMIES (71%); LETTERS & COMMENTS (68%); TREASURY DEPARTMENTS (58%);

LOAD-DATE: December 12, 2006

colby-king.jpg

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