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Ruth Washington, Publisher of LA Black Newspaper, Dies at 76

December 1, 1990

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Ruth Brummel Washington, publisher of the city’s leading black newspaper, the Los Angeles Sentinel, has died of cancer. She was 76.

Mrs. Washington died Friday at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital Chalet.

″Although we were aware that Mrs. Washington was gravely ill, her death has still left us all in the state of shock and grief,″ said Kenneth Thomas, the newspaper’s chief executive officer.

″Indeed, the news of her passing has sent shock waves through the entire black community of Los Angeles and the newspaper industry as well,″ he said.

Born in Salina, Kan., she moved to Los Angeles in 1940, where she married Sentinel founder and civil rights activist Leon H. Washington.

The paper was founded in 1933 and reached a peak circulation of 56,000 in the 1960s. In recent years circulation has slipped to about 25,000.

Mrs. Washington briefly took over the newspaper when her husband became ill in 1948, then served as business manager. She was named publisher after her husband died in 1974.

Under her direction the Sentinel emphasized coverage of urban community issues and events and civil rights.

″I always say that the Sentinel is like a family,″ Mrs. Washington once remarked. ″By that I mean it belongs to us and it belongs to the people, just like a child belongs to a family. That’s what makes it such a beautiful paper.″

Mrs. Washington was a founder of the Black Women’s Forum, along with state legislator Maxine Waters and Ethel Bradley, wife of Mayor Tom Bradley.

She is survived by a sister, Bernadette Plummer of Portland, Ore., three nieces and four nephews.

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