D.C. activist William Lockridge dies
Update:William O. Lockridge, a longtime Ward 8 political activist and education advocate who is a sitting member of the DC. State Board of Education, died Wednesday evening at George Washington University Hospital. He was 63.
Natalie Williams, a spokeswoman for the Lockridge family, confirmed his death from respiratory failure, which came less than a week after Lockridge suffered a stroke while at home in the Washington Highlands neighborhood of Southeast D.C.
"William was a true public servant who was constantly in the trenches and working for the people, especially those in Wards 7 and 8,” Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) said in an interview. “He was an activists who was never afraid to speak up when someone was trampling on the rights of the District’s children.”
Lockridge was first elected to the D.C. Board of Education in 1998, remaining on as the board was stripped of most of its power in 2007 and transformed into the State Board of Education. Throughout, he remained active in the Ward 8 Democrats and the D.C. Democratic State Committee with his wife Wanda. He is survived also by a daughter, son, four grandchildren, and his once-prominent uncle, R. Calvin Lockridge, who also served on the school board.
A native of Chicago, Lockridge moved to Washington in 1979, working as a teacher, coach and administrator for the D.C. Public Schools for more than 15 years before running for the school board, according to a campaign biography.
“William Lockridge was an ordinary guy who did extraordinary things,” said D.C. Councilmember Marion Barry (D-Ward 8). “He fought for the children, the least, the last and the lost, and he would take on anybody, including myself, because he was a fighter.”
Barry said Lockridge’s wife, children, other family members and friends were at his side when he died around 5:30 p.m.
File photo by Kevin Clark/The Washington Post, 2007
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