Someone once said: “The more you live, the less you die.”
This idea is exemplified in the life of former congressman Lucien Blackwell.
Blackwell lived his life with quality – so much so that Fairmount Park Commissioner and radio talk show host, Mary Mason referred to him as a “mover in the community.”
Born and raised in West Philadelphia, Blackwell applied feverish effort to all his work, whether he was heading up his local longshoreman’s union, boxing or fighting in the Korean War.
Locally, Blackwell worked hard in his positions as majority whip and chairman of the finance committee of city council.
Mayor John Street honored Blackwell in his advocacy for his fellow African Americans.
Mayor Street also spoke of the contributions he made to the construction of Liberty Place and the Convention Center.
Blackwell also sponsored Philadelphia’s Human Rights Bill and made sure there was enough money to create the Anti-Graffiti Network.
Furthermore, he established the Korean War Memorial in Philadelphia.
Blackwell’s efforts were not only seen in Philadelphia, but across the state and country.
According to Mayor Street: “Lu Blackwell consistently took outspoken positions and sponsored legislation to improve the quality of life for all Americans.”
After working as a union leader, a city councilman, state legislator and head of Jesse Jackson’s 1988 presidential campaign, Blackwell moved on to U.S. Congress in 1991, filling in for William H. Gray in the Second Congressional District.
Governor Edward G. Rendell called Blackwell a “forever statesman, community advocate, and a friend to the people of Philadelphia…[making] an indelible mark on our hearts and minds.”
According to Rendell, Blackwell “represented [American families] with dignity and verve.”
On January 24, 2003, Blackwell died at the age of 71.
According to the Northeast Times, Democratic Councilman Michael Nutter from Northeast Philadelphia introduced a resolution at a Council session to rename West River Drive “Lucien Blackwell Drive.”
Lucien Blackwell worked hard to advance, and in doing so helped all his people:
Philadelphians, Pennsylvanians and Americans alike.
It is obvious to those he loved that he loved them through his work.
Holly Logan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.