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May 7, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Publisher Frank Blethen reflects on Billy Frank Jr.’s passing

Billy Frank Jr. in 1983 (Ann Yow / Seattle Times)

Billy Frank Jr. in 1983 (Ann Yow / Seattle Times)

One black eye in The Seattle Times’ 117-year history is our coverage of minorities through the years. Most troublesome for me was the coverage of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Things began to improve slowly after the Vietnam War debacle.

Billy Frank Jr. and our focus on the treatment of Indian fishing rights, for the most part, moved The Seattle Times into a new era of enlightenment and leadership. Thirty of his 40 years in the limelight have been on our Blethen family fourth-generation watch. Our coverage, in words and visuals, and our commentary made a difference. We should all be very proud of this legacy.

Billy and U.S. District Judge George Boldt, who affirmed Native American tribes’ right to half of the fish harvest, were brave heroes who gave us the opportunity to shine and do amazing journalism that made a difference.

Read more about Billy Frank Jr.:

Comments | Topics: Billy Frank Jr., fishing rights, Frank Blethen

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