Politicians in Columbus tend to be cautious and staid. And then there was Bill Moss ? the boss with the red hot sauce. Future generations will scarcely believe that such a courageous, unbought and unbossed man walked the streets of their fair city. Bill served five terms on the Columbus Board of Education. While on the School Board, he fought relentlessly for equality for all children and a quality public education. He was an uncompromising advocate for the poor and the disenfranchised and both a mayoral and congressional candidate. Moss repeatedly exposed corruption and sweetheart deals. His actions saved WCBE from being privatized and sold for pennies on the dollar.

But Bill was more than a political maverick. He was a soulful prophet who warned us of the shape of things to come. He was Columbus' Berry Gordy, producing some of the finest soul music in the city's history. His Capsoul record company stands as a monument to his creative genius. Bill could do it all. He was the Nassau Daddy of barbeque and one of the best damn disk jockeys in the city. The Reverend Moss also could preach a great sermon a la the Reverend Al Green and provide a rousing gospel music show to heal the afflicted and afflict the well-heeled.

Over the years, the Free Press has covered Moss' political endeavors. One of our favorites is an article entitled, "The Meaning of Moss" published in July 1993. The article concludes: "To understand Bill Moss, one needs to turn to the Book of Jeremiah. Moss sees the Old Testament tradition of the prophet ?howling from the wilderness' as his own political strategy. ?I am a strong believer in God. God has sustained and guided me,' Moss concedes." In the October 1995 issue, the article: "The Man, the Myth, the Mayor" captured Moss at his feistiest in an interview on his campaign to defeat Mayor Greg Lashutka. These and other Moss stories can be found in The Fitrakis Files: A Schoolhouse Divided. The Free Press honored Bill Moss with the Debs-Thomas award at our annual Libby Awards ceremony in 2002.

His last great battle was against high-tech Tammany tactics and old-fashioned political thuggery in the 2004 election. Bill testified on C-SPAN at Rep. John Conyers' Congressional election forum and he was the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit challenging the Bush victory in Ohio. The record will show that it was Bill who filed the now-legendary suit, Moss v. Bush, that resulted in the first-ever challenge to an electoral delegation in U.S. history.

His legend and legacy will only grow in these corrupt and cynical times. Bill gave us hope and he will be missed. The Old Testament definition of righteousness was one who spoke truth to power. Bill was the most righteous man in Columbus. Rest in peace, Reverend Moss.

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