Chauncey Bailey Project

Commentary: Standing-room-only at Chauncey Bailey funeral


“Spilling out of St. Benedict’s Catholic Church in East Oakland, hundreds of mourners came to pay their respects to slain journalist Chauncey Bailey, who was remembered as a crusading journalist and mentor to young people,” Angela Hill wrote Wednesday for the Oakland Tribune.

“It was standing-room-only on Wednesday morning, as at least 700 people filled the church auditorium, lining the walls, elbow-to-elbow in the foyer. And dozens more waited on the front steps outside.

“Interspersed with rousing gospel music and a full Mass, city leaders, local clergy, fellow journalists and others in the community who knew Bailey either personally or professionally spoke of his sincere love of journalism and efforts to dig out the truth.

“‘I experienced Chauncey in that very special, sometimes tenuous world — the relationship between the journalist and the politician,’ Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums said. Some chuckles arose at the remark. ‘One thing stands out — he was always there,” he said, to rousing applause.

“‘Whether he was the lone journalist on a sunny spring Saturday in Oakland, watching several hundred children participate in a track meet, or in a large media event, there he was, listening carefully, asking the first question, setting the tone,’ Dellums said.”

On Monday, Saleem Bey, son-in-law of the late Yusuf Bey, founder of Your Black Muslim Bakery, came forward to say he was the main news source for a series Bailey was writing about the bakery, as Leslie Fulbright reported Tuesday in the San Francisco Chronicle.

“Two years ago, he asked me if I would give him the exclusive when I was ready to talk about the bakery and the family,” Bey said in the story. “I kept it in mind but never thought I would come forward. I ran into him just over two weeks ago downtown and he asked me again to tell him the story.

“I figured it was time.”

“So the two men sat down and exchanged information involving the bankruptcy of the San Pablo Avenue business and what Saleem Bey called fraudulent and unfair business practices by Yusuf Bey IV. He gave Bailey a stack of papers and asked him to look into what he said was illegal at the bakery,” the story said.

As the Tribune reported earlier, “Police said Devaughndre Broussard told them he killed Bailey because he was angry over stories the journalist had written about the bakery, its employees and leaders in the past. Investigators said Broussard also was concerned about stories that he thought Bailey might be working on.”

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