June 28, 1997 in City

Ex-Legislator David Sprague Dies Of Cancer

From Staff And Wire Reports

David Sprague, a liberal legislator who left public life after the 1970 firebombing of his home, has died of cancer at a Seattle retirement home. He was 76.

Sprague, an insurance broker, was elected to the state House in 1966 to represent the predominantly black 37th Legislative District.

On April 19, 1970, his Central Area home was firebombed. No one was seriously injured, but he decided not to seek re-election.

“Our home was targeted because I am a white legislator,” he said at the time. “The family and I will be in jeopardy as long as I am in office.”

The home of the district’s senator, Fred Dore, had been bombed two months before, and Sprague suggested the bombings stemmed from resentment about whites representing blacks.

“I really think that blacks should represent blacks,” he said in the 1970 interview.

Before his election to the Legislature, Sprague served on the board of trustees for Western Washington State College.

He remained an activist after leaving the House. In 1988, Sprague took charge of a citizens’ committee advising the Seattle City Council on the Seattle Center re-design. In 1989, he battled a proposed $1.46 billion Interstate 90 link on grounds that it would worsen suburban sprawl.

A memorial service was scheduled Tuesday at the Church of the Epiphany.

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