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Ex-Pasco councilman remembered for his passion and what he brought to CBC's campus

Tri-City Herald - 1/25/2022

Jan. 25—PASCO, Wa. — An instrumental force in making sure Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy is remembered in the Tri-Cities died this week.

Edgar D. Hargrow Sr., a former Pasco councilman and motivational speaker, died at home in Pasco on Monday. He was 74.

The Vietnam War veteran led efforts to get a statue remembering Martin Luther King Jr. at the Columbia Basin College campus in 1989.

Hargrow grew up in Pendleton, Ore., and recounted being one of just two Black students in the school at the time.

He once told the Tri-City Herald that he initially thought King was a troublemaker because his father said he liked what King was trying to do, but didn't agree with how he was going about it.

Hargrow would go on to serve in the U.S. Army and was serving with special forces when he heard King was assassinated. When he saw tough special forces soldiers fall to the ground crying after learning the news, Hargrow realized he needed to learn more about King and the Civil Rights Movement.

"It was a turning point. I became obsessed with it," he said at the time. "I wanted to learn more. It's a passion that's still there."

His journey of discovery led him to meetings with key Civil Rights figures, including Rosa Parks, Dr. Ralph Abernathy and Myrlie Evers, the widow of slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers.

It also led him to start campaigning for a statue of King on the Pasco campus. He led a 21-member board to raise $80,000 to have a statue created by Prosser artist Nancy Lewis of King walking with two children.

Hargrow and his wife, Terrie, were the backbone of the 2 1/2-year-long fundraising effort.

He continued to be involved in the statue and the annual MLK Day celebration at Columbia Basin College. When CBC President Rebekah Woods arrived on campus he came to her office to share the history of the statue.

"I'm deeply saddened by the passing of Edgar Hargrow," Woods said in a statement. "Edgar was a unifying force in our community, and he helped forge CBC's unique bond with the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, as chairman of the Martin Luther King Monument Committee."

"Edgar's tireless work brought the beloved MLK statue to our campus in 1989, and he remained deeply committed to the college's annual MLK Day Spirit Award celebration thereafter. Edgar's passing is a great loss to CBC and the Tri-Cities community," she wrote.

Pasco City Council

Hargrow was elected to the Pasco City Council in 1991 after running on a campaign to revitalize the downtown area. He served one term on the council before going on to pursue a motivational speaking career. He also was a bus driver for Ben Franklin Transit.

Hargrow served as president of the Benton Franklin branch of the NAACP and was co-founder of the East Pasco Better Development Association and was a member of Tri-Cities Kiwanis.

He also was appointed to the Washington State King Commission by Gov. Booth Gardner and the Hanford Area Economic Investment Fund Committee by Gov. Mike Lowry.

He and his wife had three children.

This story was originally published January 25, 20225:47 PM.


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