The saying “still waters run deep” refers to someone who appears to be quiet or placid, but that manner conceals a more passionate nature. The saying is apt for Bob Ray Sanders whose gentle demeanor disguises his passion for his community. His appearance anywhere is notable, and according to Shevoyd Hamilton, owner/publisher of The Metro Report and Vice President of Operations for the Fort Worth Business Press, “Bob Ray Sanders’ appearance establishes the atmosphere. When he’s in the room, you know something good or noteworthy is coming.”
Born during segregationist times, Fort Worth native Bob Ray Sanders was born in downtown Fort Worth at Ethel Ransom Memorial Hospital, the first 20-bed facility for African Americans in Texas and one of only three African American owned hospitals in the United States accredited by the American Medical Association. Dr. Riley Ransom, owner of the hospital, delivered Sanders and as Sanders likes to laughingly say, “he was the first person to spank my black behind.” Sentimentally, Sanders still visits Dr. Ransom’s gravesite when he visits those of his parents.
One of 10 children, Sanders attended schools in the Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD) and graduated from the historic I.M. Terrell High School which was the original black high school in the area. It served students from 17 other cities (as far away as Weatherford, Grapevine, Arlington, Roanoke, Grand Prairie and Mansfield). After the 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education to integrate public schools, FWISD added three black high schools: Dunbar (east side), Como (west side) and Kirkpatrick (north side), so by the time Sanders graduated, there were four black high schools. In the late 60s when FWISD finally started to integrate all schools, they closed three of the black high schools, leaving only Dunbar.
Sanders’ family would say he’s been in media since elementary school because he was the “nosiest” kid in the neighborhood who loved to report on the news — loved to tell the stories he had heard. On his 11th birthday, one of his older sisters gave him a Kodak camera (with flash) in a cardboard case that he still has to this day. His mother gave him a reel-to-reel tape recorder, which he put to immediate use by interviewing people in his neighborhood. His older brother, Delbert (a football star at Terrell at the time) gave him a shirt with newspaper comic strips printed on it. Looking back, he believes his family knew he’d be a journalist.
To read the full story, click on the April 2022 cover of The Metro Report