1986: A Year of Firsts and Lasts

Posted February 4, 2005 at 4:03pm

[IMGCAP(1)]Roll Call reported on many changes throughout 1986, including the retirement of longtime Speaker Tip O’Neill (D-Mass.), the first time Martin Luther King Jr. was honored on his birthday, and the sale of this very newspaper by its founder.

In early 1986, a large bust of King was presented in the Rotunda, making him “the first black American to be so honored in the Capitol.”

Making headlines in April was Arthur Levitt, chairman of the board of the American Stock Exchange, who purchased Roll Call from Sid Yudain. At the time, Roll Call’s circulation was 7,000 and it was published every Thursday that Congress was in session.

Later that year O’Neill announced his retirement after spending one-third of a century serving in the House. Roll Call dedicated a special retirement issue to the Speaker as well as then-Sens. Russell Long (D-La.) and Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.). O’Neill’s section was a four-page spread complete with photos and a caricature depicting “the familiar white-maned Irishman known far and wide for his strong convictions and robust nature.”