Willie Ricks Beaten By Morehouse Police: Why Are We Afraid Of Our Living History?
Just what is it? Atlanta is supposed to be the citadel of the civil rights struggle, yet the living history of the era are beat down like they are crack head criminals on the corner. Mukasa ( Willie Ricks ) called last night. From our conversation I understand that Mukasa was on the Morehouse Campus because he was invited by a professor to speak to the professor’s class.
Years ago Mukasa ( Willie Ricks ) had been barred from Morehouse’s campus for trying to mobilize the students to be a part of our struggle for our people’s freedom. However, due to the legitimate invitation he decided to ignore the citation he had received many years ago that barred him from the campus and honor the request of the professor. When the cops saw him they confronted him and violently escorted him off the campus. Elaine Brown, former Commander for the Black Panther Party, informs me that this same Officer C. Cox had in years past escorted her off of Morehouse’s campus because she was passing out political flyers. There appears to be a pattern by Officer Cox to prevent Black Civil Rights leaders from educating the youth that attend Morehouse College about the struggle. Why are we afraid of our history?
More concisely, why is Officer Cox so bent on our youth staying uninformed? Both Elaine and Mukasa have laid their lives on the line so Morehouse can continue to exist. In my opinion, the fear of our history is bigger than Morehouse. Police were sent to serve a warrant in the middle of the night on Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown).
A Black woman was in charge of the Fulton County Sheriff Department. This woman probably owes her ability to be Sheriff in part to the efforts of Jamil Al-Amin, Mukasa, Elaine Brown, and a host of others who lives are now premature memories because of their efforts in our struggle. It was these people who were at the forefront getting beat in the head, sometimes until dead, because they were registering Black people to vote.
How do the Black people who have benefited from these he-roes and she-roes now turn around and beat them down, run them off of campuses, even put them in jail under the threat of death? Black people, we cannot be afraid of our history! Our history is what will help us to understand what to do now so we have a better future. Mukasa, Elaine, Jamil, etc. must be allowed on historically black campus to teach our children our history straight from the mouths of those who were there when the history was being made.
Mukasa has informed me that there will be a demonstration at Morehouse to heighten this contradiction. Since we are right at the time when the school will let out for Christmas break we are planning the demonstration for January around Dr. King’s birthday when the students will be back in school. Until then continue to call the President of Morehouse and express your outrage at the treatment Mukasa has experienced at the hands of Morehouse police, especially Officer C. Cox. We must embrace our history, not be afraid of it. It is very important for our children to know our history so they will know themselves. Our struggle continues.
* * * * *
Who Is Mukasa Dada?
1. Civil Rights Leader, Elder, Father, Organizer, Orator 2. Field Secretary of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) 3. “The fiery orator of SNCC” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his 1967 book, Where Do We Go From Here 4. “Willie Ricks must rank as one of those unknown heroes who captured the mood of history. In calling for Black Power, he caught the essence of the spirit, moving Black people in the United States and around the world who were poor, Black, and without power” – James Forman of SNCC 5. Popularized of the chant, “Black Power”
* * * * *
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO NOW
1. Call Morehouse Police: 1-404-215-2666 Call Morehouse President, Dr. Massey: 1-404-215-2645 Call Morehouse Public Relations: 1-404-614-3788 2. Fax Letters to Morehouse #1: 1-404-659-6536 Fax Letters to Morehouse #2: 1-404-215-2729 3. Mail Letters To Dr. Walter E. Massey Morehouse College 830 Westview Drive, S.W. Atlanta, GA 30314
* * * * *
* Fire involved officers (officer C. Cox and others) * Public written apology * All charges dropped * Restitution for Mukasa Dada and his family for medical services andhumiliation
* Police Department notified that acts of brutality must be punished. * Public awareness of police brutality will be heightened. * Public will know that police often use false arrest to hide their own criminal intent. * Mukasa Dada will receive financial restitution.
* * * * *
Mukasa Ricks is one of the greatest of all activists produced by the turbulent 1960s in the Southern portion of the United States. His activities have carried him all over this country and throughout the African World in an effort to eliminate the misery and suffering that peoples of African descent have been subjected to ever since the slave trade depopulated Africa of million of its sons and daughters.
As the Field Secretary for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Ricks organized countless sit-ins, marches, demonstrations, and boycotts—all of which ere instrumental in destroying the overt forms of Jim Crow and racial oppression that were so prevalent in the United States less than thirty years ago.
Mukasa Ricks was introduced to the Civil Rights Movement in 1960 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, at the age of 17. For two years he was active in Chattanooga while working with the local NAACP chapter in the sit-in movement. Quickly he became a hero in the African American community and as a result, persons in the white community made attempts on his life and the lives of his family members. Cars were burned in their yard and their neighbors were harassed.
In 1961, Ricks was contacted by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to help voter registration in Chattanooga. Speaking the language of the rural African American community, he became on e of the South’s most powerful organizer’s. Ricks continued organizing in Chattanooga until he was asked to come to Georgia by the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1962. As a result he became a part of SNCC’s first Direct Action Program in Albany, Georgia where he first began to build a long-term working relationship with Martin Luther King, Jr.
Ricks continued organizing for SNCC in Georgia, and then in Alabama, Mississippi and throughout the South. While organizing in Mississippi in 1964, he helped to build the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) along with Fannie Lou Hamer and others. Subsequently, Ricks returned to Alabama and helped to organize the Lowndes County Freedom Organization. This organization became known as the Black Panther Party and was the first group inside the movement to defend themselves with guns.
By this time, Ricks, who was speaking on the same platforms with Dr. King and other important figures, had become one of the leading organizers and speakers for SNCC in particular and the movement in general. Having participated in hundreds of sit-ins, stand-ins, demonstrations, pickets and marches, Ricks paid the price by being jailed, beaten, bitten by dogs and shot. While organizing once in Americus, Georgia, he was shot at by the police which resulted in him being gazed and left with a scare he still has today.
In January of 1966, Mukasa was a key organizer in Tuskegee, Alabama where Sammy Young Jr. was shot in the head with a shotgun for using a “White Only” toilet. During this same year, SNCC put Ricks in charge of organizing students under what was called Campus Traveler’s Program.
Ricks also traveled extensively with Kwame Ture (formerly Stokely Carmichael) and spoke in the same platforms with him wherever he spoke. In fact, when Ture stepped down as the Chairman of SNCC, Ricks was the leading candidate to replace him but chose to work more quietly in the background. Consequently, when H. Rap Brown was selected as the Chairman of SNCC, Ricks was appointed to travel with Brown in order to show him the ropes.
In February of 1968, when over sixty-nine students were shot in the Orangeburg massacre at South Carolina State College, Ricks was one of the key organizers.
Rick’s organizing activities were so effective that the state of Georgia declared him to be one of the ten most dangerous persons in the state in 1973. As a result the police were requested not to approach his house by themselves but, instead, to signal “39” which meant “Police in Stress, Need Help.” It has been documented that they were given orders to shoot to kill!
Ricks has remained active ever since he first stated out in Chattanooga in 1960. He is one of the most committed activists and charismatic speakers around. The experiences he shares and the message he gives is powerful and needs to be heard by all.