/Civil rights leader cries out for freedom at Meredith march tribute

Civil rights leader cries out for freedom at Meredith march tribute

Wednesday night’s guest speaker at Jackson’s Council of Federated Organizations was Mukasa dada, who is credited with inventing the term “black power” in the March Against Fear of 1966 in Greenwood. Dada, formerly known as Willie Ricks discussed identity and freedom as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the march. James Meredith was the first black person to integrate the University of Mississippi. He began a one-man march from Memphis to Jackson to encourage black voter registration. Meredith was killed the second day. Meredith was admitted to Memphis and later discharged. Civil rights leaders from all over the country traveled to Mississippi to carry on the mission. Dada is one of many civil rights icons who will be making a guest appearance in the same places they marched through fifty years ago. As part of the Race in America Now course, students from Minneapolis Community and Technical College were present Wednesday. They will be looking at the history of Mississippi civil rights and how it relates to current struggles for race, class, and inequality. The fiery speech of Dada prompted a resounding chorus of “black power” from the diverse crowd. Dada stated that the call to blackpower is the key to understanding freedom and self-identity. Dada said, “Seeking your identity means freedom.” “We must understand ourselves as Africans. It’s genetics. It’s genetics. Brother Makusa communicated that message to a T-shirt.” Civil rights veterans Hollis Watkins, Dr. Hilliard Lakey and others joined a panel discussion with the Rev. Willie Blue, and the Rev. Wendell Paris spoke to the audience.