Friday, January 13, 2012

Civil rights pioneer Piccolo Pierce dead at 80

Savannah civil rights pioneer Piccolo Pierce died December 15 at age 80:

From the December 16 Savannah Morning News:

Pierce marched with civil rights leaders such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Hosea Williams, Jesse Jackson and W.W. Law. He survived the brutal Bloody Sunday March of 1965 in Selma, Ala., braved the rains to march on Washington and hear King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech and spent months in local jails for trying to integrate downtown churches.
But the humble man with limited education and a severe spinal deformity never made it into the spotlight with the movement’s religious and political leaders. He did his part on the frontlines, facing tear gas, beatings and high-powered hoses.
“John came out of the war on racism with the kind of wounds that never heal,” said John Finney, director of Savannah’s Economic Opportunity Office. “Some of us went on to prestigious positions. He made contributions in whatever way he could.”
In the years after the movement, Pierce worked to make sure Savannah politicians took steps to improve conditions for the black community. He passed out fliers to generate community support for empathetic politicians, and any time there was a government meeting or political event he made sure his presence was known.

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