Gary Yerkey ’66 publishes new book about 1960s

Gary Yerkey ’66 of Washington, D.C., has published a new book. “He’s Coming to Start Riots: On the Road to Black Power with ‘The Rev.’ Willie Ricks” is available on amazon.com and other online retailers.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was no supporter of the Black Power movement himself, but he recognized Willie Ricks as a superb organizer and a “fiery” leader of the movement throughout the 1960s. Ricks’ speaking style earned him the nickname “The Reverend.” He was everywhere. Stirring up crowds. Stirring up trouble.

A close associate of Stokely Carmichael, Ricks was one of the movement’s most militant, fearless, charismatic and effective organizers: the brains and brawn behind countless sit-ins, marches, demonstrations and boycotts throughout the Deep South. He has described his life as a series of “beatings, bombings, shootings, fights and assassinations.”

This is his story — and the story of others like him who played a critical role in advancing the notion of Black Power and, in the process, touching off a firestorm of fear-mongering in white America and a revolution in the way that African Americans perceived themselves and their struggle.

(Photo: Gary Yerkey ’66)


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