Sunday, June 11, 2000

McCrackin's work goes on

Groups remember and continue

By Lew Moores
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Gordon Maham came from Colerain Township to remember his friend of 20 years, the Rev. Maurice McCrackin.

        “It's time for a song or two, a friend or two and a memory or two of Mac,” said Mr. Maham, who is 83 years old, as he talked among friends Saturday afternoon at the third annual “Mac Day,” held in Laurel Park in the West End to honor the spirit of the Rev. Mr. McCrackin.

        The Rev. Mr. McCrackin, known as “Mac” to all who knew him, was a minister who dedicated his life to social justice, was arrested dozens of times in acts of civil disobedience and fought for racial justice, the poor and the homeless and against nuclear weapons, military spending and the death penalty.

        He died Dec. 30, 1997, at 92.

        Mac Day was in the West End, where he spent much of his life.

        Mac Day was marked with live music, testimonials, art work and information tables from social action organizations, including the NAACP, Justice Watch, AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati, Prospect House, Amnesty International, Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Community Church of Cincinnati, a non-denominational church that the Rev. Mr. McCrackin founded in 1962.

        But mostly it was a chance for activists to get together, share stories and talk about agendas.

        “He made a significant impact on the West End,” said the Rev. Phil Seher, of St. Joseph's Church on Ezzard Charles Drive. “He was revered by both the white and African-American community. He was a person who stood with those who needed justice and who needed a defender.”

        Ed Ritchey, who runs the Homeless Hotline, said the occasion is a reminder that much work still needs to be done.

        “This brings a lot of his friends together who don't get to see one another during the year,” said Mr. Ritchey of the 100-plus people who attended.

        Not everyone who attended had worked with the minister. Some, like Ruth Bradford, came because the Rev. Mr. McCrackin was there in a time of need.

        “He always helped me and my family,” said Ms. Bradford, who lives downtown. “He helped us get food and stuff like that. He was a good man.”


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