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Noted Political Activist ‘Ricky’ Thomas Dies PDF Print E-mail
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Articles | Living
Written by Morphus on Monday, 08 August 2011 00:46   

Thomas became known to many for the way that he signed off at the end of each radio show: “Freedom, Justice and Equality


Armed with a bachelor’s degree in political science that he earned from Florida A&M University in 1956, Richard “Ricky” Thomas set out to change the political landscape in Miami for African Americans.

Concerned about Miami's civil rights struggle and holding a strong belief that socio-economic progress would come for blacks when they became more politically involved, Thomas joined the late Charles “Papa” Hadley to form Operation Big Vote, a well-organized political machine that pushed for  increased voter registration and voter participation among African Americans in Miami-Dade County. 

An outspoken member of the community, Thomas turned to the media to promote his message. He began writing in 1970 with Out of the Dark, a weekly column in The Miami Times in which he shared his opinion on the many topics faced by the black community.

Additionally, he stimulated heated debates during his daily commentaries on WMBM-1490 AM. 

Thomas became known to many for the way that he signed off at the end of each radio show: “Freedom, Justice and Equality, one without the other is no good, you can never truly be free if you are not treated as equal, you can never receive true justice if you are not seen as equal. The key to all three is Equality, when man is treated and seen as equal, then and only then will man find true freedom and receive true justice. The Lord is good all the time…This…is Ricky Thomas.”

Thomas’ words in print on air gradually faded as he battled a lengthy illness. He died on July 30 at age 78.Born on Nov. 26, 1932, in Madison, Wisconsin, Thomas was the only child of Albert and Willie Owens.  Besides fighting for political equity by working with a range of candidates over the years, Thomas was instrumental in the election of William “Bill” Turner, the first African-American Miami-Dade County School Board member. He served as Turner’s administrative assistant for eight years.


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