When we think about the Civil Rights heroes of the 1960s most of us think about MLK, Rosa Parks, The Little Rock Nine and countless others. They are often said to have been “on the front lines” of the Movement. Yesterday, we lost a man who never left that front line. John Pierce simply known as “Piccolo” passed away during his battle with pneumonia. Piccolo fought alongside MLK in Selma. He was arrested like many other protesters during that time. His crime was trying to integrate local churches.
He suffered a horrible spine disease that left him frail and made walking extremely difficult for him. But despite his pain he marched on. If there was any type of government meeting you can bet that he was there. Listening. Taking mental notes of what was happening.
During the 2008 campaign I gave him an Obama button. He didnt say anything as he took it. He just smiled and nodded. For some reason that moment has stuck with me.
I didn’t know much about him but I did know this. If you were involved in the political scene in Savannah and you didn’t at least know of him, you weren’t involved.
The Savannah Morning News has a fitting tribute here. I hope you all read it.