Eddie Griffin tested society’s rules at an early age while growing up in Fort Worth. As a toddler, he knew to drink from water fountains marked “colored” but occasionally sneaked drinks out of ones marked “whites.” The water was always colder! One day, a white woman caught him and “had a conniption fit,” Eddie recalled with a smile. As a high school senior, Eddie went to see JFK’s visit to Fort Worth on Nov 21, 1963. Eddie and most other black people stood at the back of the crowd that day. Eddie wanted a closer look, but it was considered rude for black people to move in front of white people. Eddie and other African Americans struggled with institutionalized inferiority complexes back then, he said. His docile attitude toughened after Eddie enrolled at Arlington State College (now UTA). Eddie joined other activists, including his political science professor, Allan Saxe, to protest an annual celebration of southern heritage. To celebrate, students donned Confederate war uniforms and carried swords and Confederate flags. Inevitably, some students wore blackface. Saxe, Eddie, and others helped end that tradition on campus. Eddie grew louder, prouder, and more radicalized after the assassinations of MLK and Bobby Kennedy. The shootings propelled him deeper into the Civil Rights Movement, and in the early 1970s Eddie moved with the Black Panthers, robbed a bank, spent time running from police and the CIA, and lived underground before being captured and serving 12 years in prison. After his release, he returned to Fort Worth and began promoting civil rights in a passionate, poised manner while eschewing crime and violence. Today, he criticizes the school-to-prison pipeline, urges criminal justice reforms, and laments that his oldest adversary –– racism –– remains structured in society. Eddie lives in southeastern Fort Worth and provides full-time care for two incapacitated siblings. Recently, he finished writing a book about his adventurous years and is seeking a publisher. Somebody hook him up! Eddie makes a positive impact in this city, and I enjoy our visit! — Jeff Prince
Home Blotch Around Fort Worth Toast & Jam with Eddie Griffin
I think a library could help him self publish digitally.