Percy Edward Ricks
Photo From Roll Jordan Roll
A Biography On Marshall Keeble
Tuscumbian Visits African Village Of Slave Grandfather
Source: Florence Times--Tri-Cities Daily
Feb. 6, 1972, page 12
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Tributes To Percy Ricks
It was my pleasure to know Percy Edward Ricks. On this page is a tribute to him by his son, Renard Ricks. Also, on this page is a poem about him by I. C. Spivey, evangelist for the 19th St. Church of Christ in Sheffield, Alabama. Be sure to read these items.
Percy Edward Ricks was born September, 13, 1891 in Tuscumbia, Alabama to Grant and Mary Ricks. He attended public schools in Tuscumbia. He attended Alabama A. and M. University and was graduated with a B. A. Degree in Agriculture. He was a World War I veteran. He served for fifty-one years as the first black engineer for Southern Railway.
Brother Ricks was a faithful Christian for seventy-five years. He helped establish numerous churches of Christ in Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi, and did missionary work in Africa. He attended many lectureships in the brotherhood. He was an elder at 19th Street Church of Christ, and served faithfully to his death.
Last February brother Ricks went to be with his Lord and Master. His funeral was conducted February 17, 1979 in the meeting house of the Cox Boulevard Church d Christ in Sheffield, Alabama. I. C. Spivey officiated. Robert Butler, Ernest Cobb, T. W. Rucks, Arthur Horton and Thomas Holiday participated in various ways in the funeral service.
Percy Edward Ricks represented. an important era in history. He is survived by his son and daughter-law, Renard and Bernita Ricks; granddaughter, Sonjai Alexis; one brother, Ellis Ricks, Lynch, Kentucky; four sisters, Mrs. Nellie, Mae Long and Mrs. Ethel Underwood of Sheffield; Mrs. Louvenia Fowler of Corinth, Mississippi; Mrs. Beatric McCord of Princeton, New Jersey, neices, nephews and other relatives.
-The World Evangelist, June, 1979, page 18.
Percy Edward Ricks
A white minister by the name of Preston Taylor, who had been baptized by Alexander Campbell, came through Colbert County, Alabama (then Franklin County) many years ago and baptized whites and blacks alike.
George Ricks was baptized and became the first Black preacher in the State of Alabama of the church of Christ. He established the first Black congregation in the State of Alabama and Colbert County. The same church erected a building with blocks and concrete that still stands.
George Ricks spent many years preaching the gospel. He rode mule-back over 100 miles to Winfield, Alabama and established the second congregation of the church of Christ among blacks; he also rode mule-back to Winnisoga, Mississippi and established the first congregation for blacks in the State of Mississippi. His career came to an end on December 25, 1908.
Inheritance played a great part in the life of Percy E. Ricks, the grandson of George Ricks. George baptized Percy.
As an elder of the 19th St. Church of Christ in Sheffield, Alabama, Percy Ricks was very instrumental in the saving of many lost souls. He established the congregation for blacks in Cherokee, Alabama. He traveled widely to gospel meetings, brotherhood lectureships and ministers conferences throughout the United States and some foreign countries.
On October 25, 1971 Percy E. Ricks took a tour of Africa, where he visited a school named after his brother-in-law, the late Marshall Keeble, world renowned evangelist d the churches of Christ.
Percy Ricks traveled on many occasions with Marshall Keeble, helping establish and develop churches in Alabama, Many times Percy- would see a place that needed the gospel and along with Marshall Keeble would spend weeks preaching and teaching the gospel to lost souls.
The Churches to whom Percy was most beneficial are churches of Christ in the following cities: Tuscumbia, Sheffield, Decatur, Cherokee, Florence, Guin, Barton Center Star, Moulton, and Huntsville, all in Alabama.
Percy E. Ricks was married to the late Willie M. Johnson Ricks of Corinth, Mississippi on August 16, 1919. This couple lived together fifty-eight years.
Brother Ricks was a man with a mild, unassuming manner, pleasant and doggedly determined to get any job done which he tackled. He will always be loved, admired and respected for his Christian love, hospitality and tireless efforts in working in the church.
-Renard Ricks, The World Evangelist, June, 1979, page 18
He Was My Friend
He never really stopped to sigh,
Nor to tell the reason why.
Because his work was never done,
Not even with the setting sun
There were times when he got tired,
But he never quit, nor tried to hide.
Sometimes he even stepped on hands,
But he didn't really mean it,
He thought you were his fans.
He has run his race to receive his crown,
And now he has left this body,
That goes back to the ground.
So don't weep-for me when I change my dial,
I won’t really be gone, just absent for awhile.
So you go on living, enjoying life with a smile.
I'm just tired right now, I think I'll rest awhile.
God Bless You -
-(Written by I. C. Spivey about Percy E. Ricks, and read by him at the funeral of brother Ricks.)
-World Evangelist, June, 1979, page 18
Directions To The Grave of Percy E. Ricks
From Florence, Take US 72 West SR 2 —cross the Tennessee River— you will be on Lee Highway — go to West 6th-Turn right — go to East Commons Street—turn left-it will change names to William E Gardner Ave. Oakwood Cemetery will be on your right—turn right on South Commons St (South end of Cemetery) Percy Ricks grave is on the right — you will see a tree on the right side of road— he on the plots on left side.
Photos Taken 08.20.2014 by Larry Miles
Webpage produced 08.21.2014
Courtesy of Scott Harp
Special Thanks: To C. Wayne Kilpatrick and Larry Miles for going to the cemetery in Tuscumbia, Alabama on a hot summer day to find the graves of Percy and Willie Mae Johnson Ricks. They found the grave, took photos and sent them to be placed here.