Release from Davis-Bozeman Law Firm
Baba Mukasa and Morehouse Settle Legal Dispute
On Monday, June 11, 2012, the civil trial of Baba Mukasa (“Willie Ricks”) against Morehouse College was scheduled to begin before the Honorable Judge Fred Eady in Atlanta. After, extensive negotiations and meetings Baba Mukasa and Morehouse College reached an Agreement, that resolved a legal stalemate that lasted nearly 7 years.
This legal battle stemmed from an incident which took place November of 2005, when Baba Mukasa was arrested by Morehouse College police for criminal trespassing. For many years, Baba Mukasa has gone to college campuses around the country in general, but to Morehouse College in particular, to raise the student’s level of political and cultural consciousness. His experience in the 60’s as a Field Secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC-“SNICK”) and his lifetime of organizing around the world to fight the oppression of African people has made him one of the most consistent freedom fighters alive. In November of 2005, the Morehouse police arrested Baba Mukasa for criminal trespass because he came onto the campus after being told not to return in 2003 by Morehouse police. However, Baba Mukasa had been invited to speak to students on campus by a sociology professor. The criminal trespass charge was later dismissed. During his arrest, Baba Mukasa’s shoulder was injured.
Organizers, activists, and Morehouse Alums across the country were angered by the injury and disrespect inflicted on Baba Mukasa by Morehouse College police. In early 2006, there was a discussion among community members about staging protests at Morehouse. However, rather than begin a campaign to publically embarrass the college, Baba Mukasa sought legal action to force Morehouse to acknowledge his mistreatment.
Attorneys Mawuli Mel Davis and Robert O. Bozeman of the Davis Bozeman Law Firm worked on Baba Mukasa’s case pro bono since 2007, when they filed suit against Morehouse College. Moments before a jury was to be selected, Baba Mukasa and his attorneys met with Morehouse’s attorneys. Ironically, the attorneys representing Morehouse were Morehouse alum who remembered Baba Mukasa coming on campus in the 80’s to teach and inspire them to be more politically conscious and community oriented. During this meeting Baba Mukasa shared with Judge Eady, a graduate of Albany State University, the Albany Movement struggle in which Baba Mukasa participated. After, intense but respectful negotiations, a settlement agreement was reached. Baba Mukasa told the Judge and Morehouse officials that he never wanted to say anything negative against Morehouse because of its importance as an institution in the Black community. He continued by saying his dispute was with the individuals who he felt mistreated him. Baba Mukasa later shook hands with all the parties involved. After the agreement was reached, in open court, Judge Eady expressed his gratitude to Baba Mukasa for the sacrifices he made as a “foot soldier” in the Civil Rights Movement stating that “we all stand on your (Baba Mukasa’s) shoulders”. Morehouse College’s attorney acknowledged Baba Mukasa’s contribution to history as well as his contribution to Morehouse student life generally.