Joe Hicks, Black Conservative, Dies at 75

Joe Hicks (Nick Ut / Associated Press)
Nick Ut / Associated Press

Joe Hicks, a Black Power militant-turned-black conservative, has died at the age of 75 years old, the Los Angeles Times reports.

A popular figure and outspoken critic of the liberal political establishment, Hicks co-founded Community Advocates as an alternative to left-wing dogmas about race, and was skeptical towards the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Times notes:

Hicks’ path as an activist was curious.

He began as a militant radical in the Black Power movement and became a card-carrying Communist in the 1970s. Then, two decades later, Hicks found his niche as a conservative.

Recently, though, he quit the Republican Party because of his disgust with Donald Trump.

Hicks became a staunch critic of affirmative action and gained a reputation for his unapologetic but thoughtful approach on heated issues of race, appearing on scores of local and national television and radio shows, and publishing myriad opinion pieces. For three years, he hosted the weekly “Joe Hicks Show” on KFI-AM.

Hicks was also a U.S. Navy veteran, and his political journey included a stint at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). His moment of political awakening came during the Watts riots of 1968, when the military was deployed to restore order and he saw guns pointed at him. But he eventually found his answers in the deep principles of the American founding, not the radical agenda of the extreme left.

The Times cites a letter Hicks co-wrote to the paper in 2013 responding to the outrage over George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the Trayvon Martin case:

What isn’t reasonable or appropriate is the hysterical response of some civil rights leaders and advocates who have peddled a dishonest and hyperbolic analysis of the tragedy. Unfortunately, their message has been repeated ad nauseam and has become the settled wisdom for some: Young black males are at physical risk in this country, and it is the bigotry of whites that has put a target on their backs.

There is no wave of bigotry directed at blacks. All this talk is demagogic posturing, and it’s dangerous. Young people will absorb this message and view the “other” with suspicion and fear.

These leaders know, even if many of their adherents might not, that the biggest threat to the lives of young blacks is other young blacks, not white bigots.

It is clear that the Sharptons and Jacksons have a vested interest in keeping tension alive. Their relevance, audiences and fundraising are contingent on there being a perception that racial barriers remain, that fears persist and that their role as firemen is needed. The biggest threats to their continued viability is tolerance and an acknowledgment that inter-group relations are improving, that there is no war on black youth and that the country that elected Barack Obama to the presidency twice isn’t demonizing kids who look like the first family.

We would all do well to spend our energies on issues that are real and the implications of the tragic Trayvon Martin death that make sense.

Hicks died at a hospital in Santa Monica of complications from a hernia operation. The Times notes: “He is survived by his four daughters, Tamani Hicks-Littleton, Hasani Hicks-McGriff, Katarina Hicks and Natasha Hicks; his son, Jabali Hicks; and his sister Annie Hicks-Roberts.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.