by Jesse Muhammad
Do you know Mickey Leland?
The other day I received a flyer about Mickey Leland Center on World Hunger & Peace Year-End Celebration on the campus of Texas Southern University.
All I remember was a warm smile, a pat on the head and the words “Nice to meet you little Jesse Jackson“. That was my name before I became a Muslim.
Then in 1989 I remember the Black community in Houston being very saddened because Mickey Leland died in a plane crash in Ethiopia. But it wasn’t just our city, it was the entire world. The crash was shocking and in some reports “mysterious”.
As I got older I read about Mr. Leland and found out that he was a product of Wheatley High School and Texas Southern University in Houston. He was an anti-poverty activist who was deeply concerned about the homeless. He became a congressman from the Texas 18th District and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of his last mission to Ethiopia, which ended during the plane crash on August 7, 1989. His 65th birthday would have been on November 27. He died at 44.
Mickey Leland was a servant of the people.