Horace Tribble, 1938 – 2015, !Presente!
(APN) ATLANTA — Horace Tribble, 77, a community activist with such organizations as the Concerned Black Clergy of Atlanta, the Open Door Community, and Fulton Atlanta Community Action Authority, was discovered in his home to have passed away, on yesterday, Wednesday, September 30, 2015.
He was also an appointee by Fulton County to the Commission on Disability Affairs, a deputy registrar with the Fulton County Board of Elections, a Mason, a chaplain with his Neighborhood Planning Unit, and a member of Antioch Baptist Church. He has also worked with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Tribble walked with a cane for many years, more recently switching to a motorized wheelchair.
Joyce Dorsey, CEO of FACAA, said Tribble had served on the FACAA Board since 1983.
“He cared about ‘the least and the lost,’ that was his theme. The least has been the poor, and the lost has been the homeless. He prioritized his interests because he thought that was the ministry of Jesus Christ,” Dorsey said.
“Wherever FACAA needed him to go, he went. He didn’t care about his health, he didn’t let the fact that he had a missing limb restrict him. He rarely missed a meeting. He was everywhere that he wanted to be,” Dorsey said.
“If he knew about a neighbor in his distress, he would get on our backs,” she said.
Meanwhile, Tribble had been volunteering with the Open Door Community for almost as long.
“Horace was a part of the extended community at the Open Door, since the very early 1980’s.
I met him on the picket line the Empire Linen Company on Ralph McGill,” Murphy Davis, one of the founders of the Open Door Community, told Atlanta Progressive News.
“He had been part of the Rainbow PUSH coalition, and as part of Rainbow PUSH, he was supporting the Empire Linen strike. It was mostly women, provided linens to hospitals, they would launder and return the linens, and they had very low salaries, and so they had gone out on strike,” Davis recalled.
“It was every few days at the end of our soup kitchen I would get a pot of soup and sandwiches and whatever they had, I would go out and serve the strikers, they were losing money by being on strike and they were hungry. One day I was sitting there with the strikers, and Horace came off the bus,” Davis said.
“He came to the office and we talked and he learned what we were doing over at the Open Door, and as I recall he came almost immediately as a volunteer, so he’s been with us all this time,” Davis said.
“We learned very early he had a great gift of prayer, he’s been praying at the Open Door ever since – we come to you with an attitude of gratitude: that has been Horace’s trademark,” she said.
“We’ve been calling Horace’s name because our bank account is very low, and every time our bank account was very low, Horace would pray, Oh God we need a financial miracle, and so we’ve been praying for a financial miracle,” she said.
“And we know Horace is in Heaven storming the pearly gates for a financial miracle for the Open Door community,” she said.
“Oh, we’re gonna miss him big time… As far as I can tell, Horace was one of those people who was born with social justice in his bones – he understood from his early days that there’s no gospel without the struggle for social justice, and there’s no gospel without people being on the side, and in the struggle of, the poor. He just knew that. You didn’t have to put him through a workshop or anything. He knew,” she said.
At the Open Door, Tribble was always “behind the soup pots, for many, many years, for many Wednesdays and Tuesdays, he was behind the soup pot, serving up the soup. He always had cracks: today we have a special soup, it’s hearty and it will cure what ails you.”
“Everybody knew Horace because he was always there, so it was an Open Door tradition,” Tribble said.
In 1995, Tribble received a proclamation, HR 479, from the Georgia House of Representatives, sponsored by former State Reps. Tyrone Brooks (D-Atlanta) and Grace Davis (D-Atlanta) and State Rep. Sharon Beasley Teague (D-Red Oak).
In the early 1990s, Tribble helped form an organization of public housing residents called Tenants United for Fairness (TUFF), which opposed the public housing demolitions which took place around the time of the Olympics in Atlanta.
“We don’t want to lose our homes. It’s not fair,” he told the Christian Science Monitor at the time.
“I’ve known Brother Tribble in a number of capacities, the last thirty years at least. He was just a faithful member of Antioch… he was always with the Concerned Black Clergy. He’d be down at demonstrations, even though he was in a motorized chair. He didn’t let it limit him,” Joe Beasley, the Southern Regional Director of Rainbow PUSH said.
“He did more than most people who have all their limbs intact. Bro. Tribble, he fought on to the very end. The world is much better and the community is better because Bro. Tribble left his mark on it. We always said, tell the truth and shame the devil, and he always said amen, he always said tell the truth to power,” Beasley said.
Former Rep. Brooks tells APN that Tribble was key to protest actions surrounding the lack of Black photographers, reporters, and executives at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution; as well as changing the Georgia State Flag.
“Horace Tribble became one of those dedicated warriors that we could always depend on, no matter where we was going, what we was doing. He was a dedicated, hard-working civil rights warrior,” Brooks said.
“He was always dependable, very low-key. Activism was running through his vein. I’ll never forget the contributions he made to change the Georgia State Flag,” Brooks said.
Brooks protested with Tribble and others outside the AJC for nearly two years, in 1978 and 1979, and at one point Brooks was arrested, but he said Horace Tribble continued to march while Brooks was in jail.
Brooks said those protests had been launched by activists Hosea Williams and Joe Boone.
“Horace Tribble was picketing every day – to bring those changes to the AJC. I’m just devastated he has gone on to glory,” Brooks said.
Tribble is survived by one sister, Gwendolyn Tribble; one brother, Fred Tribble; one son, Ricky Tribble; one niece, Ebony Bagswell; two nephews, Brandon Seals and Hunta Gresham; and three grandchildren.
A funeral is planned for next Thursday, October 08, 2015, at Antioch Baptist Church, at 11am.