Apr 04, 2013 - Issue 511

 BlackCommentator.com: Dr. Bobby Wright: Great Black Hero - Worrill’s World - By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill, PhD - BC Columnist

On April 6, 1982, the worldwide Black Liberation Movement lost one of its most important freedom fighters. Dr. Bobby E. Wright died on this day at Rush Presbyterian Hospital after a long illness, at the age of forty-eight.

During the mid 1960s, Dr. Wright worked as a truant officer in the Chicago Public School system. Most of the Black teachers in the Chicago public schools, prior to 1970, were hired in the category called FTBS (Full Time Basil Substitute). Very few Black teachers were hired on a regularly certified basis due to the racism in the hiring practices of the Chicago Board of Education.

Dr. Wright organized and led a group called the Black Teachers Caucus which challenged this racist policy. They mobilized thousands of Black teachers to take a stand against the board’s racist hiring and promotional policies. Eventually the Chicago Board of Education was forced to change their hiring policies because of the movement led by Dr. Wright and the Black Teachers Caucus.

Dr. Wright was a fearless champion of the causes of Black people worldwide. He was a genuine uncompromising freedom fighter who took up the most unpopular issues which affected Black people. As a trained clinical psychologist, receiving a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1972, he went on to become the executive director of the Garfield Park Comprehensive Mental Health Center on Chicago’s West Side. This is the largest Black mental health facility of its kind in the nation and has now been renamed the Bobby E. Wright Comprehensive Community Mental Health Center, Incorporated.

Dr. Wright always used his skills and expertise to help Black people. He was a tireless worker in the cause of Black liberation and independence. Dr. Wright was a scholar, teacher, lecturer, organizer, writer, and computer expert, always giving and sharing with his community. Perhaps the most important of Dr. Wright’s written works is his article, “The Psychopathic Racial Personality,” written in the fall issue of the Black Books Bulletin in 1974.


Among his many professional, civic associations, movements, activities and memberships were the Association of Black Psychologists, National Alliance of Black School Educators, Communiversity, National Black United Front (NBUF), Temple of the African Community of Chicago (TACC) and the Political Action Conference of Illinois. Dr. Wright also served on the Science and Technology commission of the Sixth Pan African Conference in Tanzania in 1974.


The spirit and memory of Dr. Bobby E. Wright lives on. Although he did not physically participate in the successful election of Chicago’s first Black mayor, he helped lay the foundation for this historic event through his many political activities.

If Bobby were here today, he would be helping us in rebuilding unity in the Black Movement to address the major challenges facing African people in this country and worldwide. He would be urging all the streams of our movement to unite.

And here in Chicago, he would be encouraging the Black community to come together to resist the imposition of outside forces of people who are making decisions about school closings and don’t have children in inner city schools. The onslaught of school closings will have a devastating impact on the Black community in Chicago.

On a special note, Bobby would be raising questions of the numerous schools we fought to be named in honor of Black heroes that are on the school closing list. Bobby Wright, if he were here, would be urging us to revive and re-energize our movement.

As Bobby always said, “A Luta Continua Lasima Tushinde Mblishaka - The struggle will continue and we shall conquer without a doubt.”


[Please support the upcoming CCICS Open House Wednesday, April 10th 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. and Thursday, April 11th 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.]

BlackCommentator.com Columnist, Conrad W. Worrill, PhD, is the National Chairman Emeritus of the National Black United Front (NBUF). Click here to contact Dr. Worrill.