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E J BRISKER JR. GREAT SEATTLE BLACKPOWER LEADER DIES!


Emanuel James Brisker, Jr. passed away on September 21st, 2023, in Kirkland, Washington at the age of 80. He loved his family friends, reading, writing, and bringing people together for a common cause. Emanuel was born on July 18, 1943, in St. Louis MS, to Mary, daughter of Charles Richardson, and Mary James, who met at Southern University in 1938. Emanuel’s childhood was one marked by a love of reading and for being very articulate. EJ came from a long line of educators, doctors, and businesspeople, the Dunnings family of Camden, Arkansas who raised his mother Mary and her siblings, Thelma, and Woody, as well as his great aunt, Eula Britton. In 1956, a new high school was opened and named after EJ’s great aunt, Eula D. Britton. EJ loved his family deeply. Until his last days spoke of his sister Fern, teaching him to dance, his aunt Thelma teaching him to read, and his mother’s strong love, guidance, and support of him. After graduating from Beaumont High School in 1958, EJ went on to study Journalism at Morehouse College. After reading an article in the newspaper about Emmett Till, a brutally murdered a 14-year-old boy, lynched by white men for whistling at a woman, EJ joined the famous civil rights organization, called the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He participated in courageous civil rights demonstrations all over Mississippi. He became extremely committed to the Black freedom struggle here in the US. EJ’s mother moved to Seattle, Washington, to teach school in 1966. Then EJ followed his mother to Seattle in January of 1967. As the National Chairman of SNCC, Stokely Carmichael, was invited to Seattle in April of 1967, to inspire involvement in the Black Power movement. Stokely was a leader of the National Black Power Mo. EJ knew Stokely, they had organized voter registration drives among Black folks in rural Mississippi. When EJ and Stokely greeted each other in Seattle, Stokely asked EJ to lead the SNCC Chapter h organizing effort in Seattle. EJ was a gifted and very brilliant organizer of Black youth in Seattle beginning in April of 1967. By January of1968, he enrolled at the University of Washington where he, Larry Gossett and Carl Miller created the first Black Student Union. EJ said, the “BSU at the University of Washington is organized to end institutionalized racism and establish power, equity, equality, and justice for Black people on this campus.’ Under his leadership, from 1968 to 1974, Black power had a tremendous impact on the UW campus. In that six-year period, the Black student population moved from less than 60 to more than 1,000 Black students, and from two black professors to more than 60, and from one Black Studies class to 34. EJ showed us that Black people could build power through unity, intelligence and tough organizing. He spent his last years reading, advocating, and working on connecting people for the UW Reflections event in May 2023, the Little Willie John Project, the Law Project, collaborating with the Smithsonian, and countless other projects. Emanuel is survived by his nephew, Verbon Jones and his wife and children, Gwen Weldon, Toni Jenkins and Landon Conner and their families, and many friends who loved him. A Celebration of Life and Memorial Services will begin at: On October 20th at 11:00 am First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Seattle, WA In lieu of flowers, we are requesting donations be made to: Emanual J. Brisker, Jr. Memorial Fund PO Box 1811 Edmonds, WA 98020-1811

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