Adrian Ford, longtime Fitchburg civil rights activist, dies at 73

FITCHBURG – A longtime civil rights and community activist from Fitchburg who is known for forming a racial justice network died on January 16.

Adrian Lamont Ford, 73, died suddenly after a brief illness. Ford founded the Fitchburg chapter of Three Pyramids Inc., a community development company, in 1971 and became CEO in 1972, a position he held until his death. In 1992, Ford co-founded the North Central Massachusetts Minority Coalition, a multicultural, cross-sectoral coalition dedicated to the achievement of racial, gender, and economic justice in North Central Massachusetts.

Ford was born in New Castle, Pennsylvania on February 28, 1947 and moved to Fitchburg in 1966. Ford graduated from Mount Wachusett Community College and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

“Adrian was a passionate and persistent voice for social justice and justice in our region, and he worked tirelessly to be a voice for the many who had no voice,” said James Vander Hooven, president of Mount Wachusett Community College. “He has been an active contributor and participant in too many organizations to list in every sector of our region. His network included civic groups, the nonprofit sector, community leaders and educators. He used this network that had been built up over decades of serving ours Community to make the world a better place for all of us. ”

In 1973, Ford’s Three Pyramids used grants from the Episcopal Church of New York to provide relief supplies and assistance to soldiers in West Africa fighting for independence. Ford worked with United Nations ambassadors to coordinate the grants.

Ford has also hosted the Three Pyramids radio show “Freedom Means” since 1974. As a moderator, Ford discussed current civil rights issues and had frequent conversations with organizers to discuss their work. Ford also hosted several public television programs and was a columnist for Sentinel & Enterprise, Fitchburg’s daily newspaper.

Ford was appointed to state bodies by three Massachusetts governors. The bodies dealt with issues such as educational reform, issues from school to work, and the development of the economy, economy and workforce.

Ford was also the first executive director of the Massachusetts Association for Community Action, a statewide coalition of 23 community action agencies dedicated to fighting poverty and promoting self-sufficiency. He consulted with Fitchburg’s campaign agency Making Opportunity Count in the areas of racial justice, diversity and inclusion. Ford helped set up the Fitchburg Human Rights Commission and served on the commission until his death.

In 1994, Fitchburg State University – then Fitchburg State College – named Ford one of 100 executives who made a difference in North Central Massachusetts.

“His commitment to civil rights and opening doors to all was at the forefront of a long and successful career in public life, and for that work he is rightly mourned by the community today,” said Richard S. Lapidus, President of Fitchburg State University said. “His contributions will never be forgotten and his example will endure.”

Ford is survived by his wife, Donna-Jean Ford, and children, Adrian L. Ford Jr., Robert Reyes, Maya Ford-Diaz, Kahlil Ford, and Shelia Proctor. He is also survived by his brothers Mark E. Mahone and Patrick A. Mahone; his sisters Leona M. Ford-Price, Diana Malave, Marlene L. Bailey, Dorcena Dean, Windale Walker, and Denise Vick; 23 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; and numerous sponsored children, nieces, nephews and other relatives.

Comments are closed.