McCrackin's Witness

I READ IN the recent issue of the death of Maurice ("Mac") McCrackin. Your words and memories sparked my own ("Hearts & Minds," by Jim Wallis, March-April 1998). He was an amazing man who in my brief encounter with him made an important impression upon me.

I remember the Peace Pentecost of which Wallis wrote—Mac’s quiet refusal to cooperate with the authorities and how they quickly separated him from the rest of us. When we were in the holding cells in the basement of the courthouse, a couple of marshals dragged Mac into the cell, twisting his fingers and thumbs backward trying to force him to cooperate and punishing him at the same time. Mac was crying and telling them to stop but never giving in.

We were all loaded on buses and taken to the D.C. jail under the intimidating care of the U.S. Marshal Service and then crowded into more holding cells just inside the jail, waiting to be officially fingerprinted and processed. Just down from me were several guys shooting up last-minute drugs. We waited and waited. Finally, the front door opened with the two marshals dragging in Mac. Still they were bending his fingers and thumbs, still he was crying for them to stop, still he would not cooperate. They dragged him to the fingerprint table and when he would not voluntarily put his fingers on the ink stamp-pad, they forced his fingers onto the pad by further twisting and bending them.

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Sojourners Magazine July-August 1998
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