Credit: Noreen McNulty
Darby Tillis (right) with Gloria Johnson, the mother of pardoned former death row inmate Montell Johnson
By: Noreen McNulty
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Darby Tillis defies an easy tribute. A dear friend, confidant and mentor to many. An activist and hell-raiser against injustice. A minister and street preacher, a friend to strangers. A father, brother, uncle, cousin, husband. A musician and mean harmonica player. A wisecracker, storyteller and word-crafter.
I worked for the Campaign to End the Death Penalty's national office in the early 2000s. I had met Darby a few years earlier, running the streets of Philadelphia to protest the death sentence and imprisonment of Mumia Abu-Jamal. While working for the CEDP, Darby was a frequent visitor to our office in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. As the office administrator, I worked side by side with Darby, and he became a mentor and friend.