I had the privilege to interview Pastor Ricki Morst. He was born in 1954, in the countryside in a town named Oak Hill, West Virginia. He was the ninth child out of 11 children his parents gave birth to. His father was a pastor at a Pentecostal Church in Oak Hill. Not only was his father a pastor, but also was a man with a prophetic anointing. Aside from being a pastor, Rickis’ father provided for his family by working as a coal miner, while his mother was a stay-at-home mom who took care of Ricki and his 10 siblings. Pastor Ricki and his family were raised very conservative by his father. The neighborhood he was born in was small and everyone in the community knew each other. Ricki and his family were poor in the sense that they did not have much materially, yet his hard-working father provided for his large family. At his home, they had a large yard where they grew their own vegetables, fruits, and where they also raised chickens. They practically provided for their own food. During Rickis’ youth, he learned to kill, pluck, and prepare chickens to eat. He began at a very early age, to take care of himself. Not only were the residents in his community close-knit, but also they would watch out for each other and provided each other with food when someone was in need. When he was 7 years old, Ricki began to play the keyboard and experimented with many instruments. Throughout the years, he found his passion playing the keyboard along with singing.
In 1973, at the age of 19 and having graduated from high school, Ricki Morst moved out of West Virginia and relocated to Washington D.C. where he landed his first job for the federal government at the Library of Congress. He worked there as a Library Technician for 6 years, while also working as a choir director at a local church. He then moved to Visalia, California in 1981, where he became an assistant minister and a minister in music. He was working at a federal government job at that same time. While residing in Visalia, he helped raise 4 Hispanic teenagers from single mothers who needed help. Pastor Ricki Morst loved them like if they were his own children and had a very close relationship with each one of them. He raised them up until they each got married and went on to fulfill their own life. After having helped at the local Visalia church and fathered four teenagers, he decided to move to Fresno, California in 1987. Since 1987, he has worked at the Department of Treasury Internal Revenue Service, while serving as a pastor at several churches and as a music director. Now, at 59 years old, he plans to retire at the end of this year when he turns 60 years young. He has never married or plans to marry. He wants to dedicate the rest of his life to God and the calling that God has given him. Throughout the years, he has been able to travel and play music across the country, while also being able to meet many Gospel artists. Pastor Ricki Morst won the Lifetime Achievement Award in Gospel Music Ministry in 2012. Since his father passed away Ricki has continued to serve others and to keep being a hard workingman.
Pastor Ricki Morst is an excellent example of a black male figure that has been able to overcome the stereotypes that the media tends to portray for black males. In class, we learned about the Sambo Stereotype. Black males have been stereotyped like the Sambo, which is someone who does not have any goals in life, immature, and lazy. Pastor Ricki Morst is the complete opposite of the Sambo. From a young age, Ricki learned to work and to provide for himself. When he was hungry and felt like eating chicken, he literally had to go out, kill a chicken, and help his mother prepare it. He continued to have to provide for himself as he would move away from home since the young age of 19. This shows that he has had to work in order to provide for his own wants and needs. The main lesson his father had taught him was to never be selfish and to help others. Throughout Pastor Ricki Morsts’ life, he has lived by this motto. This is seen through the humble personality he has. At one point, he had started to go to community college, but had to drop out due to his family going through difficult financial struggles. Ricki did not drop out because he did not have the money to get higher education, but he dropped out to help support and provide for his family. The simple fact of him going to college shows that he had goals in life, unlike the Sambo stereotype. Although Pastor Ricki Morst never completed his college degree, he has never settled when it came to job opportunities. For about 40 years, he has continued to work for the federal government.
In class, we have learned that most black males tend to not be around to help raise their children. Pastor Ricki Morst completely counteracts that generalization by raising four Hispanic teenagers that needed a father figure. Along with the generalization that black males tend to abandon their children, we have also discussed about how the few that do, are rarely seen showing love and affection to their children. Ricki loved the children he raised. He loved them as if they were his own. He had a very close relationship with each of his four sons. He taught them and exemplified what it means to be a man of God. He also tells me about how he would literally have such a close relationship with them that they were able to talk about anything. Even through difficult time, Pastor Ricki never left them, or gave up on the four teenagers. He provided for them and helped exemplify what it means to be a father. Even though they have all moved out now that they are older, he continues to love each one of the teenagers he raised.
Pastor Ricki Morst exemplifies a progressive black male figure that is constantly trying to better his life and better the lives of others. Aside from being in ministry, he also helps people in his community, such as helping them financially and providing them with food. He has continued to show the love he has for God through serving and caring for other people in his community. After he retires at the end of this year, he plans to travel and to continue serving the people around him. He is a man with a caring heart, loves the Lord, and continues to reflect what it means to be a black male.