May 22, 2018

Celebrating Melnea Cass

May 22, 2018 – Boston Mayor Marty Walsh proclaimed today to be Melnea Cass Day in a tribute to a stalwart of civil rights activism in the city.

Affectionately known as the “Mayor of Roxbury”, Melna Cass spent virtually her whole life in this city fighting to better the community and advance opportunities for everyone around. She led voter drives shortly after the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote, lobbied local shops to hire more black women, and founded a kindergarten program in the area. After a time as president of the Boston arm of the NAACP, she was at the front lines of the school desegregation movement by assisting with the class-action lawsuit which kicked off that era of Boston history.

As a leader in women’s empowerment and anti-poverty organizations in the city she touched so many lives, mentoring countless other leaders and affecting massive amounts of change. The year before her death, in 1977, Melnea Cass was one of the “Seven Grand Bostonians” honored by then Mayor Kevin White for her extraordinary contributions to making Boston fairer, more equal, and welcoming to every single human being.

Despite the amazing progress that Melnea Cass and others helped to shepherd in, there remains work to be done. If you feel that your civil rights have been violated in some way, call the Boston Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service at 617-742-0625, or fill out our online form here. We can help you protect your rights and ensure that every person gets the equal treatment that we all deserve.