OUR FIRST LADY
Those who knew Melnea Cass well noticed that she seemed to be more weary in recent years. Her step was a little heavier than before, she had to sit and rest more frequently, and she was more tired after a long day of endless meetings. But we knew she would never quit. The woman who had worked for the improvement of her community for almost 60 years would never retire. She was on call right up to the end.
Last Saturday, at the age of 82, all earthly burdens fell from her shoulders and she slipped away for a well-deserved rest. Certainly the heavenly chorus must have intoned at the moment she passed on, "Well done!"
Melnea Cass held such an exalted position of respect in the Community that it is easy to forget that all the honors came in the last 15 years of a very long life. Before that she worked for over 40 years without much thanks or recognition until past the age when most people retire. But she never stopped…
Melnea Cass was the mother of perseverance. She could work for decades on projects that brought no headlines. Her only interest was to help where she could; she was prepared to stay at the task for 40 years if necessary. One example is her work with the Equal Rights League (ERL). Few now remember, but that was the organization founded by William Monroe Trotter. For the past 20 years Melnea Cass has held annual commemorations of Crispus Attucks and Frederick Douglass in the name of the ERL so that we never forget our history.
The most important lesson Mrs. Cass taught us was love. Her abiding goodwill permeated everything she did. Even her adversaries would come away feeling good. Problems and hostilities would melt when faced with the force of her love.
Bay State Banner, December 21, 1978.