Mel King

Mel King death shocked the nation as the Boston activist and legendary black leader died at 94. The article discusses the civil rights icon.

Mel King, a well-known former state representative, passed away on Tuesday at 94 in his South End home.

King made history in 1983 as the first Black person to advance to a Boston mayoral general election.

According to his wife, Joyce, Mr King had been unwell for several months following a fall about a year and a half ago.

He had been briefly hospitalized at Boston Medical Center but requested to be discharged and returned home three days ago.

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Mel King Death And Obituary: Legendary Black Leader Died At 94

Local political leaders are paying tribute to Mel King, a prominent Boston civil rights activist who died at 94. He passed away in his sleep.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu praised King for shaping generations of leaders who work towards an equal society.

She noted that his activism had focused on improving wages and opportunities for all people and that he had been a powerful force in Boston politics for decades.

U.S. Senator Ed Markey reflected on his time working with King and his legacy of fighting for social justice.

Mel King passed away in his sleep at the age of 94
Mel King passed away in his sleep at the age of 94 (Source: WBUR)

King, a longtime resident of the South End, was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1973 and served for nearly a decade.

He made history as the first Black person to reach a mayoral general election in Boston, though he ultimately lost the race in 1983.

Mayor Wu expressed her condolences to King’s family and friends and noted that his impact and legacy would continue to inspire future leaders.

Funeral arrangements for King are pending, and a full list of survivors was not immediately available.

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Mel King Death: Family, Ethnicity, And Upbringing

Mel King’s wife is Joyce Ferriabough. They were married in 1951 and had six children together, including Charlene, Karen, and Melvin Jr.

Mel was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 20, 1928. He was one of eleven siblings. 

King’s ethnicity is African American, and his nationality is American. He was the son of Caribbean immigrants and grew up in the South End neighborhood.

His father, Watts Richard King, was a longshoreman who had migrated from Barbados, while his mother, Ursula (Earle) King, was an immigrant from Guyana.

King’s parents were both involved in community activism and instilled in him a strong sense of social justice from an early age.

After earning a bachelor’s degree from Claflin College in South Carolina in 1951, King returned to the South End.

King advocated for civil rights, affordable housing, and education reform, among other progressive causes
King advocated for civil rights, affordable housing, and education reform, among other progressive causes (Source: WGBH)

He then completed a master’s degree in teaching from Boston Teachers College and undertook postgraduate studies at Boston and Northeastern universities.

King briefly taught at Boston Trade and Boston Technical high schools before becoming a social worker at the South End Settlement House.

He later started an alternative “freedom school” at the same location. In 1951, King married Joyce Kenyon and remained married throughout his life.

As mentioned, King grew up in Boston and was deeply involved in the city’s political and social movements.

In addition to his political and community work, King was a respected educator, teaching at several universities throughout his career.

He was committed to empowering young people and promoting social change through education.

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