Mel King: A Personal Reminiscence


by Charles Coe

Boston’s Mel King, longtime community organizer and educator, died late last month at the age of 94. In 1973, Mel was elected as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives’ 9th Suffolk district, a post he held until early 1983.

I volunteered for his campaign for mayor in 1983 when he ran against Raymond Flynn, at a time when many thought it was preposterous to consider the possibility that a person of color could become Mayor of Boston. But although Mel didn’t win, his willingness to stand up for the disadvantaged–whatever their color–earned him the respect and appreciation of anyone committed to the cause of human rights.

For many years Mel and his wife Joyce hosted a Sunday brunch in their South End home where all were welcome. It was a time for those from all backgrounds to break bread and share ideas about community building. I’m still in touch with some of the people I met there. 

Mel…thanks for your hard work and commitment. And for your willingness to speak truth to power.