REGION – There are several very well-known Black people with Massachusetts ties who are justly celebrated in February during Black History Month. Former enslaved person Frederick Douglass became the leader of the Massachusetts abolitionist movement and lived in both New Bedford and Lynn. Early 20th century sociologist, writer, and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois was born in Great Barrington. Crispus Attucks, a sailor born in Framingham, was the first person to die in the American Revolution, after a confrontation with British soldiers led to the Boston Massacre.
Here are three other famous Black Massachusetts residents, all of whom continued making important contributions in their respective fields well into their later years.
You may be familiar with the name Melnea Cass, because of the boulevard in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood that bears her name. Cass was a community and civil rights activist during the mid-20th century. Among her accomplishments was being one of the founders of the Boston local of the first nationally chartered black labor union, working to desegregate the Boston public schools, and serving as a board member and president of the Boston chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
And then there’s the early 20th-century husband-and-wife power couple from Framingham, Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller, and Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller. Dr. Fuller was a physician, psychiatrist, pathologist, and professor. He was known for his work in the field of Alzheimer’s disease, including research done in Germany with Alois Alzheimer, the psychiatrist and neuropathologist from whom the affliction got its name.
Meta Fuller was a sculptor, painter, and poet who was also active in theater. She studied in Paris and became a protégé of famed French sculptor Auguste Rodin, and her work now resides in several museums, including the Smithsonian Institute in Washington and the Danforth Museum in Framingham.