Massachusetts

‘It's Beautiful': Dignitaries and Many More Attend Mel King Wake

City, state and federal politicians were among the many who gathered Monday at the wake for Boston civil rights icon Mel King

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Bostonians gathered Monday to honor civil rights icon Mel King, who died last month at the age of 94.

The line of people wrapping around Union United Methodist Church was indicative of how many lives King touched throughout his lifetime as a civil rights activist, state representative and Boston mayoral candidate.

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"I saw people of every race, every ethnicity, every religion in that line back there, and it's beautiful," said Ben Flucas, who worked with King at the Massachusetts State House.

"I am here, like so many other folks, to just express my deep gratitude and my love for his life and his legacy," former Boston Mayor Kim Janey said.

City, state and federal politicians were among those paying their respects Monday.

"He challenged everyone to do better, to think bigger, for who we could all be," Sen. Ed Markey said.

"Boston is a much better place because of Mel King, and that's just the truth of it," Rep. Stephen Lynch added.

King was also the first Black person to reach a general election in a Boston mayoral race, losing to Ray Flynn in 1983.

"That campaign brought out the best, because they saw that Mel and I were friends," Flynn recalled Monday.

Mel King’s son opens up about his father’s life as a community leaders ad civil rights activist.

He was known as someone who believed in peaceful politics and unity.

"One of the lasting legacies of Mr. King is how he brought people together," said Segun Idowu, Boston's chief of economic opportunity and inclusion.

"He was just so great. We just want the community to keep on pushing on. We need more Mel Kings around," said South End resident Terry Yancey.

Earlier in the day, Mayor Michelle Wu and others laid a wreath for King at Boston City Hall.

King's funeral will be held Tuesday, beginning at noon.

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