Deceased August 17, 2017
After a most impactful life, Horace died on Aug. 17, 2017, at his home in Wakefield, Mass., at age 93. A celebration of his life was held on Oct. 21, 2017, in conjunction with the Women’s March of Courage, to honor his beliefs, at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul on Tremont Street in Boston. In lieu of flowers, the family asked that you always work to find ways to act for justice.
Following Amherst, he attended Andover Newton Theological Seminary from which he graduated in 1953. Horace had served in World War II before college and after completing his education became a reverend and activist. He served parishes in Beverly and Andover and then as minister of Christian education for the Massachusetts Conference of Congregational Churches.
He had an epiphany driving home after preaching an Easter morning service in Westfield one week after Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination. From that day on, he devoted his life to work against white racism. He founded the nonprofit, anti-racist organization, Community Change, which still operates on Beacon Street in Boston. He created and taught the History of Racism at Boston College. Additionally, he was a national park service ranger at the Boston African American National Historic Site.
Horace created and worked on many boards, consulted many historians and attended many marches. He was also one of the world’s pre-eminent citizen scholars of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison. His work on Garrison is considered one of the most robust compilations available and can be seen at www.theliberatorfiles.com (along with a video of Horace). He updated the Garrison motto to use it as one of his most common phrases, “OUR COUNTRY IS THE WORLD—ALL PEOPLE ARE OUR PEOPLE.”
A list of his awards and related activities would fill two pages. I cite just some of his awards: Earl Douglas Award and Life membership, City Mission Society, 1982; Beyond War Foundation; Political Research Associates; Boston YMCA; Metropathways; Boston Police Department; Massachusetts Teachers Association; American Association of University Women, Diversity Award, 1994; and very many other culminating in “Horace Seldon Day” in 2017.
To my sincere regret, I did not get to know Horace while at college. In those years with veterans returning, transfers, etc., there was no common starting date to assemble the class. His life work was most inspiring, so timely, so selfless. His family, his community can be so proud of him. Speaking for the class, he was exemplary, and we too are proud he was one of us.
Gerry Reilly ’49