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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Collections >> Collection Record

The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

Moseley, Margaret. Papers

Repository: Harvard University. Radcliffe Institute. Schlesinger Library

Collection Description (Extant): This collection is divided into four sections. The first, MM's personal papers, contains correspondence, awards, speeches, clippings, and invitations regarding civil and human rights, honorary events, and MM's memoirs. Also included are taped interviews by Berry Shea, which formed the basis of MM's published memoir, Moving Mountains One Stone at a Time.
The second section contains clippings, reports, and letters documenting MM's work with various Cape Cod organizations, such as CAC and FHC. It also includes letters and artwork from third grade students of the Centerville School on Cape Cod in appreciation of MM's talk on Martin Luther King, Jr., and a videotape about the reverse freedom riders, which aired as part of the "Tales of Cape Cod" series on C3TV.
The third section, MM's work with the Cape Cod branch of WILPF, contains pamphlets, flyers, clippings, letters, photographs, newsletters, guest books, and invitations. The fourth section concerns FOR's recognition of MM's lifetime achievement and contains flyers, articles, a press release, clippings, order of service, guest books, letters, photographs, and an audiotape of the MLK award presentation.

A community, peace, and civil rights activist, Margaret Moseley, daughter of Nellie Elizabeth (Hall) and Thomas Buxton Smith, was born in Dedham, Mass., in 1901, and graduated from high school in Dorchester, Mass., in 1919. MM found that she was unable to pursue a career in nursing or business because of racial discrimination. She married Frederick Douglass Lee (ca. 1922); they had three children: Frederick Douglass, Jr., Alice Louise Marie, and Thomas George.

MM was a founding member of Cooperative Way, a consumers' cooperative in Boston in the 1940s, and served on the board of the Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. She was one of the founding members of Freedom House in Roxbury, president of the Community Church in Boston, and Massachusetts legislative chair for the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), which established the Margaret Moseley Memorial Peace Education fund in her honor in 1989.

After moving to Cape Cod in 1961, MM helped form local chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and WILPF. She became a founding member of the Community Action Committee of Cape Cod (CAC) and the Fair Housing Committee on Cape Cod (FHC) and was active in the Cape Cod branch of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). She was also active in the Unitarian Church of Barnstable, becoming a founding member of the Social Responsibility Committee and the first woman to chair the Prudential Committee, the governing body of the church. She also served on the board of the Cape Cod Section, Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and the board of Elder Services of the Cape and Islands. She and her second husband, Emerson Moseley, worked on a committee that succeeded in getting an affirmative action contract for the Town of Barnstable.

In 1962, MM was part of a committee formed to meet the 'reverse freedom riders' as they arrived on the Cape. Reverse freedom riders were African Americans from Arkansas sent on a free one-way trip to Hyannis by the White Citizens Council to embarrass John F. Kennedy by stirring up racial problems in the town where his family spent their summer vacations. In 1965, MM traveled to Selma, Ala., with six other women from WILPF to work on the voting rights campaign.

MM holds life memberships in the NAACP, WILPF, and FOR, and has been honored by the Cape Cod branches of the NAACP and WILPF, Cape Cod Community College, Town of Barnstable, Cape Cod Council of Doers, the legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1995, she received FOR's Martin Luther King award for lifetime achievement.

Date(s): 1943-1997

Digital Status: No

Extent: 1+1/2 file boxes, 1 folio folder, 3 folders of photographs, 7 audiotapes, 1 videotape

Finding Aid URL: External Link

Language: English

Interviewees: Margaret Moseley

Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights


Cape Cod (Mass.)
Civil rights movements--Alabama
Civil rights movements--Massachusetts
Civil rights workers--Massachusetts
Discrimination in housing
Fellowship of Reconciliation (U.S.)
Freedom Rides, 1961
King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Peace movements
Race discrimination--Massachusetts
Selma (Ala.)
White Citizens councils


Sound recordings


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   September 26, 2018
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