Leader of Minnesota delegation in March on Washington dies at 92


Matthew Little, a prominent civil rights leader in Minnesota for the past 50 years, has died, the Star Tribune reports.

He died Sunday, his wife said, at the age of 92.

Little led the Minnesota delegation in the historic March On Washington on Aug. 28, 1963. More than 200,000 Americans gathered for the political rally, which culminated with the iconic "I Have a Dream" speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

State DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin honored Little in a statement, saying he “worked alongside the greats in our party like Hubert Humphrey, Orville Freeman and Walter Mondale, among others, in the fight for equality, human rights and economic justice.”

“From serving as president of the Minnesota chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to fighting for equal education for all students to testifying in a lawsuit that ended with the Minneapolis Fire Department agreeing to hire 20 black firefighters, Matt played an important role in Minnesota’s history," Martin said.

Little, who retired from his NAACP post in 1993, was also a member of the state's electoral college.

According to MinnPost, Little cast his electoral vote in the historic 2008 election of President Barack Obama. Before that, he was an elector when Jimmy Carter became president, and cast electoral votes for Bill Clinton twice.

"But those all pale compared to (Obama),'' Little, then 86, told MinnPost. "I keep thinking this is a dream, and I'm afraid that any moment now, I'm going to wake up and it's going to be over.''

Little also recalled Obama's election, as well as the King, in a 2009 interview with the Twin Cities Daily Planet.

“I’m so enthralled by Barack (Obama), because I certainly believe it’s saying that (Obama’s election) is a fulfillment of that dream that Martin talked about in that hot August of 1963 in from of the Lincoln Memorial," he told the publication.

Little, who was born Aug. 21, 1921, in Washington, North Carolina, moved to Minnesota in 1948, the Star Tribune says.

He was still an active member of the African-American Leadership Council in St. Paul at the time of his death, the organization's chairman, Tyrone Terrill, said.

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