Marshall Bright Sr., NAACP activist and postal worker, dies


Services for Marshall Travis Bright Sr., a retired U.S. Postal Service worker, city elections judge and community service director of the local NAACP, will be at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow at the Nutter Funeral Home, 2501 Gwynn Falls Parkway.

Mr. Bright, of the 3600 block of Copley Road in Ashburton, died Friday of heart failure at the age of 88.

The Baltimore native graduated from Frederick Douglass High School and attended what is now Morgan State University. After leaving college he worked as a florist's assistant for several years.

He then worked as a mail handler for 36 years before retiring in 1963. He was a vice president of the local chapter of the National Alliance of Postal and Federal Employees and served as its legislative representative, lobbying Congress on postal and civil rights issues.

After retirement, he used his lobbying skills and the knowledge of politics he gained from 20 years as a local elections judge working as a volunteer for the Baltimore branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The organization made him its first community service director, a role he filled for about 15 years until his health began to fail during the early 1980s.

In a 1970 interview about a drop in membership of the NAAC and other traditional civil rights groups in the wake of the 1968 Baltimore riots, he told a reporter, "All civil rights organizations aren't the same. The only thing we all ever agreed on was the march on Washington -- and even that took some doing."

Rather than attribute the drop in support to white merchants' fear or to rising militancy among young blacks, he emphasized the increased role of the federal government in ensuring civil rights.

He received several awards for his work, including one from the Herbert M. Frisby Historical Society "for his integrity, ability, determination, dedication and concern for the welfare of all people."

Surviving are his wife of 43 years, the former Emma I. Gaskin; and a son, Marshall Bright Jr. of Baltimore.

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