Sampson Green Jr., civil rights leader, dies at 65

March 05, 1993|By Holly Selby | Holly Selby,Staff Writer

Sampson Green Jr., Baltimore civil rights leader and social worker, died Tuesday after a brief illness. He was 65 years old.

Known for his determined pursuit of equality for African-Americans and direct leadership style, Mr. Green was active throughout his life in the civil rights movement.

"I had a tremendous admiration for him, he was very gutsy," said former U.S. Rep. Parren J. Mitchell, who recalled "standing on many picket lines and in many protests" with Mr. Green during the 30 years they were friends.

"He was confrontational, which was needed . . . and he did say rather frequently, 'We will stand here 'til we win,' " Mr. Mitchell said.

Born on June 18, 1927, in Weldon, N.C., Mr. Green came to Baltimore in 1940 to attend then-Morgan State College and the University of Maryland, where he earned a master of arts degree in social work.

He served four years in the Air Force, then worked in a steel mill and as a postal clerk before joining the Baltimore Department of Public Welfare as a case worker. In 1967, he became a senior social worker at Sinai Hospital and in subsequent years, served as director of medical social services and executive director of the Model Cities Neighborhood Adolescent and Young Adult Drug Abuse Program.

Mr. Green was also educational specialist, community and student affairs, for the Baltimore school systems from 1975 to 1978, when he joined the Social Security Administration as a personnel specialist. He retired as a safety specialist at SSA in 1990.

Perhaps best known for his continual efforts to ensure equal housing opportunities for African-Americans, Mr. Green also fought relentlessly to improve community life.

"His specialty was really discrimination in housing, but he took on racism anywhere it appeared," said Mr. Mitchell. "He led protests against the Horizon House, an apartment building and a restaurant, both of which discriminated against black people."

"He has been a champion, someone who celebrated the rights of human beings and worked diligently to make the situation better for us as blacks," said Baltimore entertainer Ruby Glover, who knew Mr. Green for 20 years. "He stood for equality straight across the board."

During the 1970s, Mr. Green also participated in a campaign to desegregate the United Way and to ensure that donations to the black community were fair.

He served as chairman of the Black United Front from 1969 to 1970, as a member of the Maryland Human Relations Commission and on many other boards.

As the first chairman of the board of Sojourner-Douglass College, Mr. Green had a vision that education would go beyond "paper and pencil," said Dr. Charles Simmons, president of the college.

Mr. Green felt that education should "give students the ability to not only understand theory but be used as a tool for community service and development," Dr. Simmons said.

Services for Mr. Green are to be offered at noon tomorrow at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 3200 Walbrook Ave. Interment wil be at Druid Ridge Cemetery, Park Heights Avenue and Old Court Road in Pikesville.

Mr. Green is survived by his wife, the former Lorraine Thomas of Baltimore; two daughters, Cynthia Warren of Baltimore and Lisa Green of Cambridge, Mass.; a brother, John Green of Newark, N.J.; a sister, Beatrice Burgess of Orlando, Fla; his mother-in-law, Beulah Thomas; a granddaughter and nieces and nephews.

The family suggests memorial contributions to Sojourner-Douglass College, where a Sampson Green Jr. Scholarship Fund has been established, or to the Trinity Presbyterian Church organ fund.

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