The Honorable Hilda Mason (j. 10/1953; d. 2008) met and married Charles (“Charlie”) Mason, Jr., her husband of 41 years at All Souls, which, in the words of Rev. Yvonne Seon Chappelle, “was perhaps the only place in town where an interracial couple could worship together.”
Together and separately they initiated, participated, and funded many church projects and outside activities, including organizing a rent subsidy project and summer enrichment program for children in the neighborhood around the church in the mid-1960s. She was a delegate to the 1969 General Assembly in Boston and active in All Souls’ Social Responsibility Committee in the early 1970s. Apart from her dedication and commitment to All Souls, Hilda was an educator, an advocate for DC statehood, and a city leader who dedicated her life to public service and fighting for women’s, children’s, and LGTBQ rights, and advocating for the elderly. In 1977, she was elected to a seat on the DC City Council and was reelected in 1982, 1986, 1990, and 1994, serving 22 consecutive years in that position.
She received an honorary doctor of laws degree from UDC’s David A. Clarke Law School, as well as honorary degrees from St. Pauls College and from the Starr King School for the Ministry, where she also served as a trustee. With the support of a $750,000 gift to Starr King from the estate of Hilda and her husband, the school established the Hilda Mason Teaching Fellowship Awards for Student-Taught Courses in her honor and set aside funds to provide financial support for scholarships and student grants.
You can watch a video podcast, below, about Hilda’s activism from the early 1960s to the 2000s by civil rights leader and All Souls member Lawrence Guyot (d. 2012) and Debbie Hanrahan.