Matthew Little, Minnesota civil rights leader and longtime President of the Minneapolis NAACP, died last weekend at the age of 92. Minnesota state legislators Jeffrey Hayden (DFL-Minneapolis), Bobby Joe Champion (DFL-Minneapolis) and Rena Moran (DFL-St. Paul) released the following joint statement:
“Today we honor Matthew Little—our friend, our mentor and a hero of Minnesota’s civil rights movement. Matt will always be remembered for his immeasurable contributions to the advancement of racial justice and civil rights; but we will remember him most for his constructive mentoring and the encouragement he gave so many local African American leaders that looked up to him.
We stand on Matthew Little’s strong and secure shoulders. He encouraged each of us to become educated on the issues and grow as leaders in our communities. He showed us how to achieve meaningful change by working through the political and legal systems. Most importantly, he paved the way, giving us the confidence and the drive to continue his struggle for social justice, always with the overriding values of non-violence, understanding, and optimism for the future.
We are forever grateful for Matthew’s Little’s leadership, his courageous actions and his inspiring words. Matthew brought his struggles to life through his stories of the discrimination he faced and how he prevailed against injustice. He rose to become President of the local NAACP chapter and became a tireless voice in fighting inequity in education, housing and hiring. So, although we grieve for our friend today, we are comforted in the knowledge that his life has opened up so many possibilities for our children and grandchildren, and inspired each of us to take up the cause of liberty and justice for all.”