My purpose in life really has always been to make this a better world

- Maudelle
  • 101 years old
  • Born on June 18, 1911 in Jefferson County, Arkansas, United States.
  • Passed away on April 11, 2013 in Vallejo, California, United States.

Maudelle, our beloved sister and aunt and friend, was fierce and loving. She was fierce in her love for us. Her commitment was unwavering. And while she has risen and left behind the limits of her earthly form, she has not left us alone for her Spirit is still with us; still by our side.

Maudelle came West in 1943, right in the middle of what is often called the Great Migration of close to six million Black citizens who left from the South between 1915 and 1970, and moved to Northern and Western cities. Maudelle led our family West in search of sanctuary and opportunity. We settled in Los Angeles, Oakland and Berkeley. Like so many others, she came looking for “a country and a people where social rights are accorded irrespective of color or creed.”  But what set Maudelle apart, and defined her journey, is what she did next. When she did not find all that she sought, she set about the work of creating that country and organizing those people.

California Congresswoman Barbara Lee, best captures Maudelle's spirit and her selfless service to our comunity, and our nation:   

"Maudelle refused to accept arbitrary limitations. That's one of the best things we all respected about her. Maudelle is one of the best examples of how one person can make a difference. She was a fearless and inspirational woman who tirelessly fought to make this world a fair and just place. She spoke for the voiceless and was such a staunch defender of our basic civil rights.

I believe, like many, that Maudelle's legacy of over 70 years of service to Berkeley, the East Bay, the Nation, and the world will inspire many to speak for the voiceless and to stand up for justice, both here in America and around the globe. I will deeply miss her wise counsel, love, and support."


Posted by Linda Thomas on April 12, 2019
Just thinking of you today and all the good memories. The Berkeley community was made better because you always fought for the little people, when no one else would. Also thinking of your cat Mimi and those meat patties and oatmeal you made for Renee, Deborah, and I with those jumbo, juicy raisins(laugh). I use to love going to the Berkeley Coop seeing you at the Credit Union helping people get funds they desperately needed. And the train ride you and I took to the country to a friend’s house over night. Such fun seeing cornfields there . They were so tall for a 5 year old to see. What fun we had. Love you Aunty. Thanks for the good memories.
Posted by Renee Kitchen on April 18, 2018
Dearest Aunt Maudelle.. I miss you sooo much. I just can’t believe you left us 5 years ago, but your spirit and your legacy and the wonderful moments that we shared shall forever remain within my heart. With lots of hugs and kisses. From your Niece, Renee
Posted by Jackie Moore on June 18, 2017
I pray we continue to celebrate Aunt Maudelle's legacy of showing and loving us her family but also to give tribute to her legacy toward others through her civic & community contributions; she so desired to make this a better world. She cared deeply for the rights of all to achieve their personal goals. Thank you Lord for our Aunt Maudelle!
Posted by Eric Miller on June 18, 2017
Auntie: Happy Birthday today. You lived a life fighting for the downtrodden, a voice for the voiceless. And lived a life above reproach with integrity. More importantly, you put action's behind your words. When I was 8 years old you came and pick up my brother, Virgin Jr and took us with, held our hands as we marched across the golden gate bridge for sometype of civil protest along with hundred of other protesters. Love Eric Madison Miller
Posted by Eric Miller on June 18, 2017
Auntie: Happy Birthday today. You lived a life fighting for the downtrodden, a voice for the voiceless. And lived a life above reproach with integrity. More importantly, you put action's behind your words. When I was 8 years old you came and pick up my brother, Virgin Jr and took us with, held our hands as we marched across the golden gate bridge for sometype of civil protest along with hundred of other protesters. Love Eric Madison Miller
Posted by Terri Bell on June 18, 2015
Happy Birthday Aunt Maudelle...thinking of you on your day, although I think of you always. #forevermissed
Posted by Renee Kitchen on April 24, 2015
My Dearest Aunt Maudelle It's been 2 years since your passing but you remain forever in my heart and in my thoughts. I have your pictures displayed in our family room. Whenever I walk thru the door I see your pictures smiling back at me. Love you and miss you. Renee
Posted by Neodros Bridgeforth on September 28, 2014
There was no one like her in strength and character. She was ever kind and understanding whatever our problem was. though she is gone we still miss her. Neodros
Posted by Linda Thomas on June 19, 2014
Auntie bought me my first book, The First Book About Negroes by Langston Hughes. It helped me be proud of my heritage at age 4! I have read that book every year of my life, 57 years now. I remember the black statues and kente cloth she gave me after she visited in Africa. Then she would talk about the revolutions in various African countries. She once asked me to serve Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, and Huey P. Newton fried chicken in her dining room! They were discussing strategies about the black revolution and thanking her for opening her house to them. She asked me to babysit Ron Dellums kids during his very first campaign. I saw his struggle and auntie' s tireless effort to get him elected. I saw how she loved helping people eat right. She had such a profound affect on my learning about my black heritage and helping the poor. She truly loved helping people in her community.
Posted by Renee Kitchen on June 18, 2014
Aunt Maudelle Rememebering that today is your Birthday and thinking about what an awesome birthday celebration you would be having today at 103 yrs old. Wow!!!!. Love and miss you Renee
Posted by Renee Kitchen on April 18, 2014
My dearest Aunt Maudelle I can't believe its been a year since you passed. However your spirit remains in my heart and mind. I was so blessed to have you in my life. I'm glad I was able to spend so much quality time with you and to make sure that you were properly cared for and had everything you needed to live a comfortable life. I can just imagine you and your brothers and sisters in heaven having a real good time. Please give them my love and please give Dad a big hug and kiss for me. I miss him so much also. Love Always, Renee
Posted by Connie Bridgeforth on June 21, 2013
My Dear Aunt Maudelle always stood up for anybody who needed a helping hand, she always walked her talk, and there was nothing false or fake about her! She will forever be my "Shero". She made a gigantic difference during her stay here, and will be forever missed & remembered.....
Posted by Neodros Bridgeforth on June 21, 2013
6/18/2013 I miss her not being here for her 102nd birthday. But she is not suffering any more. But happy birthday Maudelle you deserve it however. Neodros
Posted by Evette Hemmons on June 18, 2013
"Not everything that we stand for can be changed, but nothing can be changed until we stand up for something." (unknown) That's what my Aunt believed and that's how she lived her life. I am proud to be related to her and to have had her in my life.
Posted by Michael Berkowitz on May 15, 2013
Maudelle had an admirable record of engagement for social change even before her 20 year stint on City Council. Among her many accomplishments was founding two senior centers. But the conservative majority of the City Council fired her from managing one of the centers which she had founded. As SEIU President, I put a picket line around City Hall and (continued in next box!)
Posted by Michael Berkowitz on May 15, 2013
(Continued from previous) . . . to try get her reinstated. Instead, he illegally fired me (I was out a year and later the City had to pay me a year's back pay!). When Boggan refused to reinstate Maudelle, she ran for City Council, at age 72, won overwhelmingly and became the boss of those who had fired her. She then led a reform of that corrupt administration!
Posted by Jackie Moore on May 13, 2013
My first memory of Aunt Maudelle is her greeting us when we saw her in Berkeley and throwing her arms open to hug us one at a time...I felt an instant "love" connection that was sincere and genuine. Her smile was strong and I was not nervous or scared anymore to be in such a new place because of her.
Posted by Michael Berkowitz on May 13, 2013
For her 90th Birthday, she led a labor march of over a thousand up Ashby to the Claremont to support the hotel workers union organizing. We all sat in the street blocking traffic. The crowd sang her a robust Happy Birthday . . . then she was the first to be arrested. After she was arrested, the police officers took turns having their picture taken with their celebrity Vice Mayor.
Posted by Annie Esposito on May 13, 2013
i remember when some of the antiwar progressives we supported and propelled forward became democrats courting state office. one tried to dismantle the berkeley citizens action party - our local politically organized group. cuz, well, our 2 party system doesnt tolerate any third party. maudelle went in swinging - and preserved the independence of the local bca. she never ever sold out!
Posted by Neodros Bridgeforth on May 11, 2013
She was my first teacher and from 1st grade taught me all the things that have guided my life. No one could have had a better model in their life. She stood by me in my darkest hour and my love and respect for her is forever maintained in my heart.
Posted by Frederick Simpson on May 3, 2013
I am so proud of my Aunt - If I am able to accomplish just 1/10 of what she did in service to others in my life - I will have considered that I had a successful life.
Posted by Ronnie Bridgeforth on May 1, 2013
Those we love don't go away, They walk beside us every day, unseen, unheard but always near, still loved, still missed, and very dear. unknown

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