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A Letter in the Fall River, MA, Herald News

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LETTER: Like father, like son for missionary familyPosted Oct 01, 2012 @ 02:24 PM



The Rev. Harold Melvin, an Episcopal priest, after being a missionary in Brazil three years, came to Fall River in 1959 as pastor of St. John’s Episcopal Church. His family consisted of wife Joan, a graduate of Brown University and three children. Rev. Hal, as many knew him, supported the downtrodden and persecuted. At that time the civil rights “battles” were being fought on southern buses, in restaurants, in courts and in the streets. The hottest spot was Selma, Ala., but other localities appealed for help. Rev. Melvin joined the protest in Williamston, N.C. There, with 11 other New Englanders (including theologian Harvey Cox), he was jailed for trying to achieve equal treatment for minorities. Upon release Rev. Hal returned to St. John’s on Middle Street almost in the shadow of St. Anne’s. But in the following years, many Episcopalians, like others, moved to the suburbs. Rev. Hal became a professor a…