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Remembering Civil Rights Pioneer Thelma Glass

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Thelma McWilliams Glass is a Civil Rights Pioneer who will go down in history as the last surviving member of the Women's Missionary Council, a group influential in spreading the word about the Montgomery Bus Boycott and launching the effort.

"She was known for her smile. It was remarkable to know her and it's painful that she is gone," Alabama State University President Dr. William Harris said.

To her alma mater Alabama State University. Glass is an icon.

"She's the kind of alumni every president wishes an alumnus would be," Dr. Harris said.

To president Harris, she was a mother figure.

"She was very much committed to the university and to me personally," Dr. Harris said.

Dr. Harris says even though she was a senior citizen, she was still very vibrant and he's still in shock.

"And very unexpected death, in fact I had just seen Mrs. Glass Friday night at a gala and she seemed her normal self," Dr. Harris said.  

Mrs. Glass received the university's highest honor: ASU's Black and Gold Standard Award last year. She also has an auditorium named after in Trenholm Hall.

"It saddens us to see that loss. It seems like an end of an era," Alabama State University Provost Dr. Alfred Smith said.

Smith says he's known Mrs. Glass since 1976. She was a geography professor from more than 40 years and he says she was known as being firm and compassionate toward her students.

"And she took a great deal of time working with students," Dr. Smith said.

She will be remembered for her service, courage and committment.

Mrs. Glass is not only being honored for her life and civil rights contributions locally, but nationally. ASU officials say she will be featured in Friday's edition of The Washington Post and New York Times.

Funeral arrangements have been set. Services will be held Tuesday, July 31st at noon at the Acadome. It is open to the public.

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