BOSTON (WWLP) – A funeral service for Mel King was held in the South End of Boston Tuesday.

Civil rights icon Mel King has died at the age of 94 after serving 50 years of political activism in his community. He was the first Black person to reach a general election in a race for the mayor of Boston. He lost to Ray Flynn in the 1983 mayoral election.

King represented Boston’s South End in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. In addition to his activism, King was also an adjunct professor at MIT.

The funeral was held at the Union United Methodist Church on 485 Columbus Ave. beginning at 12 p.m.

Senator Ed Markey commented, With the passing of Mel King, we have lost a trailblazer in all of its forms: civil rights leader, grassroots organizer, educator, writer, legislator. He was my friend and one of the smartest men I have ever known. Mel King was an inspiration to me and countless others who sought and fought for a more just future. He was the generational conscience for the entirety of the Commonwealth and the stalwart foundation on which all Boston’s modern progress has been won.”