Hilda Mason

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Hilda Mason
Member of the Council of the District of Columbia At-large
In office
April 2, 1977 – January 2, 1999
Preceded byJulius Hobson
Succeeded byDavid Catania
Personal details
Born(1916-06-14)June 14, 1916
Campbell County, Virginia, U.S.[1]
DiedDecember 16, 2007(2007-12-16) (aged 91)
Washington, D.C., US
Political partyD.C. Statehood Party
ResidenceShepherd Park, Washington, D.C.[1]

Hilda Mason was a politician and statehood advocate in Washington, D.C. She was a member of the D.C. Statehood Party and served as an at-large member of the Council of the District of Columbia from 1977 to 1999, becoming, at the time, the longest-serving elected official in the district's history since the beginning of home rule.[citation needed] Mason was one of a few members of the Democratic Socialists of America to be elected to public office prior to 2017.[2]

Raised in Altavista, Virginia, Mason moved to Washington, D.C., in 1945.[3] She worked as a teacher and then an assistant principal.[3] She chose the middle name Howland in recognition of a northern white woman who taught Mason and other southern black women.[3] It was on the picket lines where she met Charlie Mason, a white man who had graduated from Harvard University and Howard University Law School.[3] They married at All Souls Church in 1965.[3]

In the mid-1990s, Mason's mental condition came into question, and her behavior was described as "sometimes-erratic and unpredictable".[4] She began calling herself the "Grandmother to the world".[5] Statehood Party officials tried to get her to retire, which she resisted, but eventually they succeeded, only to realize that they had nobody to replace her, at which point they worked to persuade her not to retire. By then, however, the electorate was tired of the issue and she finished third in an at-large race that elected two council members.[6][7]

Political career[edit]

  • April 2, 1977 — appointed by the D.C. Statehood Party to fill the at-large council seat left vacant by the death of Julius Hobson[8]
  • July 19, 1977 – elected at-large council member in special election (narrow win over Barbara Sizemore)[9]
  • November 7, 1978 — reelected at-large council member[10]
  • November 2, 1982 — reelected at-large council member[10]
  • November 4, 1986 — reelected at-large council member[10]
  • November 6, 1990 — reelected at-large council member[10]
  • November 8, 1994 — reelected at-large council member[10]
  • November 3, 1998 — ran for reelection but was defeated in general by Phil Mendelson and David Catania (the at-large race has two winners)[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Redmon, Jeremy. "Has her time passed? - Mason denies she's too old to run." The Washington Times. October 16, 1998.
  2. ^ Democratic Left, vol. 8 no. 1 (January 1990), page 7.
  3. ^ a b c d e Montgomery, David (October 15, 1998). "Mason's Hold on Council Seat May Be Waning". The Washington Post. p. B1.
  4. ^ Valerie Strauss, "Mason's behavior worries allies, foes alike", The Washington Post, Aug. 1, 1995, p. B1.
  5. ^ James Jones, "Loose Lips: Brazil Takes Offense", Washington City Paper, Nov. 17, 2006.
  6. ^ J.Y. Smith and Joe Holley, "Vocal Former Member Of D.C. Council Pushed Home Rule, Education", The Washington Post, Dec. 18, 2007, p. B1.
  7. ^ Mike DeBonis, "Hilda Mason Dies at 91", Washington City Paper, Dec. 17, 2007.
  8. ^ Williams, Juan; Coleman, Milton (1977-04-03). "Hilda Mason to Fill Hobson Council Seat". The Washington Post. p. 21. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
  9. ^ Coleman, Milton; Morgan, Thomas (1977-07-20). "Mason Leading Sizemore". The Washington Post. p. A1. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
  10. ^ a b c d e f District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics. "Historical Elected Officials: At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia". Archived from the original on 2008-07-16. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
Council of the District of Columbia
Preceded by
Julius Hobson
At-Large Member, Council of the District of Columbia
Succeeded by
Phil Mendelson

External links[edit]