The Rev. Marion C. Bascom, one of Baltimore’s major civil rights voices for the past 60 years and pastor emeritus of Baltimore’s Douglas Memorial Community Church, has passed away. He was 87.
Bascom was recognized for his role in the desegregation of area parks and eateries. He was born March 14, 1925, in Pensacola, Fla. His mother was a domestic worker and later a chef. After his father’s death, Bascom was raised by his maternal grandmother.
He earned his high school diploma in 1942 from Washington High School, where he was active in the chorus, drama club and tennis team. That same year Bascom was called to the ministry and preached his trial sermon at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola.
In 1946 he earned his bachelor’s in English from Florida Memorial College. He also served as pastor of Shiloh Baptist and First Baptist, both in his hometown.
In 1947 he earned his bachelor’s in divinity from Howard University. The following year, Bascom began his 46-year tenure at Douglas Memorial Community Church, where he created an overnight summer camp for underprivileged children.
Bascom is also credited with founding the Association of Black Charities and spearheading the development of Douglas Village, a 49-unit apartment complex; the Douglas Memorial Federal Credit Union and a “Meals-on-Wheels” for the sick and elderly. In addition, he was named Baltimore’s first African-American fire commissioner in 1968.
Before his retirement in 1995, Bascom joined a chorus of other leading civil rights voices in the Black community. Bascom together with Parren J. Mitchell, Samuel T. Daniels (leader of the Prince Hall Masons), the Rev. Vernon T Dobson of Union Baptist Church, Madeline W. Murphy, civil rights activist, Morgan State University professors Homer Favor and Pat Scott; the Rev. Wendell H. Phillips; and others, became the Baltimore Black community’s storied Goon Squad, a group that fought for civil rights justice and made their voices heard on behalf of those who had not yet gained a voice.
After his retirement from the Douglas Memorial pulpit, Bascom served as the former director of the Morgan State University Christian Center.
Del. Wendell F. Phillips posted his reaction on his Facebook page.
“Rev. Dr. Marion C. Bascom was yet another giant of a man and the 7th member of Baltimore’s Goon Squad who has now gone on to his reward for a job well done,” Phillips wrote. “While the loss of these great spirits seems to be coming a bit fast for me, I am thankful to God for having them in my life for just a little while. My faith tells me I will see them again. Thank you Uncle Marion & rest well … until we meet again.”
Services for the Rev. Marion Bascom will be on Saturday May 26, beginning with a wake at 10 a.m., followed by the funeral at 11 a.m., at Douglas Memorial Community Church, 1325 Madison Avenue, the church he served for many years. The Rev. Dr. S. Todd Yeary is the current pastor. For more information call the church office at 410-523-1700.