MacArthur Fellows Program

Muriel S. Snowden

Community Organizer | Class of 1987

Community Organizer
Dorchester, Massachusetts
71 at time of award
September 30, 1988
Published July 1, 1987

Muriel Snowden was a community organizer based in Boston, Massachusetts.

With her husband, she co-founded Freedom House, a self-help organization dedicated to the empowerment of the local community, and for thirty-five years she helped direct its activities.  Under Snowden’s leadership, Freedom House engendered programs addressing intractable problems—poverty, housing, unemployment, school segregation, and discrimination in hiring.

Although she retired in 1984, Snowden remained an active civic leader.  She encouraged the study of international relations and foreign languages through the establishment of computer-based learning programs.  Prior to co-founding Freedom House in 1949, she served as the executive director of the Cambridge Civic Unity Committee and as an investigator for the Essex County Welfare Board in Newark, New Jersey.  She also lectured and taught at the Simmons College School of Social Work.  She served on the boards of numerous institutions, including Harvard University, Tufts University, Babson College, the New England Aquarium, the Boston Museum of Science, and the Radcliffe Black Women’s Oral History Project.

Snowden received an A.B. (1938) from Radcliffe College and studied at the New York School of Social Work (1943-45). 

Last updated January 1, 2005.

Select News Coverage of Muriel S. Snowden
October 3, 1988
"Obituary: Muriel Snowden, 72, Pioneer in Integration"
The New York Times
Muriel S. Snowden , 1987 MacArthur Fellow
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