Dr. Homer L. Meade II Obituary

July 4, 2021

Dr. Homer L. "Skip" Meade, II, a passionate educator who spent his life making a difference and being an agent of change passed away on July 2, 2021 from complications related to dementia. Dr. Meade was born in Madison, New Jersey on October 21, 1946, the son of Homer L. Meade and Carmeta Meade. He graduated from Madison High School in 1965 where he was a multi-sport varsity athlete, a member of Madison's undefeated state champion football team, and a respected student government leader. He went on to receive his bachelor of arts from Cornell University in 1969. In 1976, Dr. Meade received his Masters in Education from North Adams State College. The University of Massachusetts presented Dr. Meade with a Doctor of Education degree in 1987.

Dr. Meade's impact on students throughout Berkshire County and Western Massachusetts has been considerable. He taught and coached track at Monument Mountain Regional High School in the 1970's and 1980's. He taught at Simon's Rock in Great Barrington and later at the Berkshire School. He served as a member of the W.E.B Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and provided guidance to students as the faculty chair of the university writing program. Dr. Meade reveled in running into former students and took great joy when they shared their stories of success with him. He strongly believed in the potential of every student in his classes. In a 1978 article from the Berkshire Eagle, Dr. Meade stated emphatically, "I am sure there is a poet in every one of the students."

From 1987 through 2013, he worked at National Evaluation Systems and Pearson North America developing and building consensus between state education program sponsors and their public school teachers and college faculty in the adoptions of the performance assessment holistic scoring designs of their teacher certification/licensure assessments.

Dr. Meade's commitment to being an agent of change gained national notoriety in the spring of 1969 when he and other African American students at Cornell University were involved in the takeover of Willard Straight Hall on the Cornell campus. The iconic photo of Dr. Meade and other student leaders leaving Willard Straight after the armed occupation landed on the cover of the May 5, 1969 issue of Newsweek magazine. The photographer later received the Pulitzer Prize for the photo. When asked about the incident in a 2013 article in the Berkshire Eagle, Dr. Meade said the following: "If there is an injustice, we have to right it. When there is justice, then we need to promulgate it. It's not enough to do. To understand the impact of the impact so we can be true and contributive citizens. There needs to be movement of knowledge. That's what I've done."

In 1979, Dr. Meade celebrated one of the crowning achievements of his life. He served as the program coordinator for the W.E.B. Dubois Memorial Committee responsible for the National Historic Landmark designation of Dr. Dubois' boyhood home site in Great Barrington. Over 900 people attended the historic event including Julian Bond, representatives from the Washington Embassy of the People's Republic of China and the Ambassador to the United States from Ghana. Dr. Meade in an editorial in the Berkshire Eagle described Dr. Dubois as an "educated an honest man... [who] was one of the best educated and clearest thinkers of this century." Dr. Meade's fierce determination and passion for this cause was typical of his approach to life.

Dr. Meade was a strong believer in the importance of community and had an intense appreciation of the natural beauty of Berkshire County. In addition to serving as the president of the Laurel Hill Association he volunteered at Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area, Berkshire Country Day School and many other worthwhile organizations.

Dr. Meade received many awards and recognition for his accomplishments. Most recently in 2019, the Berkshire County Branch of the NAACP presented Dr. Meade its Change Maker Award because of his work crafting curriculum and teacher standards for a new generation of Americans.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Paula of Stockbridge and his son Matthew (Eileen) and his two grandsons Riley and Everett all of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

His life will be celebrated at Memorial Service on August 28, 2021 at 11:00 am at St Paul's Episcopal, Church 29 Main Street, Stockbridge, MA Memorial Contributions may be sent to W.E.B. Dubois National Historic Site, P. O. Box 611, Great Barrington, MA 01230