Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

90-year-old joins music fraternity 69 years after taking a stand against discrimination

When Shirley Shapiro was a 21-year-old student at Boston University, she took a stand against discrimination, and now, 69 years later, she is being recognized for following her conscience.

Shapiro, 90, told the Concord Journal that when she was a music student at the university, she was invited to join the Mu Phi Epsilon fraternity. She was excited to be part of the organization, until she found out black students were not allowed to join the BU chapter. "Who wants to join a group like that?" she asked. She went on to teach second and fourth grade in Boston for 32 years, and when her nephew Mark Shapiro found out what she did all those years ago, he contacted Rosemary Ames, the international president of Mu Phi Epsilon.

Ames told the Concord Journal she "can't deny" that there probably was discrimination back in 1948, and "it's not something we're proud of," but she was thrilled to welcome Shapiro into the fold as an official member during a ceremony at her Massachusetts home Nov. 2. "We've given her something she's wanted for a long time, and it was a pleasure to do so," Ames said.