Mission Hill resident Adline Stallings was known for her selflessness and her constant fight for the betterment of others, passed away on June 1 at the age of 76, but she leaves behind a legacy of caring for others and standing up for what she believed in, especially through her work on the Task Force at the Mission Main development.
In 1970, Stallings came to Boston from Mississippi and “spent a lot of her own time…working to improve her community,” said Lydia Agro, Chief of Media and Engagement for the Boston Housing Authority (BHA).
Agro, a former reporter for the Mission Hill Gazette, said she first met Stallings while working for the paper.
“She just was a very strong leader in the community,” Agro said. “She was a very strong advocate for what she believed was best for both the residents and the site in terms of the details of that development.”
Stallings’ daugher, Sadie Stallings, said that “my mother was a no-funny-business type of person.” She said that while her mother “would be your friend,” she also “would cuss you out” if something annoyed her. “She was known for her cussing,” Stallings said.
When it came time for the redevelopment of the Mission Main development in the 1990s, Stallings said that Mayor Menino wanted a different developer than the Task Force, who wanted Arthur Winn. Menino wanted Edward Fish, according to a 2015 Boston Globe column. Stallings helped fight for what the tenants wanted.
“It had been like four or five hours and when they came out of the room, Menino had picked his company and she was like no, the neighborhood is not going to agree with that,” Stallings said. “So they had to scrap the proposal he had and they had to go back to the conference room and work at it again until they agreed with the Winn company. His developer and her developer worked together.”
Stallings reflected on what it was like to have Adline has her mother, saying that “she was very strict, but she was the best mom. We didn’t see her as everyone else saw her; we just saw her as our mother.”
Adline Stallings’ graciousness didn’t stop at ensuing the redevelopment was done properly.
“She was very giving,” Stallings said. “I had a lot of brothers and sisters in this development,” referring to other kids who lived there. She only had one biological sibling, her late brother Irving.
“If someone didn’t have any food, she would invite them in and feed them from our dinner table. She would give you her last dime.”
A park at Mission Main was dedicated in Adline Stallings’ name in 2015 by Winn Development, the BHA, and Mayor Walsh.
“She was deeply loved and respected by her neighbors, and she was adamant in acknowledging that the work she does and has always done, was for others,” the BHA wrote in a statement. “Adline Stallings was an extremely loving and selfless person, and will be deeply missed.”
She might have been tough, but it was out of the care and concern for others.
“If you promised her, you had to come through or you were going to get cussed out,” Stallings said. “My mother was like a Harriet Tubman of her community. She made sure that everybody around her had before she did.”