Michigan Remembers 9‑11

Meta L. Fuller Waller, 60; a University of Michigan graduate.  She worked as a special programs manager, Office of the Secretary of the US Army, Pentagon. When Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, Waller was working at her desk. She held a life-long interest in civil rights and attended the United Nations Conference on Racism in South Africa shortly before her death.


When 60-year-old Meta Waller returned from the World Conference on Racism, she told her family it had changed her life. Waller attended the conference with a group of school children, taking time off from her work at the Pentagon, where she was special programs manager for the administrative assistant to the Secretary of the Army. She had worked there 12 years and was at her desk when the hijacked airliner slammed into the building. 

Long interested in the civil rights movement, Waller looked for inspiration to her two famous grandparents, Meta Warrick Fuller, an African American sculptor, and Solomon Carter Fuller, the first African American psychiatrist in the United States. 

Waller collected her grandmother’s sculptures and tried her own hand at art. She was also a poet; her niece, Chrislan F. Manuel, said the family is trying to collect her poems. 

Carol Fuller, Waller’s sister-in-law, said she was a gifted storyteller. Family trips to Martha’s Vineyard prompted Waller to create a series of science fiction stories about fellow ferry passengers from other planets who traveled to the Vineyard disguised as day-trippers.“There, that one could be from Pluto,” she would say. 

Waller was a world traveler. Her niece and sister-in-law loved taking all-girl vacations with her, including a recent cherished one to the British Virgin Islands. 

Waller grew up in Framingham, Massachusetts and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and her Master’s degree in Government from Harvard. 

Relatives said they are gaining strength by remembering Waller’s resolve in the face of sorrow, including the death of her husband and daughter. 

“This is a woman who has had a lot of tragedy in her life. But she went on. She continued to work – and she was successful,” Fuller said.