Marcella (Marcy) Rossein was born on February 25, 1918 in Bronx, NY, two years before women won the right to vote in the U.S. She is the daughter of two Russian immigrants. Her mother Molly was the family matriarch guiding the family with a strong woman's view. Her grandmother Bubby lived to age 106. Marcella grew up in Brooklyn with her three sisters, who most, like their mother, became assertive women. Marcella graduated from Brooklyn College with a BS in biology in 1939 and was one of the few women in her class. She became politically active in college and remained a political activist throughout her life. She and her husband Withal focused their political activity on organizing and actively fighting against anti-Semitism, racial oppression, fighting for civil rights and equality for working people from a leftist prospective. Marcy and Withal became actively involved in organizing against racism and economic exploitation, and participated in a mass defense movement to save the Scottsboro Boys, nine African American teenagers, ages 13 to 19, accused in Alabama of raping two white women on a train in 1931. In 1937 the case went to the Supreme Court, and Marcy drove through the night with other activists to picket the Court demanding justice. The landmark set of legal cases from this incident dealt with racism and the right to a fair trial.
While raising four children on Long Island in the 1950’s-1970’s, she continued her political activism and became involved in local community organizing to integrate an all-white town, bring cultural events to the community, and work for better schools. She continued her political involvement, including the struggle against McCarthyism which was a government attempt to suppress leftist political activity. Although it was a challenge for women to be recognized for their abilities in leadership positions during this period, Marcella not only became the President of the Oceanside High School PTA, she also became the Co-Chair of the Oceanside Recreation Committee that was working to bring cultural and recreation activities to a community that severely lacked these activities. Marcella passed on her legacy and activities of a strong woman to her four children, 10 grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren. In 1992 she traveled to Washington D.C. with her son, daughter in-law, her sister Florrie, and two granddaughters for a march to protect reproductive rights for woman. As she approaches her 100th birthday, she continues to stay current on political developments and active by making phone calls in support of progressive candidates.