Celebrating Black History

Honoring Contemporary Black Women

Advocates

Marian Wright Edelman

Marian Wright Edelman  

Marian Wright Edelman (born June 6, 1939) is an American activist for the rights of children. She has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. She is president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund. Under her leadership, CDF has become the nation’s strongest voice for children and families.

Marian Wright was born June 6, 1939 in Bennettsville, South Carolina. In 1953, her father died when she was 14, urging in his last words, “Don’t let anything get in the way of your education.”

She attended Marlboro Training High School in Bennettsville, and went on to Spelman College and traveled the world on a Merrill scholarship and studied in the Soviet Union as a Lisle fellow. She also became involved in the Civil Rights Movement, and after being arrested for her activism, she decided to study law and enrolled at Yale Law School where she earned a Juris Doctor in 1963.

Edelman was the first African American woman admitted to The Mississippi Bar. She began practicing law with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.’s Mississippi office, working on racial justice issues connected with the civil rights movement and representing activists during the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964. She also helped establish a Head Start program .

Edelman moved in 1968 to Washington, D.C. where she continued her work and contributed to the organizing of the Poor People’s Campaign of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She founded the Washington Research Project, a public interest law firm and also became interested in issues related to childhood development and children.

In 1973, she founded the Children’s Defense Fund as a voice for poor children, children of color,and children with disabilities. The organization has served as an advocacy and research center for children’s issues, documenting the problems and possible solutions to children in need.

 

Angela-Glover Blackwell

Angela Glover Blackwell 

Angela Glover Blackwell is the founder and president of PolicyLink, which is “[A] national research and action institute that works collaboratively to develop and implement local, state, and federal policies to achieve economic and social equity. It is a non-profit. PolicyLink collaborates with a broad range of partners to implement strategies to ensure that everyone—including those from low-income communities of color—can contribute to and benefit from economic growth and prosperity.”

Blackwell is co-author of Searching for Uncommon Common Ground, a discussion of the persistently divisive issues surrounding race in the U.S. The book is written around the themes of the black-white paradigm versus multiculturalism, diversity versus racial and social justice, universal versus particular strategies, national versus local responsibility, and structural factors versus individual initiative.

Blackwell has served on many boards, including the Urban Institute, The James Irvine Foundation, the Foundation for Child Development, Common Cause. Currently, she serves on the boards of the Children’s Defense Fund, the W. Haywood Burns Institute, Levi Strauss and Co., and the Corporation for Enterprise Development.

For a decade, beginning in 1977, Blackwell served as a partner with Public Advocates, a nationally-known public interest law firm representing the underrepresented. She successfully litigated class action suits and developed innovative non-litigation strategies in employment, education, health and consumer affairs.

 

 

Bio_MajoraCarter

Majora Carter 

Majora Carter (born October 27, 1966) is an urban revitalization strategist and public radio host, from the South Bronx area of New York City. Carter founded the non-profit environmental justice solutions corporation Sustainable South Bronx before entering the private sector.

Carter attended the Head Start Program and primary schools in the South Bronx. After graduating from the Bronx High School of Science, she entered Wesleyan University in 1984 to study film and obtain a Bachelor of Arts. In 1997, she received a Master of Fine Arts from New York University (NYU). While at NYU, she returned to her family’s home in Hunts Point, and later worked for The Point Community Development Corporation.

As Associate Director of the Community Development Corporation, Carter developed Hunts Point Riverside Park. Carter was “pulled by her dog into a weedy vacant lot strewn with trash at the dead end of Lafayette Avenue. As the pair plowed through the site they ended up, much to Carter’s surprise, on the banks of the Bronx River.”

From there, Carter secured a $10,000 grant from a USDA Forest Service program to provide seed money for river access restoration projects. Working with other community groups and the Parks Department, over a five-year period she helped leverage that seed money into more than $3 million from the mayor’s budget to build the park into the award winning iteration which re-opened in 2006

I hope you’re still enjoying this Black History Month’s focus on contemporary African American women.

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