a digital library of Unitarian Universalist biographies, history, books, and media
the digital library of Unitarian Universalism
Home » Biographies » Edelman, Marian Wright (1993-)

Edelman, Marian Wright (1993-)

Marian Wright Edelman

Marian Wright Edelman

Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, was born on June 6, 1939, in Bennettsville, South Carolina. Edelman was the youngest of five children and credits her father with instilling in her an obligation to right wrongs. When African Americans in Bennettsville were not allowed to enter city parks, her father built a park for African American children behind his church.

Edelman is a graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School. While working as director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund office in Jackson, Mississippi, she became the first African-American female admitted to the Mississippi Bar. She also became nationally recognized as an advocate for Head Start at this time. In 1968, Edelman moved to Washington, D.C., and subsequently became counsel to the Poor People’s Campaign organized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She founded the Washington Research Project, where she lobbied Congress for child and family nutrition programs and expanding Head Start. In 1973, the Washington Research Project became the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), the United States’ leading advocacy group for children. As president of the CDF, Edelman has worked to decrease teenage pregnancy, increase Medicaid coverage for poor children and secure government funding for programs like Head Start.

Edelman has served as director of the Center for Law and Education at Harvard University and is the first African-American female on the board of Yale University. Edelman has written many articles and books, including the autobiographical New York Times bestseller, The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours. Edelman’s awards include the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, the Heinz Award, the Ella J. Baker Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.

—Courtesy of Civic Makers

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Categories: Biographies, BIOGRAPHIES--NEW, Lectures & Sermons

Notable in UU History
Antoinette Brown Blackwell

Blackwell, Antoinette Brown (1825-1921)

Antoinette Brown came of New England stock, sturdy and long-lived pioneers in Connecticut. Her grandfather, Joseph ... Read More
Reynolds with McDonald

Reynolds, Malvina (1900-1978)

Malvina Reynolds (born as Malvina Milder on August 23, 1900, died March 17, 1978) was an ... Read More
The Community Church of New York

Mahatma Gandhi: Mohandas Gandhi, The Community Church of New York, and The American Committee on Africa

by Bruce Southworth The Community Church of New York, Unitarian Universalist (Prepared for the African Activist ... Read More
Charles Stark Draper

Charles Stark Draper

Dr. Charles Stark Draper, the “father of inertial navigation,” evolved the theory, invented and developed the ... Read More