This Day in History: Celebrating Marian Wright Edelman, Children’s Rights Advocate, Born in 1939


Marian Wright, attorney for the NAACP legal defense fund, testifies before the Senate Labor Subcommittee investigating the anti-poverty program in Washinton, D.C., March 15, 1967. (AP Photo/Henry Griffin)
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Children’s rights activist and trailblazing lawyer Marian Wright Edelman was born on June 6, 1939, in South Carolina.

After graduating from Spelman College and earning her law degree from Yale, her early career was marked by her work with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement, where she fought for justice and equality. She also became the first Black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar.

In 1973, she founded the Children’s Defense Fund to advocate for child welfare. Edelman has received numerous accolades, including a MacArthur Fellowship, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award, and over a hundred honorary degrees.

Happy birthday, Marian Wright Edelman.

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