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San Domenico School

Marian Wright Edelman

Marian Wright Edelman:
Lawyer and Children’s Advocate

Photograph of Marian Wright Edelman with her chin on her folded hands

Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President of the Children's Defense Fund, has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. Mrs. Edelman, a graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, began her career in the mid-60s when, as the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar, she directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Mississippi. In l968, she moved to Washington, D.C., as counsel for the Poor People's Campaign that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began organizing before his death.

She has received over one hundred honorary degrees and many awards including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, the Heinz Award, and a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship. In 2000, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings.

Quotes

“If you don't like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time.”

“Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time."

“Being considerate of others will take your children further in life than any college degree.“
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