By Nailah Shorter
Age 11 - Grade 6
Mrs. Marian Wright Edelman was born in 1939 in the town of Bennettsville, South Carolina.
She attended a racially segregated public school and excelled. Her father died from a heart attack when she was 14 years old. His last words to her were, "Don?t let anything get in the way of your education." Her father would be proud of her as she attended Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. She attended Yale University where she earned a Juris Doctorate and at 24 years of age, she became the first African-Ameican woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar. That?s not all, she also received over 100 honorary degrees from many educational institutions.
Dr. Edelman fought for civil rights and directed the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in Jackson, Mississippi. Later, she moved to Washington, D.C. and joined forces with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as counsel for the Poor People?s March. She founded The Children?s Defense Fund (CDF) in Washington, D.C. in 1973. It was organized to help children by ensuring that they have a fair and healthy start in life. She held crusades titled, Stand For Children in Washington, D.C. during the 1990s. She wrote many books and publications on subjects about children and poverty.
She recently held a Freedom School in the summer of 2013 in La Verne, California. Her wish is to have Freedom Schools everywhere and put children into a pipeline to attend college and not a pipeline to prison. It?s been close to four decades and Dr. Edelman is still fighting for the rights of poor children.
Note: My grandmother, Joan Reid of Pasadena, CA, attended a Crusade For Children sponsored by Dr. Edelman held in Washington, D.C. during the 1990s.