Mary Church Terrell Essay

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Mary Church Terrell One of the leading black female activists of the 20th century, during her life, Mary Church Terrell worked as a writer, lecturer and educator. She is remembered best for her contribution to the struggle for the rights of women of African descent. Mary Terrell was born in Memphis, Tennessee at the close of the Civil War. Her parents, former slaves who later became millionaires, tried to shelter her from the harsh reality of racism. However, as her awareness of the problem developed, she became an ardent supporter of civil rights. Her life was one of privilege but the wealth of her family did not prevent her from experiencing segregation and the humiliation of Jim Crow laws. While traveling on a train her family was…show more content…
Terrell went on to study French, German, and Italian languages in Europe for two years. In 1891, Oberlin College offered her the position of registrar of the school, including a faculty position, but she declined because of her forthcoming marriage to Richard Terrell. Instead, she took a teaching position at Wilberforce University in Ohio, and later at M Street High School in Washington, D.C. During its centennial celebration in 1933, Oberlin recognized her as one of its one hundred outstanding alumni, and awarded her an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 1948. In 1876, Terrell founded and served as president of the National Association of Colored Women (NACW), a self-help organization designed specifically to uplift black womanhood. Under Terrell's leadership, the NACW established kindergarten programs, day care centers, and women's clubs. Members of the organization were afforded numerous opportunities to share information about parenting, household management, and later social and economic concerns. Terrell also campaigned to establish schools for domestic science, and the NACW worked tirelessly to develop homes for girls, the aged, and the sick. In 1895, she became the first woman of color in American to be appointed to the District of Columbia Board of Education. She resigned in 1901, was reappointed in 1906, and held the post until 1911. In 1909, she and journalist Ida B.
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