“E” is for Edelman, Marion Wright (b. 1939)
“E” is for Edelman, Marion Wright (b. 1939). Lawyer, civil rights and children’s rights advocate. A native of Bennettsville, Edelman graduated from Spelman College and Yale Law School. She became active in civil rights as an undergraduate. From 1964-1968 she was director of the NAACP’s Legal Defense fund in Jackson, Mississippi. She also helped create the Child Development Group of Mississippi because state officials refused funding for Head Start programs. In 1971 Edelman founded the Washington Research Project to develop strategies to benefit the poor. In 1973, that project ultimately became the Children’s Defense Fund. She has written five books, including Lanterns: A Memoir of Mentors that reveals the formative influence of her South Carolina youth. Marion Wright Edelman has received numerous awards including a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.