Marian Wright Edelman is an activist for children’s rights and was the first African-American woman admitted to The Mississippi Bar.
She was born in Bennettsville, South Carolina, in 1939. After the death of her father at age 14, Edelman was determined to let nothing stand in her way of getting a good education.
She later attended Marlboro Training High School and went on to Spelman College. Wright traveled the world on a Merrill scholarship and studied in the Soviet Union as a Lisle fellow. She became involved in the Civil Rights Movement, and after being arrested, she decided to attend Yale Law School where she earned a Juris Doctor in 1963. She became the first African-American woman admitted to The Mississippi Bar.
Edelman soon began practicing law with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s Mississippi office, working on racial justice issues connected with the civil rights movement and representing activists during the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964. She also worked to help establish a Head Start program.