Born to a prosperous Memphis family in the year of the Emancipation Proclamation, educator, suffragist and civil rights activist Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954) witnessed the transition from the systematic dismantling of black rights following Reconstruction to the early successes of the civil rights movement after World War II. Her own life chartered a course that extended from organizing the self-help programs promulgated by leaders such as Booker T. Washington to directing sit-down strikes and boycotts in defiance of Jim Crow discrimination.
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Image credit: Mary Church Terrell, verso of the program for a spring concert at York, Pa., at which she spoke on "The Bright Side of a Dark Subject," April 4, 1912. (Library of Congress)