This Day in Black History: July 8, 1943

Faye Wattleton, women's rights activist and administrator, was born in St. Louis.

Posted: 07/08/2013 07:00 AM EDT

On July 8, 1943, Faye Wattleton, was born in St. Louis. She would go on to become the youngest and first African-American president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Her career in executive leadership for national and not-for-profit organizations spans 30 years.

At age 16, Wattleton enrolled at Ohio State University, earning her bachelor's degree in nursing in 1964. While earning her master's in maternal and infant care at Columbia University in New York, her eyes were opened to the life-threatening effects of unsafe abortions performed on female patients. Spurred to encourage change, Wattleton began her career in women's health advocacy, eventually being named executive director for Planned Parenthood of Miami Valley in 1970.

From 1978 to 1992, Wattleton served as president and CEO Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). During her tenure, she was credited with helping to grow the organization to become the nation's seventh largest nonprofit, providing services to four million Americans yearly.

In addition, she is co-founder and president of the Center for the Advancement of Women, a nonpartisan think tank, and has served on numerous boards for public and private organizations. She is currently managing director with Alvarez & Marsal, a professional services firm in New York. Among her many honors, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.

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(Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

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