This Day in Black History: Sept. 23, 1863

This Day in Black History: Sept. 23, 1863

This Day in Black History: Sept. 23, 1863

Mary Church Terrell, civil rights activist and educator, was born in Memphis on Sept. 23, 1863.

Published September 23, 2012

Civil rights activist and educator Mary Church Terrell was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on Sept. 23, 1863.

Terrell would go on to become the first Black woman to earn a college degree, graduating from Oberlin College in Ohio and earning a master's degree there in 1888.

She was also active in the women's suffrage movement. In 1896, she helped form the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) and became its first president. Manning picket lines and staging sit-ins, Terrell told of her commitment to equal rights in her autobiography, A Colored Woman in a White World, written in 1940.

Terrell died at age of 90 on July 24, 1954.

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(Photo: courtesy of Tennessee State Library and Archives)

Written by Britt Middleton


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