mary-church-terrell

Mary Church Terrell, 1864-1954

Mary Church Terrell, 1864-1954

Mary Church Terrell, 1864-1954
An Oberlin College graduate, Mary Eliza Church Terrell was part of the rising black middle and upper class who used their position to fight racial discrimination. The lynching of Thomas Moss, an old friend, by whites because his business competed with theirs, sparked Terrel’s activism in 1892. Terrell’s work focused on uplifting black individuals through education, work, and community activism to help end racial discrimination. Her words—“Lifting as we climb”—became the motto of the National Association of Colored Women (NACW), which she helped found in 1896. Terrell fought for woman suffrage and civil rights because she realized that she belonged “to the only group in this country that has two such huge obstacles to surmount…both sex and race.” Her autobiography, A Colored Woman in a White World, outlined her experiences with discrimination in 1940 and in 1948, she became the first black member of the American Association of University Women, after winning an anti-discrimination lawsuit. She challenged segregation in public places by protesting the John R. Thompson Restaurant in Washington, DC. and was victorious when, in 1953, the Supreme Court ruled that segregated eating facilities were unconstitutional, a major breakthrough in the civil rights movement.

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  1. Mary Church Terrell, 1864-1954
    An Oberlin College graduate, Mary Eliza Church Terrell was part of the rising black middle and upper class who used their position to fight racial discrimination. The lynching of Thomas Moss, an old friend, by whites because his business competed with theirs, sparked Terrel’s activism in 1892. Terrell’s work focused on uplifting black individuals through education, work, and community activism to help end racial discrimination. Her words—“Lifting as we climb”—became the motto of the National Association of Colored Women (NACW), which she helped found in 1896. Terrell fought for woman suffrage and civil rights because she realized that she belonged “to the only group in this country that has two such huge obstacles to surmount…both sex and race.” Her autobiography, A Colored Woman in a White World, outlined her experiences with discrimination in 1940 and in 1948, she became the first black member of the American Association of University Women, after winning an anti-discrimination lawsuit. She challenged segregation in public places by protesting the John R. Thompson Restaurant in Washington, DC. and was victorious when, in 1953, the Supreme Court ruled that segregated eating facilities were unconstitutional, a major breakthrough in the civil rights movement.

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