As the first Black woman admitted to the Mississippi bar, Marian Wright (later Marian Wright Edelman) worked alongside lawyers and Mississippi Freedom Summer activists to combat rampant racial and economic injustice in the state. In 1967, she testified to Congress that children in the Mississippi Delta were starving and malnourished, finally bringing national attention to the crisis.
The Children’s Defense Fund, which Marian Wright Edelman calls “the grandchild of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign,” was born six years later out of a need to take action for children in the Delta and elsewhere.
This Black History Month, we honor the Black leadership that built this organization and drives us forward. We also recognize that in too many ways, we are still fighting the same fights today to ensure children have access to basic necessities like food, housing, and health care regardless of where they live or the color of their skin.