- Born June 6, 1939 in Bennettsville, SC
- Graduated from Spelman College and Yale Law School
- First African American woman admitted to The Mississippi Bar.
- Helped organize the Poor People’s Campaign with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
- Founded the Children’s Defense Fund in 1973
Children’s advocate Marian Wright Edelman is transitioning from President of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) into the new role of President Emerita in the Office of the Founder.
In her new role, Edelman will focus on building a lasting movement for children to end child poverty and inequality through servant leadership development at key spiritual retreats and convenings at CDF’s Haley Farm.
“Our mission to Leave No Child Behind® and ensure that every child has a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage into adulthood has never been more important than it is today during these perilous times for children and for our nation. I will shift away from the day-to-day responsibilities of running a leading, national organization, and in my new role, I will focus all my energies towards building a movement to end child poverty and inequality,” said Wright Edelman.
Wright Edelman will continue to guide CDF, the organization she founded 45 years ago. The organization evolved from the Washington Research Project, which Wright Edelman began in 1968, to prepare for and coordinate the policy positions of the Poor People’s Campaign.
“I am proud of CDF’s groundbreaking work over the past 45 years and the significant progress we have made for children and families—but there is still so much work to be done, Wright Edelman said. “I look forward to supporting the Board’s search for a new President to lead CDF into its next chapter; someone who is committed to taking on the challenges children face today and those that will emerge in the future.”