Date Released: January 19, 2018


Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund as well as a champion for civil and human rights and the education of children, will deliver a keynote address at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 24 during Morehouse’s month-long observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in January.

King, the iconic civil and human rights leader, died 50 years ago on April 4, 1968, while advocating for workers in Memphis, Tenn. He graduated from Morehouse in 1948.

Edelman will speak during the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection Lecture and Conversation Series. The forum will be held in the Emma and Joe Adams Concert Hall of the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center.

“We are honored that Marian Wright Edelman will keynote this event as we commemorate Dr. King 50 years after his death ,” said Vicki L. Crawford, executive director of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection. “As a lifelong activist for civil and human rights, Mrs. Edelman knew and worked with King on his last campaign against poverty. She will share her vast knowledge and experience about today’s inequities as we pause to reflect on the past and chart the way forward.”

Edelman was the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar and later directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund office in Jackson, Miss. She moved to Washington, D.C., in 1968 to serve as counsel for the Poor People’s Campaign, organized by King months before his death. In addition, she founded the Washington Research Project, a public interest law firm that is the parent body of the Children’s Defense Fund.  

The Children’s Defense Fund has become the nation’s strongest voice for children and families. The CDF’s “Leave No Child Behind” mission is to ensure that every child receives a healthy start, a head start, a fair start, a safe start and a moral start in life, as well as successful passage to adulthood, with the help of caring families and communities. 

The author of numerous books, many on the plight of children, Edelman has received more than a hundred honorary degrees and many awards, including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, the Heinz Award, and a McArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship. In 2000, she was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings. 

For more information Edelman’s keynote address, or other King Month events on campus, 




Last Modified: January 19, 2018, 17:01 PM, by: Synera Shelton

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