Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version


Document Type



Journal of Women in Educational Leadership, Vol. 4, No. 2-April 2006 ISSN: 1541-6224


©2003 Pro>Active Publications


Marian Wright Edelman was born June 6, 1939, at a time when prejudice and segregation were the norm. The Wright family lived in a small, southern town of Bennetsville, South Carolina, where Marian was the youngest of five children. Her father, the Reverend Arthur Jerome Wright, was a Baptist preacher, and her mother, Maggie Leola Bowen Wright, was an activist for the rights of women and African-Americans. Her father expected his children to do two things-work hard at getting an education and serve others through community service. Marian Wright was encouraged by her parents, teachers, and church leaders to live her life with no limits. These key adults kept telling her that she could go anywhere and do anything she wanted regardless of the limits placed upon her by society. These humble beginnings set the stage for a brilliant law career and a career of advocacy for children and marginalized families. With multiple degrees, countless honors, several books, and a long array of national and international experiences to her credit, she is quick to note that her modest beginnings were the foundation of her strength today.