MARY ELIZA CHURCH TERRELL Biography - Crimes, Laws and people


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Name: Mary Church Terrell                                                             
Born: September 23, 1863                                                               
Mary Church Terrell (born September 23, 1863 in Memphis, Tennessee - July 24,         
1954 in Annapolis, Maryland) was a writer and civil rights and women's rights         
activist. Her parents, Robert Reed Church and Louisa Ayers, were both former           
slaves. Robert Church reputedly became a self-made millionaire from real-estate       
investments in Memphis. He was said to be the son of his white master, Charles         
When Mary Church majored in classics at Oberlin College, she was an African-American   
woman among mostly white male students. She was not intimidated by that. Instead       
the freshman class elected her as class poet, and she was elected to two of the       
college's literary societies. Church also served as an editor of the Oberlin           
Review. When she earned her bachelor's degree in 1884, she was one of the first       
African-American women known to have earned a college degree. Next Church earned       
a master's degree from Oberlin in 1888.                                               
In 1933 during Oberlin College's centennial celebration, Mary Church Terrell was       
recognized as among the college's top one hundred outstanding alumni [1]. In           
1948, Oberlin conferred upon Mary Church Terrell the honorary Doctorate of             
Humane Letters.                                                                       
On October 18, 1891 in Memphis, Church married Robert Heberton Terrell. Robert         
Terrell was a lawyer who became the first black municipal court judge in               
Washington, DC. He also taught school and became a principal. After Mary Terrell's     
first three children died in infancy, Mary gave birth to a daughter, Phyllis           
Terrell[2]. The Terrells later adopted a second daughter, Mary.                       
Terrell was an active member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.     
She was particularly concerned about ensuring the organization continued to           
fight for black woman getting to vote. With Josephine Ruffin, she formed the           
Federation of Afro-American Woman.