On Seeing, A Journal. #317

September 17, 2019

“ABOVE and BEYOND Interviews and Portraits of Extraordinary People in Our Time”

Founder, Children’s Defense Fund

Few Americans deserve the term “public servant” more than Marian Wright Edelman, who, for most of her 80 years, has been a dedicated activist for the rights of children.

Born in Bennettsville, S.C., Edelman has been recognized with awards too numerous to list fully here. They include: The Presidential Medal of Freedom, MacArthur Fellowship, and the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism.

She graduated from Spelman College as valedictorian, and earned her Juris Doctor degree at Yale Law School in 1963. Following that, she became the first African American woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar.

In 1973, she founded the Children’s Defense Fund as a voice for poor children, children of color, and children with disabilities.The organization has served as an advocacy and research center for children’s issues, documenting the problems and possible solutions for children in need.

As leader and principal spokesperson for the CDF, Edelman worked to persuade United States Congress to overhaul foster care, support adoption, improve child care and protect children who are disabled, homeless, abused or neglected. As she has said of her work, “If you don’t like the way the world is, you have an obligation to change it. Do it one step at a time.”

Click on the arrow to watch and listen (7 minutes and 12 seconds).

The participants in this project have been selected for their exceptional achievements; they include scientists, authors, playwrights, designers, musicians, artists, philosophers, etc.

For your interest, the complete library for all of the weekly On Seeing missives can be found here.