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Active in both the civil rights movement and the campaign for women's suffrage, Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954) was a leading spokesperson for the National American Woman Suffrage Association, the first president of the National Association of Colored Women, and the first Black woman appointed to the District of Columbia Board of Education and the American Association of University Women. In this autobiography, originally published in 1940, Terrell describes the important events and people in her life in her own words. Terrell began her career as a teacher, first at Wilberforce College and then at a high school in Washington, D.C., where she met her future husband, Robert Heberton Terrell. After marriage, she became a prominent lecturer at both national and international forums on women's rights and pursued a career on the lecture circuit for close to thirty years, delivering addresses on the critical social issues of the day, including segregation, lynching, women's rights, the progress of Black women, and various aspects of Black history and culture. With a new introduction by Debra Newman Ham, professor of history at Morgan State University, this new edition of A Colored Woman in a White World will be of interest to students and scholars of both women's studies and African American history.
Unceasing Militant: The Life of Mary Church Terrell by Alison M. Parker
Publication Date: Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2021
Born into slavery during the Civil War, Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954) would become one of the most prominent activists of her time, with a career bridging the late nineteenth century to the civil rights movement of the 1950s. The first president of the National Association of Colored Women and a founding member of the NAACP, Terrell collaborated closely with the likes of Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, and W. E. B. Du Bois. Unceasing Militant brings her vibrant voice and personality to life. Though most accounts of Terrell focus almost exclusively on her public activism, Alison M. Parker also looks at the often turbulent, unexplored moments in her life to provide a more complete account of a woman dedicated to changing the culture and institutions that perpetuated inequality throughout the United States. Drawing on newly discovered letters and diaries, Parker weaves together the joys and struggles of Terrell's personal, private life with the challenges and achievements of her public, political career, producing a stunning portrait of an often-under recognized political leader.
Just Another Southern Town: Mary Church Terrell and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Nation's Capital by Joan Quigley
Publication Date: New York: Oxford University Press, 2016
In Just Another Southern Town, Joan Quigley recounts an untold chapter of the civil rights movement: an epic battle to topple segregation in Washington, the symbolic home of American democracy. At the book's heart is the formidable Mary Church Terrell and the test case she mounts seeking to enforce Reconstruction-era laws prohibiting segregation in D.C. restaurants. Through the prism of Terrell's story, Quigley reassesses Washington's relationship to civil rights history, bringing to life a pivotal fight for equality that erupted five years before Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of a Montgomery bus and a decade before the student sit-in movement rocked segregated lunch counters across the South. At a time when most civil rights scholarship begins with Brown v. Board of Education, Just Another Southern Town unearths the story of the nation's capital as an early flashpoint on race. It interweaves Terrell's narrative with the courtroom drama of the case and the varied personalities of the justices who ultimately voted unanimously to prohibit segregated restaurants, restoring Mary Church Terrell and the case that launched a crusade to their rightful place in the pantheon of civil rights history.
Quest for Equality includes both a biographical sketch of Mary Church Terrell and a portion of Terrell's essays written in the early 1900's. A review by Bettye Collier-Thomas does note that there are errors in the biographical sketch (notably that Jones said that Terrell's husband died 20 years later than he did), but the essays by Terrell reprinted here may be of use to researchers.
A documentary on the life and organizing of Mary Church Terrell produced by Robin N. Hamilton and published by a Round Robin Production Company. The documentary focuses primarily on Terrell's education and upbringing, her marriage, and her fight to integrate Washington D.C. restaurants.
A collection of photographs which includes a number of Mary Church Terrell. When using this link one will need to search the collection to just view images of Terrell. Images include library watermark.
The finding aid for the Mary Church Terrell Papers held by Howard University. According to the abstract this collection includes "correspondence, clippings, newspaper articles, pamphlets, broadsides, and other printed matter."
The landing page for the papers of Mary Church Terrell held by the Library of Congress. "Spanning the years 1851 to 1962, with the bulk of the material concentrated in the period 1886-1954, the collection contains diaries, correspondence, printed matter, clippings, and speeches and writings, primarily focusing on Terrell's career as an advocate of women's rights and equal treatment of African Americans." A finding aid is linked on this page and all materials are digitized from microfilm.
The finding aid of the Mary Church Terrell Papers housed at Oberlin College. According to the description the collection consists of "biographical information, a modest amount of correspondence, documents associated with organizations in which Terrell was involved, legal and financial documents, diaries, printed matter, speeches, writings, artifacts, and photographs." There is also a collection inventory available, although no materials are digitized.