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Highlighting the Life of Mary Church Terrell

By Kimberly Moore, Director
Care Café

Greetings Everyone!

Wurzweiler Care Café welcomes you to join us in celebrating Black History Month this February.

As we recognize the lives and contributions of several transformative pioneers in Black History, we are poised to learn about the foundations of social justice, civil rights, and political activism across the social work profession and beyond.

terrell black history Mary Church Terrell (September 23, 1863 – July 24, 1954)

Today, we highlight the life of Mary Church Terrell.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, to former slaves, Mary Church Terrell began her fight for civil and women’s rights, particularly for women of color, due to her experiences with racism as a young girl. The lynching of a childhood friend propelled her to dedicate her life to becoming a social reformer, activist and author. Terrell believed in equality for all people and stood up to racial and social injustice throughout the United States.

Terrell became the first African American woman to earn a college degree from Oberlin College, 1884. After relocating to Washington, DC, she fought against the exclusion of black women in the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Terrell also co-founded and served as President of the National Association of Colored Women as well as being a charter member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and a founding member of the National Association of University Women.

Furthermore, Terrell was the first Black woman to serve on the District of Columbia School Board, where she served for two terms, and instrumental in revealing to leadership officials the problems associated with inner city school systems. Terrell is noted for reflective writings which can be accessed through the Library of Congress.*

A very special thanks to Care Café Intern Tina Thompson, MSW student, for this week’s written contribution to Black History Month programming.

To learn more about Care Café, contact Kimberly Moore, Director of Care Café at

To All, Be Well!


* Reference: Broussard, J. (2002). Mary Church Terrell: A Black Woman Journalist and Activist Seeks to Elevate Her Race, American Journalism, 19(4), 13-35, DOI: 10.1080/08821127.2002.10677901.