Marian Wright Edelman was born on June 6, 1939 in Bennettsville, South Carolina. She attended Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia in 1960 and Yale University Law School in 1963. After Yale, Marian began registering African Americans for voting in Mississippi. Then, she moved to New York City where she became an attorney for the Legal Defense and Educational Fund of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People).
In 1964, Marian passed her bar exam in Mississippi, becoming the first African American to do so. Immediately after, she began to fight for the funding of a Head Start program. From 1964 to 1968, Marian was the director of the Legal Defense and Education Fund in Jackson, Mississippi. She withdrew from that office when she moved to Washington D.C. in 1968.
While in Washington D.C., Marian started a public interest firm called the Washington Project of the Southern Center for Public Policy. She then became the director at Harvard University's Center for Law and Education from 1971 to 1973. In 1973, Marian created the Children's Defense Fund in Washington D.C. and became its president.
Between 1974 and 1995, Marian published many books that include:
Children Out of School in America: A Report (1974)
Portrait of Equality: Black and White Children in America (1980)
The Measure of Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours (1982)
Families in Peril: An Agenda for Social Change (1987)
Guide My Feet: Meditations and Prayers on Loving and Working for Children (1995)
Marian received the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship award in 1985. Lastly, she created Stand for Children, a foundation like the Children's Defense Fund. She is still alive today.