Born Memphis, Tennessee
Mary Church Terrell's determination to encourage the development of self-help and social service programs among black women resulted in her founding and presiding over the National Association of Colored Women in 1896. But her life was also dedicated to the achievement of equity for all.
Terrell's influence quickly spread across the nation as she eloquently addressed audiences and composed numerous articles, poems, and short stories, which often embodied the themes of race and gender equity. Her autobiography, A Colored Woman in a White World, was published in 1940.
In Washington, Terrell served on the D.C. Board of Education for more than ten years and participated in numerous protests to end segregation in restaurants, hotels, and theaters in the city.