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Opportunities That Lead The Way Essay

1014 words - 5 pages

Discrimination against African Americans is something that will forever be shunned and not talked about among people of the United States. It’s something that many people have died and fought for over the last hundred decades. Women and men lost their lives for fighting for the respect they rightfully deserved. Mary Church Terrell fought for the equal rights of African American’s to be treated fairly. She fought against the injustice against her people who were forced to sit in the back of the bus and had to use the water fountain labeled ‘for blacks’. Mary believed, “race pride could supplant feelings of racial inferiority if African Americans were only more aware of the accomplishments of their ancestors”
Who is Mary Eliza Church Terrell?
In the late 1800’s African Americans were discriminated against because of their skin tone. It was rare that African American’s finished secondary school lead alone college. Mary Church was afforded these opportunities because of her father’s wealth. His wealth afforded her the opportunities that no African American woman had. She was able to meet influential people such as Fredrick Douglas and Booker T. Washington. Because of Mary’s upbringing and the wealth of her father, which helped her gained the knowledge she needed to fight for the rights of her fellow peers.
Mary Church was born on September 23, 1863 in Memphis, Tennessee, to Robert Reed Church and Louisa Ayers, both former slaves. Her father, Robert Church was biracial and it was speculated that he was the son of his white master, Charles Church. Robert Church attained considerable wealth by investing in real estate in Memphis As a child Mary attended the Antioch College Model School in Yellow Springs, Ohio, which was a very prestigious secondary school. From a young age, Mary was taught the importance of a god education. Because of her parents earlier struggles as slaves, they made sure she would be equipped with a good education so she would not have to deal with the same discrimination they faced. Terrell’s father was the first African American millionaire. This provided Terrell with the opportunity to gain an education higher than high school. For college, Mary Church attended Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio. Due to the prestige of the college, Church was the only African American among her white peers. This only made Mary fight harder, because she knew that not everyone who looked like her had that same opportunity.
While in college, Mary met Robert Terrell; who she would eventually marry in 1891. Robert Terrell was the first black cum lade graduate of Harvard University. While living in Washington DC, he became the first black judge appointed to the Municipal Court. After marriage, Church gave up her career as a teacher, and became a “activist, a lecturer, and a public reformer.” When Church took a stand as an activist, she became involved in the women's rights movement. Church and her husband became advocates for women's suffrage. She...

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