Founder of Children's Defense Fund to Speak at Yale

Marian Wright Edelman, an alumna of Yale Law School and the founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, will be the featured speaker during worship service on Oct. 10 in Battell Chapel at 11 a.m.

Immediately following the service at 12:30 p.m., there will be a book signing in Calhoun College. Edelman’s new book, Lanterns (Beacon Press), is about mentors in her life, including several Yale people such as anti-Vietnam War activist and University Chaplain, Rev. William Sloan Coffin.

These events are free and open to all.

Edelman has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional career. Under her leadership, the Washington-based CDF has become a strong national voice for children and families. CDF’s mission is to ensure that every child gets a safe, healthy, moral start in life with the support of a caring family and community.

A graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, Edelman began her career in the mid-60s when, as the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar, she directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Mississippi. In l968, she moved to Washington, D.C., where she was counsel for the Poor People’s March organized by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. For two years she served as director of the Center for Law and Education at Harvard University, and in 1973 established CDF.

Edelman has received many honorary degrees and awards including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize and the Heinz Award, and was a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellow. In addition to her newest publication, she is the author of several books, including “Families in Peril: An Agenda for Social Change,” “The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours,” “Guide My Feet: Meditations and Prayers on Loving and Working for Children,” and a children’s book, “Stand For Children.”

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