Spelman College

Recent Articles

Where are our leaders? What are our core values?



By Marian Wright Edelman

Guest Commentator


It will not be sufficient for Morehouse College — for any college, for that matter — to produce clever graduates, men fluent in speech and able to argue their way through; but rather honest men, men who can be trusted in public and private, who are sensitive to the wrongs, the sufferings, and the injustices of society and who are willing to accept responsibility for correcting the ills. — Benjamin E. Mays, President, Morehouse College


Benjamin E. Mays, Morehouse College’s president from 1940-1967, said this about the kind of men and leaders he expected Morehouse to produce. As a student at neighboring Spelman College, I heard and saw President Mays often and had the privilege of singing in Morehouse’s Sunday morning chapel choir and hearing this great man’s wisdom. Of the six college presidents in the Atlanta University academic complex, Mays was the one students looked up to most. He inspired and taught us by example and stood by us when we challenged Atlanta’s Jim Crow laws in the sit-in movement to open up public accommodations to all citizens. Continue Reading →

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Inaugural evoked spirit of ‘We the people’ joined in common cause




By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Barack Obama, who became the third consecutive U.S. president to deliver a second Inauguration Address, told the nation Monday that it is up to all of us to “act in our time” to move this country forward. “We cannot afford delay and substitute spectacle for politics, and use name calling as reasonable debate,” he said during his nearly 15-minute “mini” address. America must be the leader for a peaceful world “from Africa to Asia…and in the Middle East,” pledged the president. After paying homage to “the forbearers, and all those men and women, sung and unsung,” President Obama declared, “It is now our generation’s task to carry on where those pioneers began.”

Obama, who was officially sworn in January 20 as constitutionally required, strongly urged that equality — especially in income, employment, and acceptance of all people regardless of race, gender and sexual orientation — should exist in all facets of American life. He warned against voter suppression and briefly touched upon immigration reform and climate change. Continue Reading →

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‘Fierce urgency’ stressed at MLK Breakfast

Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, told nearly 2,000 people attending the 23rd annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Breakfast January 21, “We need to wake up.” 

Specifically, she urged the sold-out audience at the Minneapolis Convention Center and the live TV audience watching on TPT (Twin Cities Public Television) to wake up to the consequences of failing to improve the educational disparities that pose dangerous implications for the future of our country: “Will the United States be a beacon or a blip in history? “We need to recognize that we have to invest now,” Edelman said, “and invest with urgency and with persistence so that we can give every child a chance to be able to function, work and contribute in this very complex, changing world and economy.”

A graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, Edelman began her career in the mid-1960s when, as the first African American woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar, she directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Miss. In 1968, she moved to Washington, D.C. as counsel for the Poor People’s Campaign that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began organizing before his death. In 1973 she founded the Children’s Defense Fund. Under her leadership, it has become one of the United States’ strongest advocates for children and families. Continue Reading →

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