Suffragist - Mary White Ovington

Suffragist - Mary White Ovington Civil Rights Famous People Law and Politics

Mary White Ovington (1865-1951) became very concerned about civil rights in America after she heard Frederick Douglass speak in a Brooklyn church during 1890. 

A principal founder of the NAACP, she was a national leader for many years.  The Harvard Square Library website tells us more about her and her accomplishments:

Mary White Ovington (1865–1951), a social worker and freelance writer, was a principal NAACP founder and officer for almost forty years.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, into a wealthy abolitionist family, she became a socialist while a student at Radcliffe College. From 1895 to 1903, she led the Greenpoint Settlement in Brooklyn, New York, which served the underprivileged.

Ovington befriended W.E.B. Du Bois in 1904, when she was researching her first book, Half a Man (1911), about black Manhattan. In 1906 she covered the Niagara Movement and the Atlanta riot for the New York Evening Post.

Ovington played a crucial role in the NAACP’s evolution and stability. She recruited women into the ranks, mediated disputes, and guided the transition to black leadership. During her tenure she served as secretary (1911-1912), acting secretary, treasurer, and board chairman.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5183stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Oct 24, 2019

Media Credits

Image online, courtesy Library of Congress.



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