Marian Wright Edelman

Marian Wright Edelman is founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund. She has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. A graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, Edelman was the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar. She directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Mississippi. Her many awards include the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize; the Heinz Award; a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award. She received the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings. Her books include “Families in Peril: An Agenda for Social Change,” “The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours,” “I'm Your Child, God: Prayers for Our Children,” and “The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation.” She is married to Peter Edelman, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center. They have three sons and four grandchildren.