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Toward the end of a life that witnessed fantastic civil-rights changes of which she was force, Mary Church Terrell saw the U.S. Supreme Court's historic Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954, which ended segregation in schools.Terrell spoke at the International Congress of Women in 1904 and served as the U.S.'s representative at the International League for Peace and Freedom. In the 1940's and 1950's she pushed for the end of segregation in public places in D.C.

Educator, writer, activist Mary Church Terrell. She earned bachelor’s (1884) and master’s (1888) degrees from Oberlin College and was fluent in German, Spanish and French. Ms. Church Terrell was a founder and the first president of the National Association of Colored Women. She died in 1954, at the age of 90, not long after leading the fight to desegregate restaurants in Washington, D.C.

Tererai Trent, PhD, is a Zimbabwean-American woman who was not allowed to go to school as a child because she was female. Tererai was forced to marry at age 11. By age 18, she was the mother of three. "When my husband realized that I wanted to have an education, he would beat me." In 2009, happily remarried Trent earned her doctorate; her thesis looked at HIV/AIDS prevention programs for women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa.

In Mary Church Terrell's late years, Terrell's commitment to taking on Jim Crow laws and pioneering new ground didn't wane. In 1949 she became the first African American admitted to the Washington chapter of the American Association of University Women

Constance Baker Motley (September 14, 1921 - September 28, 2005) won 9 out of 10 cases she argued before the Supreme Court, including one that admitted James Meredith to Ole Miss. She was the first African American woman admitted to Columbia Law School, to become a federal judge, and to be elected to the New York State Senate. She began her career as a clerk at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund under Thurgood Marshall where she wrote the original complaint in Brown v Board of Education.

Florynce Kennedy, civil rights lawyer, feminist, political activist, eccentric, New York, August 1, 1969; Photograph by Richard Avedon. In the 1970s Kennedy traveled the lecture circuit with writer Gloria Steinem. If a man asked the pair if they were lesbians — a stereotype of feminists at the time — Flo would quote TiGrace Atkinson and answer, "Are you my alternative?" In 1974, People magazine wrote that she was "The biggest, loudest and, indisputably, the rudest mouth on the…

Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Steward was the fi rst African American woman to earn a medical doctorate (M.D.) in New York State and the third in the United States. Though her early education was musical, Susan Smith entered the New York Medical College for Women in 1867. She earned her M.D. in 1870, graduating as valedictorian.

Born in Alabama in 1936, Marva Collins became one of the most influential teachers and education activists of the 20th century. Working to gain equal access to quality education for minorities, she started her own school in Chicago and founded a style of education that came to be known as the Collins Method. QUOTE: Kids don't fail. Teachers fail, school systems fail. The people who teach children that they are failures, they are the problem.– Marva Collins

Aung San Suu Kyi. Democracy activist in Myanmar (Burma) and Nobel Peace Prize winner, who kept the struggle going even when under house arrest for decades.