My Start Story Celebrates: Suffragist Mary Talbert

By: Start TV Staff     Posted: August 14, 2020, 8:00AM

Mary Burnett Talbert was an educator, activist, and reformer, and one of the most distinguished African American women of her time. She was born in Ohio in 1866, and was the lone African American woman in her graduating class at Oberlin College. She advocated extensively for anti-lynching, anti racism and women's suffrage, and gave lectures around world about women’s equality.

She fought to give African American women a voice, and helped develop black female leaders. She was a respected clubwoman, serving as President of the Empire State Federation of Colored Women, and as Vice President of the NAACP from 1919 until her death at age 57 in 1923. 



About the narrator:
LILLIAN S. WILLIAMS
Associate Professor and Author

Lillian S. Williams, PhD, is currently an Associate Professor and former chair of the Department of African American studies at the University at Buffalo, specializing in U.S. social and urban history. She has consulted on several historical projects, urban planning and public policy issues. She has written dozens of articles and a book, and is currently working on her second, a biography on Mary Burnett Talbert.

“She seemed to have a clear vision of a world where justice prevailed for all constituencies, and she worked tenaciously to make that happen,” said Williams. “She provided… a method to engage in reform efforts: be prepared, know your subject, forge coalitions with like-minded people and be persistent in that struggle. So she essentially showed those of us who are here today how to affect change.”

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