First and Foremost

Marion Thompson Wright

(1902-1962) Her research for the NAACP helped convince the Supreme Court in 1954 that separate is not equal in education. After graduating from Barringer High School in Newark, Wright became the first African-American woman in the U.S. to earn a Ph.D. in history (from Columbia, in 1940). Her dissertation, “The Education of Negroes in New Jersey,” was published as a book and widely recognized as a landmark work. During her long career as a professor of education at Howard University, she continued to publish scholarly articles on African-American history in New Jersey.

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