- NAME: Mary White Ovington
- OCCUPATION: Children's Activist, Civil Rights Activist, Women's Rights Activist, Journalist
- BIRTH DATE: April 11, 1865
- DEATH DATE: July 15, 1951
- EDUCATION: Radcliffe College, Packer Collegiate Institute
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Brooklyn, New York
- PLACE OF DEATH: Newton Highlands, Massachusetts
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Mary White Ovington was a civil rights activist and one of the white reformers who helped found the NAACP.
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The trio created plans to hold a special conference, which became known as the National Negro Committee. The first conference was held in New York in 1909. The NNC held another meeting the following year, during which a new organization called the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was formed. Made up of both blacks and whites, the NAACP was a picture of racial harmony in its early days.
As one of the group's founders,
Ovington became the NAACP's first executive secretary and a member of its board. Her friend W.E.B. Du Bois served as the organization's director of publicity and research and ran its publication The Crisis. Over the years, Ovington also contributed to The Crisis and provided editorial support to the publication. She served in several different capacities during her nearly four decades with the NAACP, including as chair of the board from 1919 to 1932.
In 1947, Ovington was forced to resign from the NAACP due to poor health. That same year, she released her personal look at the organization's history in the work The Walls Came Tumbling Down. In her eighties, Ovington spent her final years with her sister Helen in Massachusetts. She died on July 15, 1951, in Newton Highlands, Massachusetts.
Besides her many contributions to the NAACP, Ovington left behind a substantial body of work, including numerous essays and articles. In addition to Half a Man, she remembered for such books as Socialism and the Feminist Movement (1914) and Portraits in Color, a collection of biographies. Ovington also wrote a few novels and children's books.
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"Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love." Stated by legendary civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., these words represent a basic human philosophy to which black history's greatest leaders have passionately subscribed. Learn more about the world's most revered civil rights activists, known for their fight against social injustices and lasting impact on the lives of black citizens, including Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Nelson Mandela, Nina Simone, Mary McLeod Bethune, Lena Horne, Marva Collins, Rosa Parks, W.E.B. Du Bois, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.
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