During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Mary Morris Burnett Talbert was an educator, women’s rights advocate and a civil rights crusader. She worked with organizations such as the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to promote the social, cultural, and economic betterment of all races.

Talbert was in constant demand as a speaker and was involved in petitioning for reforms in the laws governing the incarceration of children. Talbert was elected president of the NACW in 1916 and helped to purchase and restore the home of Frederick Douglass. She also traveled to France to serve as a Red Cross nurse during World War I.

In 1922, the NAACP awarded Talbert the Spingarn Medal for her devotion to the cause of freedom and equality for blacks and all races. She was the first woman to receive the award.

Article Courtesy of the Buffalo Historical Society