MoWRe

edith savage-jennings: a legacy of civil rights

It was Freedom Summer 1964 and a quiet revolution began in Mississippi when a group of Black and White women reached across the chasm of race, class, geography, and religion to end segregation in America. This quiet revolution was called “Wednesdays in Mississippi.” Edith Savage-Jennings was one of those women, and in the summer of 2010 she became a mentor to the leaders of Black Women's Blueprint in shaping a vision and positioning the organization’s work on human rights for Black women, as an extension of the civil rights movement. 

In 2011, Freedom Fighter, Edith Savage-Jennings gave Black Women's Blueprint a gift—a historical table where she herself sat with the late, great Coretta Scott-King and several other notable women and leaders in Black history. On Monday, April 23, 2012, the table finally found its new home within the new offices of Black Women's Blueprint and Museum of Women’s Resistance.

Ms. Edith Savage-Jennings is a decorated pioneer of the civil rights movement whose fight for racial justice began at the age of 12 when she became a youth member of the Trenton Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. 

 (IMAGE:Wednesdays in Mississippi Film Project. Edith Savage-Jennings is at the Center-third from the left)

Edith Savage-Jennings worked with Dr. Martin Luther-King and several other great civil rights leaders but while they are secure in the history books, Jennings has a more subtle but important place in the annals of the Civil Rights Movement as one of thousands of behind-the-scenes people who assured its momentum.

Ms. Savage-Jennings is a life-long member of the NAACP, was the first President of the Urban League Guild, founder of the Mercer County Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1960. A resident of New Jersey, she lobbied to make New Jersey the first state to divest its investments in South Africa.

Mrs. Savage-Jennings’ involvement with organizations are far too numerous to mention and she is the recipient of more than 80 awards and honors. In 2004 Ms. Savage Jennings was honored at a national tribute dinner with 650 guests that included Coretta Scott King, Yolanda King and David Dinkins. She was presented with the Congressional Medal Honor that was given to Rosa Parks in 1999 By George W. Bush. In 2005 the Delaware Valley SCLC honored her with their Outstanding National Civil Rights Activist award. On October 23, 2005 at a ceremony in Montgomery Alabama, her name was placed on the Wall of Tolerance for fifty years of Civil Rights service. The University of Virginia Center for Digital History in Charlottesville, Virginia has included Mrs. Savage-Jennings civil rights and social justice activism as part of their current digital history display along with several women from various part of the country who played significant roles in the civil rights movement.

Finally, in June 2009, Ms. Edith Savage-Jennings was inducted into the National Civil Right Museum in Memphis. We are proud to ensure her story is told.

On June 27, 2014, Ms. Edith Savage-Jennings will be inducted into the Museum of Women's Resistance, also named for this grand lady, The Edith Savage-Jennings Legacy Museum. 

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