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Updated 10:30 AM January 16, 2009




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Author Edelman to address prospects for future generation

The presidential election demonstrated how much progress the country has made in the past 40 years, but millions of children are still left behind, the founder of the Children's Defense Fund says.
(Photo courtesy Office Of Academic Multicultural Initiatives)

"Every person must step forward and take action to improve the lives of our children and our nation's future," says CDF President Marian Wright Edelman, who will give the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy's 2009 Citigroup Foundation Lecture.

The event, co-sponsored by the National Poverty Center and the Students of Color in Public Policy, is at 4 p.m. Jan. 27 in the Michigan Union Ballroom.

Edelman will speak from her new book, "The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation."

The book is a series of letters to a variety of audiences — educators, faith leaders, youth, mothers, elected officials and concerned citizens nationwide — that reflect on the social and economic progress as well as the setbacks since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s death 40 years ago.

Edelman challenges each audience to take action to ensure a level playing field for the next generation.

"We now have the opportunity and awesome responsibility to compose and play the next movement of America's symphony of freedom and justice," she says.

Edelman is a graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School. She began her career in the mid-'60s when, as the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar, she directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Miss.

In l968 she moved to Washington, D.C., as counsel for the Poor People's Campaign that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. began organizing before his death.

She is the author of the No. 1 New York Times best seller "The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours" and eight other books. Edelman has won many awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship, the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award and a Heinz Award. In 2000 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings.

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