Sue Bailey Thurman, Civil Rights Activist   Leave a comment

Sue Bailey Thurman (1904-1996) was an American black author, lecturer, and historian. She was also the wife of noted theologian Howard Thurman.

Thurman was the youngest of ten children born to educators, the Reverend Isaac Bailey and Susie (Ford) Bailey of Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

She graduated from Spelman College in 1920 and earned bachelor’s degrees in music and liberal arts from Oberlin College in 1926.

Thurman worked as a national travelling secretary for the YWCA‘s college division understanding she worked for the YWCA from 1926 to 1932. She lectured throughout Europe and established the first World Fellowship Committee of the YWCA.

In 1932, she married Dr. Howard Thurman, religious leader and social critic, whose ministry was deeply entwined with her own work until his death in 1981.

Thurman was the founder and editor of the Aframerican Women’s Journal, the first published organ of the National Council of Negro Women, from 1940-1944. She also served as the founder and first chairperson of the National Council of Negro Women’s National Library, Archives, and Museum.

In the 1950s Thurman founded the Museum of Afro-American History in Boston, Massachusetts.

Thurman authored several books in her own right, including Pioneers of Negro Origin in California (1949) and The Historical Cookbook of the American Negro(1958).

Thurman was the mother of Anne Spencer Thurman and stepmother to Olive Thurman, her husband’s daughter by his first wife.

Her papers are kept at Boston University.


Posted March 4, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Uncategorized

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