UD history author to discuss Mary Church Terrell biography Sept. 30

Activist an early advocate for equality
September 20, 2021

The inspirational story of Mary Church Terrell, who was born into slavery and became a leading advocate for changing the culture and institutions that perpetuated inequality throughout the United States, is the subject of an upcoming History Book Festival program.

University of Delaware professor Alison M. Parker will discuss “Unceasing Militant: The Life of Mary Church Terrell,” at 5 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 30. A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation.

Terrell was one of the most prominent activists of her time, with a career bridging from the late 19th century to the civil rights movement of the 1950s.

The program is free, but preregistration is required. To reserve a spot, go to

The first president of the National Association of Colored Women and a founding member of the NAACP, Terrell collaborated closely with the likes of Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells and W.E.B. DuBois. She also was a notable Black leader in the women’s suffrage movement.

“Unceasing Militant” is the first full-length biography of Terrell, bringing her vibrant voice and personality to life. Though most accounts of Terrell focus almost exclusively on her public activism, Parker draws on newly discovered letters and diaries to weave together the joys and struggles of Terrell’s private life with the challenges and achievements of her public, political career; the result is a stunning portrait of an often under-recognized political leader.

Parker is the history department chair and Richards Professor of American History at the University of Delaware. She has research and teaching interests in U.S. women’s and gender history, African American history and legal history.

Copies of “Unceasing Militant” are available at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, the official bookseller of the History Book Festival. Biblion in Lewes also has copies of the book for sale. Books purchased at either shop come with a signed archival bookplate.

Presenting sponsors of the 2021 festival are Delaware Humanities and the Lee Ann Wilkinson Group of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Gallo Realty.

In addition to the Lewes Public Library, the festival’s virtual programs are supported by the Delaware Division of Libraries and Sussex County Libraries.

Now in its fifth year, the History Book Festival is the first and only book festival in the United States devoted exclusively to history. 


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