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Mary Burnett Talbert

Born: 1866
Death: 1923

Mary B. Talbert (1866-1923) was an educator and civil rights activist.  Born in Oberlin Ohio, Talbert received a degree from Oberlin College in 1886.  Upon graduation, Talbert moved to Little Rock, Arkansas and became a teacher of algebra, geometry and Latin at Bethel University. A year later, she was appointed assistant principal at of Bethel University and in 1888, became the principal of Union High School.

Mary B. Talbert remained in Little Rock until her marriage to William Talbert in 1891.  She then moved to Buffalo, New York where her husband was city clerk and realtor.  Talbert was an active member of the community, joining the Michigan Avenue Baptist Church and forming the Christian Culture Congress there. 

Mary B. Talbert advocated for civil rights and women's rights locally, nationally and internationally.  She was a member of and became president of Buffalo's Phyllis Wheatley Club, which was affiliated with the National Association of Colored Women (NACW).  From 1916-1920 she served as the NACW's president.  When the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) formed, Talbert was elected to the board of directors and later became vice president.  As vice president of the NAACP, Talbert spearheaded efforts to pass national anti-lynching legislation.  During World War I, Talbert spent four months in Europe lecturing to and boosting the morale of African American soldiers.  In 1920, Mary B. Talbert addressed the International Council of Women, speaking about discrimination faced by African American women in the United States.

Affiliation(s): Buffalo Connection Only
Record Group(s): 3
Biographical File Contains:
  • Photographs