Honoring a Pioneer

williams plaqueOn Monday, April 25, The College at Brockport, State University of New York, honored alum Fannie Barrier Williams, its first African American female graduate. The institution dedicated a plaque to Williams, honoring in particular her civil rights work. The subject of a recent UIP biography by Wanda A. Hendricks, Williams was an important Progressive Era activist. The College at Brockport noted:

Williams was an educated reformer and social activist who, according to historian Wanda Hendricks, is one of the most noteworthy African American women of her time. After leaving Brockport, Williams went on to become a national representative for black women. She was one of the major figures in the development of the National Association of Colored Women and she led the movement to organize the state-based Federation of Afro-American Women’s Clubs in Illinois.

“Williams’ legacy then and now is that nobody should be allowed to define you,” said Darwin Prioleau, PhD, dean of the School of the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, in her welcoming remarks. “You have the right to define yourself.”