Sue Bailey Thurman (née, Sue Elvie Bailey; August 26, 1903 – December 25, 1996) was an American author, lecturer, historian and civil rights activist. She was the first non-white student to earn a bachelor's degree in music from Oberlin College, Ohio. She briefly taught at the Hampton Institute in Virginia, before becoming involved in international work with the YWCA in 1930.

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  • Sue Bailey Thurman (née, Sue Elvie Bailey; August 26, 1903 – December 25, 1996) was an American author, lecturer, historian and civil rights activist. She was the first non-white student to earn a bachelor's degree in music from Oberlin College, Ohio. She briefly taught at the Hampton Institute in Virginia, before becoming involved in international work with the YWCA in 1930. During a six-month trip through Asia in the mid 1930s, Thurman became the first African-American woman to have an audience with Mahatma Gandhi. The meeting with Gandhi inspired Thurman and her husband, theologian Howard Thurman, to promote non-violent resistance as a means of creating social change, bringing it to the attention of a young preacher, Martin Luther King, Jr. While they did not actively protest during the Civil Rights Movement, they served as spiritual counselors to many on the front lines, and helped establish the first interracial, non-denominational church in the United States.Thurman played an active role in establishing international student organizations to help prevent foreign students feeling isolated while studying abroad. She organized one of the first international scholarship programs for African-American women. She studied racism and the effects of prejudice on various people throughout the world, making two round-the-world trips in her lifetime. She wrote books and newspaper articles to preserve black heritage, and initiated the publishing efforts of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) by founding the Aframerican Women’s Journal. In addition to writing the second ever history of black Californians, in 1958 Thurman published a cookbook laced with historical information about black professional women at a time when African Americans had few civil rights. Recognizing that there was little academic interest in black women's history at the time, Thurman used the marketing ploy of food to report on the lives of black women who were not domestics. She participated in international peace and feminist conferences, and in 1945 attended the San Francisco Conference for the founding of the United Nations as part of an unofficial delegation. Thurman also established museums such as the Museum of Afro-American History in Boston in 1963.Thurman and her husband retired in San Francisco in 1965. She worked with the San Francisco Public Library in 1969 to develop resources for black history of the American West. In 1979 she was honored with a Centennial Award at Spelman College, sharing the recognition with UNESCO director Herschelle Sullivan Challenor. After her husband's death in 1981, Thurman took over the management of the Howard Thurman Educational Trust, which funded research for literary, religious and scientific purposes and assisted in scholarships for black students. On her death in 1996, she left the couple's vast archives to numerous universities. (en)
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  • Sue Bailey Thurman, 1953 (en)
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  • Sue Bailey Thurman (née, Sue Elvie Bailey; August 26, 1903 – December 25, 1996) was an American author, lecturer, historian and civil rights activist. She was the first non-white student to earn a bachelor's degree in music from Oberlin College, Ohio. She briefly taught at the Hampton Institute in Virginia, before becoming involved in international work with the YWCA in 1930. (en)
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  • Sue Bailey Thurman (en)
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