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Snowden, Muriellocked

(14 July 1916–30 September 1988)
  • Ashley Farmer


Snowden, Muriel (14 July 1916–30 September 1988), community organizer and civil rights activist, was born Muriel Sophronia Sutherland in Orange, New Jersey, the second of three children of Reiter Lucinda Thomas and William Henry Sutherland, a dentist and Howard University graduate. Muriel spent her childhood in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, as a member of one of the first African-American families to integrate the affluent community. After matriculating at Glen Ridge High School in 1934, where she was named valedictorian, Muriel attended Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She faced racial discrimination as the only African American in her undergraduate class. The college did not permit her to reside in the dormitory during her freshman year, and her studies suffered as a result. She filed a successful petition to be a resident student, after which she excelled at Radcliffe, earning a bachelor’s degree in Romance languages in 1938....

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