Edith Savage-Jennings is a longtime civil rights and social justice activist and winner of numerous local, state, and national honors.
In 1957, the Rev. S. Howard Woodson, the president of the Trenton area NAACP and first African-American speaker of the New Jersey legislature, asked Mrs. Savage-Jennings to chair a civil rights rally at Shiloh Baptist Church for the benefit of the (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) SCLC. She invited the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. to speak which inspired the people and garnered national attention to the Mercer County chapter of SCLC. She also coordinated three “Marches on Trenton” as part of the Poor People’s Campaign, which included the march from the Battle Monument to Trenton Central High School where participants were met with police dogs.
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy recruited Mrs. Savage-Jennings for a secret mission to Jackson, Mississippi. She and Mrs. Helen Minor, the wife of the New Jersey Governor Robert Minor, went to meet with public officials and women in the Jackson community to offset rioting due to integration in the first grade classrooms. It was the first time that an African-American and white woman worked and traveled together in Mississippi. They also traveled to Hattiesburg to retrieve letters from incarcerated college students who were helping to register black Mississippians to vote. The efforts of Mrs. Savage-Jennings and Mrs. Minor were later included in the project Wednesdays in Mississippi.
Mrs. Savage-Jennings has been a White House guest in the administrations of Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr. and Clinton. President Clinton appointed her to the Federal Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission in Washington, D.C.
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