Mary Burnett Talbert - Table of Contents

Mary Burnett Talbert - Chronology

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Plaque located on the lot adjoining the Michigan Avenue Baptist Church (left background). Tablet's house, now demolished, was located there.

Michigan Avenue Baptist Church

Source: Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society Museum 2002 display

Forest Lawn Memorial

It is often noted in her biographies that Mary Talbert was the first black woman to receive a Ph.D. degree from the University of Buffalo. However, this fact has never been proven conclusively. According to Williams, U.B. did not offer Ph.D. degrees before 1930, but they did offer certificates that were called doctorates. It is possible that Mary Talbert could have received one of these ědoctorate ěcertificates leading to the confusion over the actual credentials.

Excerpt from
Deidre Williams, "NAACP Turns 100 Today,"
published in The Buffalo News, February 12, 2009, B1

In 1905, 32 prominent African-American men gathered for a reception at the home of William and Mary B. Talbert members of Michigan Street Baptist Church - once a stop on the Underground Railroad. The men - who had financial backing from William Talbert - wanted equal rights for black men.And they wanted it immediately.

'We are men. We want to betreated as men. And we shall win," scholar and activist W. E. B. DuBois was quoted as saying. little did the Talberts know that the reception they hosted in their home would give birth to one of the country's leading civil rights organizations.

The following day, the group convened officially for the first time ast he Niagara Movement in the Fort Erie (Ont.) Hotel, according to Bishop William Henderson, historian and tour guide for Michigan StreetBaptist Church.

Four years later, the group would form the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which celebrates its centennial today.


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