Mary Britton

In “To Miss Mary Britton,” the famed poet Paul Laurence Dunbar celebrated her powerful speech against a bill for racially segregated seating in railroad cars proposed in the Kentucky state legislature in 1893. The following year, teacher and journalist Mary Britton (1855-1925) became a charter member of a new Seventh-day Adventist church organized in Lexington, Kentucky, one of Adventism’s earliest African-American congregations. After graduating from the American Medical Missionary College in 1902, Britton dedicated herself to “making health care more equitable.” She continued the fight against segregation, organizing rallies and writing numerous newspaper articles. Additionally, she advocated for women’s suffrage and abstinence from alcohol and tobacco, and was founding director of the Colored Orphan Industrial Home.

Additional resources