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Lifting the curtain of race

Crystal Bird Fauset, 1894-1965

Crystal Bird Fauset with First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt. Photo: Public Doman

Born in Princess Anne, Maryland, Crystal Bird Fauset spent most of her adult years working for African-American rights, at the community as well as governmental level. After working as a teacher in Philadelphia public schools from 1914 to 1918, Fauset went on to work for the YWCA and attained a masters of education degree at Columbia University. She would eventually go on to become the first female African-American state legislator in the United States.

Before taking her seat on the legislature, Crystal worked for AFSC in 1927, after the establishment of its Interracial Section. Traveling up and down the East Coast, Crystal spoke to nearly 40,000 people on the subject of race and equality, presenting lectures with titles such as "On being young and colored" and "Is there a race problem?".  In a brochure publicizing her tour, supporters recall Crystal's "spiritual might and sympathetic understanding," noting the deep emotional impact of her presentations. "Altogether Miss Bird's coming to Union School of Religion meant a stirring religious experience to many of our young people."

Crystal told her story and the story of others in the African-American community with spiritual groundedness that changed hearts and promoted the basic equality of every race.

Read about more women change-makers from AFSC's history.

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