BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Most people know the names of Martin Luther King or Rosa Parks. The civil rights leaders who accelerated the civil rights discussion in America. But have you heard of Enolia McMillan?
As Mike Schuh reports, her legacy in Baltimore is now being honored.
She lived nearly a hundred years and if you look through the pages of her life, you realize she didn’t waste a single chapter.
“All because she was an ordinary woman who went on to accomplish extraordinary things,” said Dr. Jurney J. Hollis of Morgan State University.
McMillan’s father was a former slave, so she questioned the racist dual school system in Maryland in the 30’s. It’s just one part of a life spent fighting for equality.
From being the first black teacher, then principal in a white school. Her experience running Maryland’s NAACP, followed by Baltimore’s NAACP, lead her to run the national NAACP.
She’s been described as fearless, as she spoke truth to power.
Before he was a congressman or NAACP president, Kweisi Enfume met Mrs. McMillan and later joined her at an Anti-apartheid March in D.C.
He remembered her power of persuasion:
“And she said, ‘young man, I think you are going to jail tonight.’ I said go to jail? She said ‘someone has to go to jail and I’m too old, otherwise we won’t get the headline we want. We want people to know how much this meant to us,'” Enfume said.
In his life, he often would run into the heavy hitters in the civil rights movement.
“Every time I ran into one of them they’d say ‘Kweisi, tell us; how’s Enolia doing?’ I’d say ‘she’s doing great!'”
She became the head of Morgan State University’s board of directors and now they honor her.
Her name is on the wall with 10 panels looking at her life’s work.
Her life serves as a lesson to the next generation of leaders, asking them to learn who lead the way demanding change.
The exhibition on her life can be seen on the second floor of the library at Morgan State.