Marion Thompson Wright


Graduate of Barringer High. First African American woman in the US to earn a PHD in History. Rutgers annual lecture series named in her honor. Wrote, “The Education of Negroes in New Jersey” and other works.

One of only two black students in her class at Barringer. Her mother worked as a domestic servant in Newark while she was growing up. 

Shown on Newark censuses in 1905-1915. Married William Moss in 1918 in New York. Record in the 1920 census on Crawford Street in Newark, though the birthdates for her entire family are wrong. Her daughter Thelma is listed as 15 but should be 1 year old. She had a son James. 

In the 1920s she left to Howard where she got her Bachelor’s and Master’s. She got her PhD at Columbia in 1940. She remarried Arthur Wright, and is shown on the 1940 census again in Newark. They divorced as well. In the 1930s, she also worked with the Newark Welfare Department. In 1940, she became an Assistant Professor of Education at Howard, and a full professor in 1957.

Died in 1962 by suicide, while she was living in Montclair. 


Marion Thompson Wright, BlackPast

Census Records

Stetler Carrie. “Quest for Learning Had a High Cost” Star Ledger Feb 22, 2008

“Dr. Wright Educator” Montclair TImes , Nov 1, 1962