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Marilyn Yarbrough; Setting the “BAR” High

October 15, 2010 in 1960s-1970s, Social history

Born in Bowling Green, KY in 1945, Marilyn Yarbrough Ainsworth had her mind set on being successful from day one. Daughter to Merca L. Toole and William O. Yarbrough, Marilyn would continue her education past high school and she would soon thereafter graduate from Virginia State University, and in 1973 from the UCLA Law School. After some time as an aerospace engineer with IBM and Westinghouse, Yarbrough would go on to become a law professor at several schools before finally landing a job as dean of the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Before Marilyn Yarbrough achieved this monumental feat of the struggle for race and gender equality, no African American women had ever been dean of a major southern law school. Had it not been for the hard work and dedication of Ms. Yarbrough to gain her prestigious position, who knows how long it would have before the next revolutionist swept in to get the ball rolling for not only African American women, but all women in their struggle for equality. During a time of desegregation of schools, which was a cause for high tension for African Americans as well as women, Marilyn Yarbrough was able to break down the barriers that kept people like her from obtaining these positions of power in schools of the South, and for that I commend her.

Following her death in 2004, Marilyn Yarbrough has been recogonized as a great leader in the struggle for women as well as African Americans in their struggle for equality in our society.

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