In Memoriam

Enolia Pettigen McMillan (1904-2006)

Enolia P. McMillan, an educator for 42 years and the first female president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, died late last month in Stevenson, Maryland. She was 102 years old.

McMillan’s father was born a slave. Raised in Baltimore, she wanted to become a physician but such opportunities were very rare for a black woman. Instead she decided to pursue a career in education. After graduating from Howard University with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1927, McMillan went to Columbia to win a master’s degree.

She then returned to Baltimore to teach in the city’s racially segregated schools. In 1971 she was named head of the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP where she served for nearly two decades. She later served for six years in the largely ceremonial position of president of the national NAACP. But McMillan was a major force in bringing the NAACP national headquarters to Baltimore. The street outside the headquarters building is now named Enolia P. McMillan Way.