Lorrine Cunningham


for a woman whose sensitivity to women’s needs
led her to tremendous achievements for women:

Lorrine Cunningham

Lorrine Cunningham has given outstanding and vital leadership in seeking economic and social justice for everyone, whether the issue is wife abuse, job discrimination, or jail and prison conditions.

She joined the Civil Rights movement in 1963 in Jackson, Mississippi, where she and her Methodist minister husband were involved in the struggle to open churches to persons of all races. That was, she has said, “a traumatic and radicalizing experience.”

Since her arrival in Memphis in 1970, Lorrine has demonstrated that constant vigilance and a strong will can solve glaring human needs. When this self-described “little old lady in tennis shoes” talks, people listen — and they act.

As a lead of Church Women United, Lorrine was instrumental in development of the Transitional Center for Women, a residential program for women offenders, and in creation of the Second Chance Fund to help those women afford education and job training. As a founder and past president of the Economic Justice for Women Coalition, she generated projects to heighten public awareness of economic and equality issues facing all women. In recent years, she has pursued Shelby County officials demanding equal treatment and opportunities for women prisoners in the county jail.

Lorrine Cunningham’s achievements to better women’s lives are the result of her vision of a world where women can do and be everything they imagine.