Interview with Kelli Wright Lumpkin – Daughter of Hall of Fame Honoree Aletha R. Wright

Interview with Kelli Wright Lumpkin – Daughter of Hall of Fame Honoree Aletha R. Wright

Aletha R. Wright is well known throughout Camden. She has multiple buildings named after her and has been recognized over and over again for her work to support families in Camden. Sadly, the world lost Aletha in 1994, but her legacy lives on. 

The Camden Schools Foundation sat down with her daughter Kelli Wright Lumpkin to talk about her mom, her legacy, and how she would feel about the Camden Schools Foundation! 

What does it mean to your family to have your mother be honored about the Camden Schools Foundation?

It means a great deal. She was about education first and putting children first. She was all about getting kids prepared for college and even making it through kindergarten to 12th grade meant something to her. Education always had a special place in her heart. 

Aletha died in 1994, about 10 years before the Camden Schools Foundation was founded. How would she feel to know that our organization exists and our mission is to support the students and schools in Camden?

She would be ecstatic. Education meant everything to her. She would be so grateful that people are putting into public education, and not taking away. It would make her heart happy to hear about what you are doing.

How would you describe the legacy of service she has left for future generations?

She used to have a saying:

Don’t down the one who’s down today, help them in their sorrow

This ole’ world is a funny ole’ world, you may be down tomorrow.

She lived by that. She was one of 10 children. Her mom died at 41. Her father was murdered. She grew up on a farm in Winslow. She started out in education in her late 20s working at day care centers. Then she was the director of BPUM and worked with people like [CSF Founder] Harvey and went on to many other civic roles. She was always helping people. Her whole life was based around children and families. She died when she was 45 and many people in Camden say that what she did in 45 years would have taken someone else an entire lifetime. 

What wisdom do you think she would like to share with the youth in Camden today?

Remember to pull people up that are down. Keep pushing forward. Keep going. And go for it! 

Is there anyone you would like to thank?

Our family would like to thank the City of Camden and the State of New Jersey for always loving my mother. Giving their all to her. Accepting her for who she was and for helping her pass the torch to the next generation of family activists.