Black History: Special Delivery!!
Established in July 1896, the National Association of Colored Women was founded by Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin after Southern journalist, James Jacks called African American women, “prostitutes”, “thieves and liars”. Ruffin believed the best way to halt racial and sexist attacks on women was by initiating social and political activism. Her goal was to create positive images of African American women and leverage their collective strength to fight injustice. Ruffin is quoted as saying, “Too long have we been silent under the unjust and unholy charges; we cannot expect to have them removed until we disprove them through ourselves.”
She united with other African American women who also had the same goal. NACW was the result of merging several African American women’s clubs including the National League of Colored Women and the National Federation of Afro American Women to form NACW as the first African American National Organization. The organization underwent a name change in 1957, becoming the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs (NACWC).
NACW counted a number of influential women as part of it’s membership including: Mary Church Terrell, Ida B. Wells Barnett, Mary McLeod Bethune, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, and Margaret Murray Washington. NACW’s national motto is, “Lifting As We Climb.” The organization’s nine objectives include:
To work for the economic, moral, religious and social welfare of women and youth
- To protect the rights of women and youth
- To raise the standard and quality of life in home and family
- To secure and use our influence for the enforcement of civil and political rights for African Americans and all citizens
- To promote the education of women, youth and young adults through scholarship funds available through our region, state and local club levels including the NACWC’s
- Hallie Q. Brown Scholarship Fund and the Dr. Patricia Fletcher Scholarship Funds.
- Foster mentorship through the NACWC National Association of Youth Clubs (NAYC) and the NACWC Grandparents Academy Program
- To obtain for women of color, opportunities for reaching the highest levels in all fields of human endeavor.
- To promote understanding between the races so that justice and good will may prevail among all people.
. NACWC remains active with 30+ chapters across the U.S.