Frederick Douglass Birthday Observance program, February 18, 1948

About the Project

Imagine launching a campaign to raise $55,000 in 1945, the year that World War II ended. This bold challenge by the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) exemplifies the highly organized activism of the clubwoman movement. In 1935, educator Mary McLeod Bethune founded the NCNW, building on the legacy of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs (NACW), founded in 1896 to combat lynching. Both united local African American women’s clubs across the U.S. Clubwomen supported African American communities in myriad ways: fighting poverty, providing education, offering child care for working mothers, advocating for civil rights, and striving for international peace. A diverse collection of documents from the 1940s to 1960s awaits transcription, such as event programs, flyers, and tickets; an obituary; a meeting agenda in Spanish; and, a leadership handbook. Learn more about NACW programs that honored abolitionist Frederick Douglass and raised funds to preserve his home in Washington, D.C. and NCNW programs on cultural exchanges with British women after World War II. Look for the integral relationship of church and community; churches often hosted clubwoman events. Notice the presence of music and art, verbally and visually. Discover how African American clubwomen carried out their mission of “lifting as we climb,” and find a message written in the stars. Thank you for helping to make these archival documents searchable!

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