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[[underlined]]THE BEGINNING[[/underlined]]

The National Association of Colored Women was organized at Washington, D. C. on July 21, 1896.  The year before, 1895, a meeting had been called at Boston, Massachusetts by Mrs. Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, President of the Woman's Era Club of that city.  Mrs. Helen Appo Cook represented the Colored Women's League of Washington at this conference.  A temporary organization was formed with Mrs. Booker T. Washington as president.  The next year, 1896, a meeting was held at Washington in the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church of which the late Dr. Walter H. Brooks was pastor.  A permanent organization was formed and called the National Association of Colored Women and Mrs. Mary Church Terrell of Washington was elected the first president.

The Association has functioned continuously for the past fifty years.  At its first meeting 25 states were represented by 73 delegates reporting a membership of less than 5,000.  The Golden Jubilee Anniversary being celebrated at Washington on July 27-August 2, 1946 has enrolled 1,100 delegates from 43 states, representing a membership of more than 50,000.

[[underlined]]ITS PURPOSE[[/underlined]]

The women who organized the National Association of Colored Women were far-sighted.  They recognized the handicaps of Negroes, particularly with reference to educational, recreational, and industrial opportunities.  They recognized the need for uplift work in all levels of community life so they set about establishing day nurseries for working mothers; furnishing boarding homes for girls in cities, and
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