Women’s Organizations

What is the purpose of the National Council of Negro Women?

Mary McLeod Bethune (1875–1955) was instrumental in founding the National Council of Negro Women on December 5, 1935— the first national coalition of black women’s organizations established in the twentieth century. It aims to advance issues that are important to black women and their families. The organization was founded in New York City when fourteen black women’s organizations came together at the 137th St. YWCA. Bethune was its first president, a post she held until 1949. The organization had a centralized direction and purpose that Bethune found lacking in the National Association of Colored Women. The NCNW was originally located at 1318 Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., which in 1995 was designated an historical landmark. The Bethune Museum and the National Archives for Black Women’s History, which document Bethune’s life as well as the history of NCNW, are located at this site.


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