By Amandeep T.
The National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, Inc. (NACWC) is the oldest African-American secular organization in existence today. The National Association of Colored Women’s Club, Inc. was founded in Washington, D.C. in July 1896 by Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin and the merger of the National Federation of African-American Women. This federation was the Women’s Era Clubs of Boston and the Colored Women’s League of Washington, D.C.
The Association became and has remained a significant voice in national affairs and contributed to the uplifting of the American way of life since 1896. The membership includes women and youth in 32 states dedicated to “rising to the highest plane the home life, moral standards, and civic life of our race.” These members are still working in the mainstream of economic progression where the colored women of the United States of America stand united for service to humanity.
The organization has played a great role in the political, economic, and social development of the modern African-American community, as well as its involvement in national and international reform movements. During this era, policymakers denied the existence of self-help programs within the African American community and place so much emphasis on the need for their creation. The NACW stood in stark contrast to their faulty allegations and as testimony to the longstanding commitment on the part of black women to addressing their communities’ needs, regardless of the changing political climate.
The Colored Women’s League was organized in 1893 in Washington, D.C. with Helen Cook as President. The National Federation of Afro-American Women had been organized in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1895 with the wife of Booker T. Washington as president.
The objectives of this organization are:
- 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 and youth through the work of the departments.
- To obtain for African American women the opportunity of reaching the highest levels in all fields of human endeavor.
- To promote effective interaction with the male auxiliary.
- To promote inter-racial understanding so that justice and good will may prevail among all people.
- To hold educational workshops biennially at the Convention.