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National Council of Negro Women



founded December 5, 1935, by Mary McLeod Bethune

Also Known as:

NCNW (that acronym is also used by the National Congress of Neighborhood Women, founded 1974)


NCNW was founded as an "organization of organizations," bringing together many different national and local organizations serving or representing African American women. The National Council of Negro Women, Inc., today has as its vision, "to lead, develop and advocate for women of African descent."

Key People:


Historically, the NCNW emphasized employment, civil rights, anti-lynching, and voter registration. In the 1970s, more training for self-help and economic opportunity was added, and later more emphasis on strengthening the black family.

During World War II, the NCNW helped recruit women for the Women's Army Corps.

NCNW moved to national headquarters in Washington, DC, in 1942, and received tax-exempt status in 1966.

In 1979, NCNW founded the Mary McLeod Bethune Memorial Museum, including the National Archives for Black Women's History.

National annual Black Family Reunion Celebrations have been held since 1986.

Current projects include the Dorothy I. Height Leadership Institute; Bethune Program Development Center; and the Research, Public Policy and Information Center. Recent international programs have included projects in Egypt and Senegal.


Bettye Collier-Thomas. N.C.N.W., 1935–1980. 1981.

Also see books by and about Mary McLeod Bethune and Dorothy Height

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  2. Education
  3. Women's History
  4. African American Women's History: Slavery, Civil Rights, More
  5. 1900-1949
  6. National Council of Negro Women

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