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Our Founder: Dr. Mary Jane McLeod Bethune

Mary Jane McLeod Bethune was an American educator, philanthropist, humanitarian, womanist, and civil rights activist. Bethune  founded the National Council of Negro Women in 1935, established the organization's flagship journal Aframerican Women's Journal, and resided as president or leader for myriad African American women's organizations including the National Association for Colored Women and the National Youth Administration's Negro Division. She also was appointed as a national adviser to president Franklin D. Roosevelt, whom she worked with to create the Federal Council on colored Affairs, also known as the Black Cabinet. She is well known for starting a private school for African-American students in Daytona Beach, Florida. It later continued to develop as Bethune-Cookman University. Bethune was the sole African American woman officially a part of the US delegation that created the United Nations charter, and she held a leadership position for the American Women's Voluntary Services founded by Alice Throckmorton McLean. For her lifetime of activism, she was deemed "acknowledged First Lady of Negro America" by Ebony magazine in July 1949 and was known by the Black Press as the "Female Booker T. Washington". She was known as "The First Lady of The Struggle" because of her commitment to gain better lives for African Americans.

National Council of Negro Women Inc.

The National Council of Negro Women is a nonprofit organization founded in 1935 with the mission to advance the opportunities and the quality of life for African-American women, their families, and communities. Mary McLeod Bethune, the founder of NCNW, wanted to encourage the participation of Negro women in civic, political, economic and educational activities and institutions. The organization was considered as a cleaning house for the dissemination of activities concerning women but wanted to work alongside a group who supported civil rights rather than go to actual protests. Women on the council fought more towards political and economic successes of black women to uplift them in society. NCNW fulfills this mission through research, advocacy, national and community-based services and programs in the United States and Africa.

NCNW National Presidents

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