Council of Women. The year 1929, did not usher in any marked difference in
attitudes and behaviors among white Americans. Nor did the majority of those
struggling for women's rights embrace black women as a vital component of
the movement. There were still many domestic issues that required constant,
concerted involvement. In spite of the advances made by women in general,
black women still toiled under the heavy yoke of race and sex. Membership in
traditionally white organizations did not guarantee greater inclusion, respect,
or success. Organizations started by black women in response to their specific
needs and interests were still the most important conduits for change and
However, whether in groups of black women only or in biracial groups, the
black woman demonstrated her competence, industry, and intelligence. Thus
we find the African American woman struggling to come into her own and
bringing her race with her. There is no greater evidence of her value to the
progress of the race than the lives she influenced, the lasting institutions she
founded, the enduring programs she initiated, and the positive course for racial
betterment that she set for future generations.
For a fuller discussion of the activism of black women in the South, see Cynthia
Neverdon-Morton, Afro-American Women of the South and the Advancement of the Race,
1895-1925 ( Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1989).
Margaret Murray Washington, "Are We Making Good?" Spelman Messenger, November 1915, 8.
Warren Logan, "Colored Women of the Country Districts", Tuskegee Messenger 29
( April 1913): 3.
Mary Church Terrell, "Being a Colored Woman in the United States", Mary Church
Terrell Papers, Collection 102, box 3, folder 53, p. 1, Manuscript Division, Moorland-
Springarn Research Center, Howard University," Washington, hereafter MSRC.
S. C. Fernandis, "Report of the Women's Cooperative Civil League", in Civic Courier,
1912-1914 ( Baltimore: Lord Baltimore Press, April 1914), 4.
Patricia Hills Collins provides an analysis of the factors and thought undergirding the
development of the black women's club movement in "Feminism in the Twentieth
Century", in Black Women in America:An Historical Encyclopedia, ed.
Darlene Clark Hine
Elsa Barkley Brown, and
Rosalyn Terborg-Penn ( Brooklyn, N.Y.: Carlson Publishing, 1993), 418-25.
"Mrs. Booker T. Washington Honored Guest of Nashville's Women's Club", National
Globe, 11 May 1916, Women's Work file, Monroe Work Collection, Hollis Burke Frissell
Library, Tuskegee University's Archival Collection, Tuskegee, Ala; hereafter TUAC.
"Negro Women and Successful Meet", Montgomery Advertiser, 10 June 1925, Women's
Work file, Monroe Work Collection, TUAC.