Looking to Foremothers for Strength

“Looking to Foremothers for Strength: A Brief Biography of the Colored Woman’s League.” Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, vol. 47, no. 6, 2018, doi:10.1080/00497878.2018.1492407. 


Abstract: This article is a biography of a nineteenth-century Black women's organization, the Colored Woman's League (aka Colored Women's League and National League of Colored Women) that is a precursor to the well-known National Association of Colored Women. The CWL was a part of the Black women's club movement beginning in the late nineteenth-century. The article examines how the CWL demonstrated an early pattern of local and national unity among black women’s organizing efforts and how it cultivated its commitment to advancing formal and informal education among Black communities. Recovering the history of a less-examined organization, this article contributes to existing scholarship on Black women’s activist legacies and reveals how, just about thirty years after slavery was abolished in the US, women in the CWL made substantial advancements in communities across the US. We can reflect on their achievements and endeavors so that we can gain, if not inspiration, at least a sense of hope during grievous times in our contemporary period.

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