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Section History & Mission

The Washington Section was organized in 1943 under the leadership of Romaine Brown 8 years after Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune founded NCNW as “an organization of organizations” to improve the quality of life for African American women, their families and their communities.



NCNW’s mission is to lead, develop, and advocate for women of African descent. NCNW fulfills its mission through research, advocacy and national and community-based programs and services on the issues of health, education and economic empowerment. The Washington Section has been at the forefront of the mission, working to effect positive change by participating in the initiatives of the National organization over the years, such as Obesity Abatement, One Shared World Campaign to raise awareness about global poverty, African American Women - As We Age and Fit for Life to promote healthy living, and Decide. Create.Share, AARP’s national campaign dedicated to increasing awareness of the importance of long-term care planning.



The Washington Section works tirelessly to support the local community through service and advocacy partnerships, including Potomac Job Corps Christmas Bags, luggage donations & toiletry drive; Phyllis Wheatley Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA)’s Annual Mid-Summer Soiree and Ms. Wheatley’s Closet for women in transition; Raney-Moss Group Foundation care packages for homeless college students; and the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree. The Washington Section leads Washington School for Girls Spirit of Bethune youth section. This section was chartered at the approval of the late Chair, Dr. Dorothy Height, as the organization’s first student section named Spirit of Bethune.The purpose is to formally address the challenges of young girls at the middle school level and serve as an opportunity mento and grow new leaders.


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National History

In 1935 Mary McLeod Bethune called together 28 national women leaders to form "an organization of organizations," a council.She pointed out that what was needed was not another organization, but one that would bring organizations together. Thus, Mrs. Bethune founded the National Council of Negro Women as such - "a national organization of national organizations." Hers was a visionary call for working together with a "Unity of Purpose and a Unity of Action." 


With a mission to lead, develop and advocate for women of African descent as they support their families and communities, NCNW addresses issues of human welfare and rights through public education, community service and advocacy.

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