Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin: “Address to the First National Conference of Colored Women”

(1895)

Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin’s “Address to the First National Conference of Colored Women” opened the proceedings for a group of one hundred African American women who met in Boston at the Charles Street African Methodist Episcopal Church in July 1895. Ruffin was the president of the Women’s Era Club in Boston, founded two years previously, and it was her work with this group that inspired her to found the National Federation of Afro-American Women. She organized and convened the Boston conference with a view to bringing together African American club women from across the nation to join with her in that effort. Attending the conference as representatives from clubs around the nation, the participants convened to assert their position as a critical component of the women’s movement, to discuss the issues and challenges facing black women, and to debate how best to move forward in light of those challenges. The “Address to the First National Conference of Colored Women” was a...

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General Federation of Women’s Clubs headquarters (Library of Congress)

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