The National Council of Negro Women, Inc. (NCNW) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization founded in 1935 by Mary McLeod Bethune, a child of slave parents, distinguished educator and government consultant. 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.
The Austin Section of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. (NCNW) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization was in 1946 by Mrs. Marion Jackson Downs (wife of Dr. Karl Downs, the interim president of, then, Samuel Huston College). The Section, though short-lived, made a powerful impact in the Austin community.
The re-activation of the Section was led by Ada DeBlanc Simond, Ingrid Myers Flack, Cecile Banks, and Vera Jones. The Section’s rechartering occurred October 23, 1974 in Austin, Texas and, at a meeting in Rosewood Park, Ms. Vera Jones was elected Section Leader.
During the 1970s and early 1980s, the Section sponsored Essay Contests on Family Life, presented book review, speaker forums, and hosted President Emerita, Dr. Dorothy I. Height at a reception in Austin. Shortly thereafter, the section became inactive for several years.
In 1983, the section was revitalized with new membership and a mission to increase membership and retention. A membership drive was held and 50 new members were added, Claudia Allen was elected Section Chair (now known as Section President) and the section was in full swing again. To maintain membership, local East Austin historian, Janie P. Harrison, suggested a Membership Tea. Her innovative idea remains one of the signature programs of the Austin Section to date. Additional programming, like the Harambee Breakfast Fundraiser, was introduced in the section and remains a venue for networking, exchanging ideas, supporting local vendors, and engaging our local affiliates.
It is our pledge to make a lasting contribution to all that is finest and best in America, to cherish and enrich her heritage of freedom and progress by working for the integration of all of her people, regardless of race, creed, color or national origin into her spiritual, social, cultural, and civic life, and thus aid her to achieve the glorious destiny of a true and unfettered democracy.
The Austin Section has evolved throughout the years in Austin, focusing on youth and young adults of color, presenting enrichment activities to our communities like the Black History Quiz Bowl and Black History Play, and advocating for the black community in Austin through events like the Women of Color Business Workshop.
Legacy of Leadership:
Ms. Vera Jones
Ms. Claudia Allen
Dr. Marvin Kimbrough
Ms. Georgia Nell Thomas
Ms. Audrey Fontenot
Ms. Crystal Bennett
Ms. Marilyn Johnson