50th Anniversary of the Negro women’s clubs.

In 1959, the North Carolina Federation of Negro Women’s Club convened its 50th anniversary gathering in Wilson. The host club was Wilson’s Mary McLeod Bethune Civic Club. Though the meeting postdates the period covered by this blog, the anniversary booklet offers several rare images of Wilson’s most prominent early 20th century Black women.

The local planning committee (left to right): Anna B. Johnson, chairwoman of publicity; Ethel L. Hines, chairwoman of housing; Bessie Satchell, courtesy; Marie Mitchner, financial secretary; Norma E. Duncan, chairwoman of the local planning committee; Lelia Yancey, secretary; Letitia Fisher; and Flossie C. Barnes, chairwoman of registration. Not pictured: Mabel Dixon, chairwoman of the hobby committee; Odelle Barnes, chairwoman of time and place; Louise Jenkins; and Johnnie Harris, hospitality.

Below, the full membership of Mary McLeod Bethune Civic Club standing on the steps of Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church.

The Civic Club’s officers: President Bessie Satchell, Vice Present Bedford Savage Lucas, Secretary Ada Harris Reid Sharpe, Assistant Secretary Willie Hendley Freeman, Financial Secretary Norma Duncan Darden, Treasurer Ethel Cornwell Hines, Parliamentarian Anne Burgess Johnson, and Chaplain Hattie Daniels.

“Fiftieth Anniversary Convention of the North Carolina Federation of Negro Women’s Clubs” (1959), Gazella Poole Lipscomb Collection, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina Memory, lib.digitalnc.org.

2 comments

    1. Yes. And no. They were the tiny social elite — teachers, librarians, doctors’ and businessmen’s wives — but I’d argue that working-class women were the community’s lifeblood.

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