women’s club

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.

Women’s Club honorees.



Wilson Daily Times, 18 August 1971.

Annie Weeks and the Federated Club.

In the 1880 census of Wake Forest, Wake County, North Carolina: farmer Henderson Cook, 37; wife Mariah, 30; and children Livelina, 12, Lidia J., 9, Bryant, 7, Bettie A., 5, Willie, 3. and Laura A., one month.

In the 1910 census of New Bern, Craven County, North Carolina: at 176 George Street, pastor Alfred L. Weeks, 34; wife Annie, 34, a teacher; daughter Marie E., 4; and sister Bessie, 20.

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Hill’s New Bern, N.C., City Directory (1911-1912).

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson township, Wilson County: Alfred Weeks, 44, a minister; wife Annie, 44; daughter Marie, 14, and sister Bessie, 26.

In the 1930 census of Elizabeth, Union County, New Jersey: at 233 West Grand Street, minister Alfred L. Weeks, 54; wife Annie, 54; and seven boarders.

Annie Elizabeth Cook Weeks, then a resident of Elizabeth, New Jersey, died while visiting Wilson on 19 April 1943. Her death certificate noted that she was born in Wake Forest, North Carolina, on 4 December 1875 to Henderson B. and Mariah D. Batchlor Cook of Wake County, and was a teacher. [Annie Weeks died at 916 East Green Street, the home of her brother Jerry L. Cook. He acted as informant on the death certificate.]


The Book and Garden Club.

An early photo of the Book and Garden Club, founded in 1948 by Anna B. Johnson and Norma Darden, who are seated at the table. Behind them, from left, Beatrice McCowan (fourth), Courtney Fitts (fifth), Willie H. Freeman (eighth, just over Mrs. Johnson’s shoulder), Johnnie Boatwright (ninth), Estelle L. Shade (twelfth) and Flossie H. Barnes (thirteenth).

Image courtesy of Anna Hines, reprinted in Wilson Daily Times, 15 February 2008. Many thanks to Mrs. Inez Dickerson Bell for helping identify some of the club members.