<YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)>
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Bowles, Eva Del Vakia
Birth Year : 1875
Death Year : 1943
Bowles was born in Albany, OH, the daughter of John H. and Mary J. Porter Bowles. Her first employment was teacher at the Chandler Normal School in Lexington, KY; Bowles was the first African American teacher at the school. She was secretary of the YWCA Subcommittee on Colored Work when the first Conference on Colored Work was held in Louisville, KY, in 1915. Bowles was a leader in the YWCA. For more see the Eva Del Vakia Bowles entry in Black Women in America [database].
Subjects: Education and Educators, Migration South, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Albany, Ohio / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Brooks, Corrinne Mudd
Birth Year : 1914
Death Year : 2008
Brooks organized the first African American girl scout troop in Fort Wayne, IN. The history of African American girl scout units has not been thoroughly researched, and it is not known how many units existed in the U.S. Up to the 1950s, girl scouts were segregated by race. In the state of Indiana, the first girl scouts were formed in New Albany in 1919, which became a council in 1923. Brooks was an active member of the Limberlost Girl Scout Council, as well as the Urban League, the Commission on the Status of Women for the State of Indiana, and the YWCA. She was also the comptroller at the YWCA. Corrinne Brooks was the wife of James W. Brooks. She was born in Louisville, KY, the daughter of Loretta Douglas Mudd (1897-1928), who was born in Fort Wayne, and James Mudd (1881-1968), who was born in Springfield, KY. The family moved from Kentucky to Fort Wayne in 1915 and lived on Wallace Street, according to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. When Loretta Mudd died, Corrinne became the mother of the household; she was the oldest of her six siblings. She was also an athlete, the first girl in her high school to receive a sweater for her participation in basketball and soccer. She graduated from Central High School in 1933. She won the Civic Men's Scholarship, which was used for her courses at Indiana University Extension, located in downtown Fort Wayne. Brooks took a turn at politics: an unsuccessful candidate for the Indiana House of Representative in 1954 and 1956, she went on to become a coordinator for the Indiana voter registration drive in preparation for the 1960 presidential election, helping to register over 43,000 voters; Senator John F. Kennedy invited her to a National Conference on Constitutional Rights and American Freedom in New York. She was also founder of the Martin Luther King Living Memorial. For more on Corrinne Brooks, see her entry in The Black Women in the Middle West Project, by D. C. Hine, et al.; and "Corrinne Brooks always active in helping others," The Journal Gazette, 02/06/1996, People section. A picture of Corrine Brooks is on p. 120 in Ebony, 09/1983 [available in Google Book Search]. For more on the girl scouts see the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana website; and for a more detailed accounting of African American girl scout history, see the "Josephine Groves Holloway" entry in Notable Black American Women, by J. C. Smith.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Athletes, Athletics, Civic Leaders, Scouts (Boys and Girls), Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Women's Groups and Organizations, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Fort Wayne, Indiana / Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky
Fouse, Elizabeth B. Cook
Birth Year : 1875
Death Year : 1952
Elizabeth B. Cook Fouse was an advocate for African American women's opportunities and equal rights. A schoolteacher who was active in social and religious activities, she served as president of the Kentucky Federation of Colored Women and was founder of the Phillis Wheatley YWCA in Lexington, KY. She was a member of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. In 1944 Fouse was appointed by Governor Simeon Willis to serve on the Kentucky Commission for the Study of Negro Affairs. She was married to W. H. Fouse. For more see Jesus, Jobs, and Justice, by B. Collier-Thomas; and the Fouse Family Papers in the Kentucky Digital Library.
See photo images of Elizabeth B. Cook Fouse and others, in the Collection Inventory [click on links at the bottom of the page] in Explore UK.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Women's Groups and Organizations, Appointments by Kentucky Governors, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association), Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky
Birth Year : 1924
Death Year : 1992
Harriet Gibbons was born in Louisville, KY. A graduate of Kentucky State University and the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, she taught black history at Albany High School, and in 1974 was named principal of the alternative high school, Street Academy, both in Albany, NY. Gibbons was selected to fill a vacancy on the city school board and in 1979 became the first African American woman elected to the post, remaining on the board for ten years. Also in 1979, Gibbons was named director of the Office of Equal Opportunity for the city of Albany, staying with the job till 1985. She next became director of the Affirmative Action Office at the New York Department of Health, retiring from the position in 1989. She had also been a caseworker with the Albany County Department of Social Services and was the first African American woman to head a city agency, the Albany (NY) YWCA. After her death in 1992, the Street Academy was renamed Harriet Gibbons High School. The school closed in 2010. In 2012, Harriet Gibbons was posthumously inducted into the Albany City School District Hall of Fame. For more see R. Wexler, "Harriet Gibbons, 68, Former Director of Albany Agency," The Times Union, 04/21/1992, Local section, p. B7.
See photo image and additional information about Harriet Gibbons in the article by C. Miller, "Keeping my promise...and then some," 06/28/2012, at timesunion.com.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Migration North, Board of Education, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Albany, New York
Herod, Henry Louis and Elizabeth Frances
The Herods, Henry (1875-1935) and Elizabeth (1881-1953), were Kentucky natives: Elizabeth was born in Millersburg, and Henry may have been born there, also. The couple was married in 1899 and shared their home with Henry's 15 year old nephew, all living on W. 13th Street in Indianapolis, IN, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. Henry was pastor of Second Christian Church, later known as Light of the World Christian Church; he was pastor for 37 years, 1898-1935. He is credited with increasing the membership and developing educational and cultural importance among the church members and advancing community projects. He was Superintendent of the Indianapolis Flanner House from 1925-1935. He was a political leader in Indianapolis and served as secretary of the Interracial Committee of the Council of Social Agencies. Henry was a member of the First Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Nu [see p. 46 of A History of the Washington (DC) Alumni Chapter 1911-1949 (.pdf format)]. Henry was a graduate of the University of Indianapolis, Butler College, Department of Liberal Arts and Culture [now Butler University]. Elizabeth was also active in the community, serving as secretary of the Indiana Federation of Colored Women's Clubs and as president of the Indianapolis Federation of Colored Women's Clubs. She was also active with the Indianapolis YWCA and was a delegate to the national convention in 1924. For more see the Elizabeth Herod entry in "Kentucky Biographical Sketches" in Lifting as They Climb, by E. L. Davis; and "Indianapolis Y.W. representative to Buenos Aires here," The Indianapolis Star, 06/07/1924, p. 7. See Henry Herod in the Indiana Medical Journal, 1902, vol. 21, issue 1, p. 527 [available at Google Book Search]; and Indiana Blacks in the Twentieth Century, by E. L. Thornbrough and L. Ruegamer.
Subjects: Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Religion & Church Work, Fraternal Organizations, Women's Groups and Organizations, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association), Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Millersburg, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana
Kentucky Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Start Year : 1903
The National Association of Colored Women was established in Washington, D.C., in 1896 and incorporated in 1904. The Kentucky chapter was represented by the Kentucky State Association of Colored Women's Clubs, organized in 1903 and boasting a membership of 2,500 women in 112 clubs. Kentucky's membership was second only to Tennessee among the 21 states reporting statistics in 1935. The NACW adopted the motto "Lifting As We Climb" and was dedicated to the "moral, mental and material progress made by our people. " The Kentucky clubs specialized in "Fostering Day Nurseries, Hospitals, Old Folks Homes; Homes for Delinquent Girls, Building Club Houses and Community Centers." The Lexington chapter was responsible for founding the Phillis Wheatley Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), which participated in the nationwide "Good Homes Movement" and still operates in Lexington today. The Good Homes Movement encouraged home ownership and the maintenance of clean, comfortable living quarters. Better Homes Week was held in the spring and sponsored programs that included such activities as selecting, furnishing, and opening a model home; reconditioning older homes; teaching about home finance; and encouraging such community projects as the paving and lighting of streets and the construction of playground and recreation centers. An important department of the NACW was the "Mother, Home and Child Department." During the 1920s, the national chairmanship of this department was held by a prominent Lexington woman, Mrs. Lizzie B. Fouse. Under her leadership, pamphlets were produced on various subjects; one pamphlet declared "Around Mother, Home and Child is woven the web of civilization," and suggested that mothers organize into block circles or local clubs, adopt a slogan, read progressive literature on modern child-rearing practices, and "get busy and do something at once." From the Fouse Family Papers, M-839, Special Collections, King Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington. See also, Pictorial Directory of the Kentucky Association of Colored Women, by L. H. Smith [available full-text in the Kentucky Digital Library - Books]. For information on more current clubs, see M. Davis, "Women's Clubs past, present fills needs," Lexington Herald-Leader, 3/11/2004, Free Time section, p. E2.
This entry was researched, written and submitted by
Nancy O'Malley, Assistant Director [email@example.com]
William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology and
Office of State Archaeology
1020A Export Street
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky 40506
See photo image of the Artistic Ten, the club formed in 1909 in Frankfort, KY. Image on p. 12 in Pictorial Directory of the Kentucky Association of Colored Women.
Subjects: Women's Groups and Organizations, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association), Association of Colored Women's Clubs, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Kentucky
Paul Laurence Dunbar High School (Lexington, KY)
Start Year : 1923
End Year : 1967
The following information comes from Julian Jackson, Jr., Historian of the (old) Dunbar Alumni Association. The original school was a wooden structure named Russell High School. In 1921, William H. Fouse was instrumental in convincing the city of Lexington and the Education Board to build a new school for Negro children. Two years later the school was completed at 545 North Upper Street, with W. H. Fouse as the principal. The school was named after poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, whose mother Matilda and father Joshua were from Kentucky. The funding for the school was unusual because it came from taxes on both African Americans and whites. (In 1921, Lexington tax dollars for education were still somewhat segregated.) The school was the first African-American high school accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, one of eight such schools in the South. Fouse also helped create the first school bank and the first insurance program within Dunbar. He also helped develop regional literacy and art competitions, and the school had a championship debate team, sponsored by alumnus Cecil Posey. Dunbar students also participated in two interracial debate competitions: The Thrift Competition, supported by the Thrift Service Company of New York, which offered $75 in prize money; and the Bible Study Contest, sponsored by the YMCA and the YWCA. The Dunbar boys' team won $61 in prize money and took first place in the statewide interracial debate competition in which the girls' team placed second. Dunbar served the African American community for 44 years with three different principals: W. M. Fouse, 1923-1938; P. L. Guthrie, 1938-1966; and Clara Wendell Stitt, 1966-1967. Students who attended Dunbar received a well-rounded, quality education, the majority graduated on time, and many went on to college. Former students with additional information may contact Julian Jackson, Jr. at (859) 255-6328 or firstname.lastname@example.org. See also R. Bailey, "Lexington's Black community found magic at Dunbar," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/16/1986, p.B1. See also the NKAA entry African American Schools in Lexington and Fayette County, KY.
See the 1931 photo image of the faculty at the Paul Laurence Dunbar High School at 540 North Upper Street, Lexington, KY, in Kentucky Digital Library.
Subjects: Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Education and Educators, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association), YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky
Walters, Katie Knox
Birth Year : 1859
Death Year : 1896
Katie Knox Walters was a Christian advocate on behalf of her husband's work in the AMEZ Church, and she was an activist in the Colored YWCA in New York City where she chaired the library committee. She had served as vice president of the Women's Home and Missionary Society in California. According to authors Franklin and Savage, Walters raised the largest amount of money in the New Jersey AME Zion Annual Conference in 1898. [Katie Walters' death year is given as 1896 in Bishop Walters' biography.] Katie Knox Walters was the first wife of Bishop Alexander Walters. They met in Indianapolis, IN, and married in 1877, and would become the parents of five children. The family was living in Jersey City, NY, when Katie Walters died. She was born in Louisville, KY, the daughter of Louis and Kittie Knox. For more see African American Women and Christian Activism by J. Wisenfeld; My Life and Work by A. Walters [available full text at Documenting the American South]; and p.98 of Cultural Capital and Black Education by V. P. Franklin and C. J. Savage.
See the image of Katie Knox Walters at New York Public Library Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration North, Religion & Church Work, Women's Groups and Organizations, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Jersey City, New York
Williams, Frances Harriet
Birth Year : 1899
Death Year : 1992
Williams, a civil rights activist, was born in Danville, KY, and grew up in St. Louis, MO. She was the daughter of Frank and Fannie B. Williams. Frances Williams was valedictorian of her high school class, and graduated from Mt. Holyoke College in 1919, Phi Beta Kappa, having majored in chemistry and economics. She earned her masters in political science from the University of Chicago in 1931. Williams had an active career with the YWCA, and the NAACP. She was on the staff of Senator H. H. Lehman (D-NY), served as Assistant to the Executive Secretary of President Harry S Truman's Committee on Civil Rights, and was a staff member of the Office of Price Administration. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; "Frances H. Williams" in Women and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1965 edited by D. W. Houck and D. E. Dixon; and a picture of Frances H. Williams on p. 138 of Crisis, vol 18, issue 3, July 1919 [available at Google Books].
Photo image in top lefthand corner of page 138.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Saint Louis, Missouri
YWCA (Louisville, KY)
Start Year : 1915
End Year : 1998
Founded in 1912, the Louisville YWCA hosted the first interracial YWCA conference in the South, October 14-16, 1915. Four years later, it was noted in the title Child Welfare in Kentucky that the Louisville Association of the YWCA was the only one in the United States that provided a summer camp for colored girls. The Phillis Wheatley Branch of the YWCA for African Americans was established in the early 1920s and closed in the 1970s. The first Spouse Abuse Shelter in Kentucky was opened in the Louisville YWCA in 1977, and in 1981 six shelters in the state formed a statewide coalition, the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association. In 1998, the Louisville YWCA was no longer affiliated with the national YWCA and became the Center For Women and Families. For more see U.S. Women's Interest Groups: Institutional Profiles, by S. Slavin; Our History at the YWCA.org website; YWCA entry in The Encyclopedia of Louisville, edited by J. E. Kleber; and the Young Women's Christian Association of Louisville Records at the University of Louisville Libraries.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Women's Groups and Organizations, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
YWCA Subcommittee on Colored Work
Start Year : 1915
The YWCA's first Conference on Colored Work was held in Louisville, KY, in 1915, with both African American and white women in attendance and seated together during the programs. It was the first integrated conference by the YWCA, an experiment to see if it would work in an agreeable fashion. Louisville was considered a safe enough testing ground in the not too deep South. African American women from throughout the South who headed YWCA branches attended the conference, along with leaders from other women's organizations who wanted to establish African American YWCAs in their communities. A previous conference, held in Asheville, NC, in 1907, to discuss the YWCA's work in southern African American communities, was attended by 60 white women. The national meeting in 1913 was held in Richmond, VA, with African American student attendees seated in the balcony. It soon became obvious that more African American women were attending the YWCA conferences and establishing branches; therefore, in 1913 the Subcommittee on Colored Work was formed to respond to the work with African American women in urban areas, which was the fastest growing development. Stationed in New York, Eva Del Vakia Bowles, an African American from Albany, OH, was hired as secretary of the subcommittee, with the responsibility of helping the National YWCA to accommodate the African American members without detriment to the white membership. The 1915 conference attendees in Louisville are remembered for three areas of consensus: 1) The National Board appointed an interracial committee to promote the college associations, city associations, and new branches; 2) Training for African American staff and volunteer members would be paid for by the National Board; and 3) African American branches of the YWCA were to become branches of the local white associations or the National Board. The placement of the African American branches under the control of the local white YWCAs was protested, but to little avail. Also, African American student conferences were held annually in the South, with a white YWCA member in attendance. The YWCA Council on Colored Work was disbanded during World War I when the War Work Council was formed; work with African Americans shifted more toward the enlisted men. For more see the YWCA of the U.S.A. Records, a Five College Archive and Manuscripts Collections website; The Afro-American Woman, by S. Harley and R. Terborg-Penn; and Organizing Black America, by N. Mjagkij.
See photo image "Camping in Old Kentucky" in the NYPL Digital Gallery from the source: The work of colored women; compiled by Jane Olcott, issued by the Colored Work Committee, War Work Council, National Board Young Women's Christian Associations.
Subjects: Women's Groups and Organizations, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky