Posted on 01/18/2008

Photo taken on January  1, 1909

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Nannie Helen Burroughs

Nannie Helen Burroughs
[b.1879 - d.1961]

Nannie Helen Burroughs attended public schools in Washington, DC, where she was influenced by teachers such as Mary Church Terrell. Her lifelong goals were to empower women within the Baptist Church and to organize a training school for women and girls. Her impassioned oration, "How the Sisters Are Hindered from Helping," delivered at the 1900 National Baptist Convention (NBC), was instrumental in establishing the Women's Convention Auxiliary to the NBC, the largest black women's organization in America at that time. The Women's Convention elected Burroughs its corresponding secretary every year from 1900 to 1948, and she was president of the organization from 1948 until her death. Burroughs was also an outspoken foe of lynching and segregation, and tirelessly promoted women's suffrage. After passage of the 19th Amendment, Burroughs formed the National League of Republican Colored Women and worked to mobilize African American women politically. May 10th is Nannie Helen Burroughs Day in DC.

Bio: PBS The American Experience

Black America Series: Washington, D.C., 1861-1962; by Tracey Gold Bennett
Photograph: Rotograph Co., New York City