NCNW was founded in 1935 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, an influential educator and activist, and for more than fifty years, the iconic Dr. Dorothy Height was president of NCNW. Dr. Lois A. Keith was elected as Chair of NCNW in 2022. Rev. Shavon Arline-Bradley was appointed as President/CEO in 2023, ushering in a new era of social activism and continued progress and growth for the organization.
National Council of Negro Women, Inc. – Detroit Section was organized on January 26, 1944, and chartered on April 6, 1946. Detroit Section was the first section in the state of Michigan to meet the criteria developed by the National headquarters for organizing a section. R. Louise Groom, the first President of the Detroit Section, alerted the Metro Detroit community to the need for a united effort to achieve goals set forth by our founder, Mary McLeod Bethune.
In 1952, Dr. Bethune visited Detroit because she was deeply concerned about the Detroit Section’s period of inactiveness. During this visit, Dr. Bethune charged Dr. Rosa L. Slade Gragg to reorganize the Detroit Section. As a result of this charge, the Detroit Section has established a number of community-based activities and partnerships, such as:
The Detroit Section exemplifies the unity and volunteerism that are at the heart of NCNW’s values. Through our work in the community, the Detroit Section helps NCNW to lead, empower and advocate for women of African descent as they support their families and communities.