Kentucky Association of Colored Women's Clubs
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 Research Center, King Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington)
See also Pictorial Directory of the Kentucky Association of Colored Women, by L. H. Smith, including the picture of the Artistic Ten, the club formed in 1909 in Frankfort, KY (image on p. 12). For information on more current clubs, see M. Davis, "Women's Clubs past, present fill 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