In the winter of 1970 in New York City, a handful of Black women, led by visionary Edna Beach, began meeting in their homes to assess the problems and opportunities left behind in the wake of the turbulent 1960s. For the rest of the 1970s, they slowly but persistently worked to master root causes of issues that affected their families, their communities and themselves. Naming themselves the Coalition of 100 Black Women, they boldly began to reach out to other Black women in common cause and, eventually, mobilized their emerging stature as a visible force of influence. By the beginning of the next decade, that influence had become a national movement.
On October 24, 1981, representatives from 14 states and the District of Columbia founded the National Coalition of 100 Black Women (NCBW). They responded to the New York Coalition’s nationwide call to develop a leadership forum for professional Black women from the public and private sectors. That call resulted in a network of Black women who joined together to meet the personal and professional needs of the contemporary Black woman, the needs of her community and her access to mainstream America.
Today, the national movement has garnered more than 6,000 members over the years throughout 60 chapters representing 25 states and the District of Columbia. In profile, the typical Coalition woman has completed college, holds a professional position, earns a median income of $40,000, is age 40 to 50, and is integrally involved in the socioeconomic and political matrix of her respective community.
The stated purposes of the Coalition are:
To foster principles of equal rights and opportunities;
To promote the awareness of Black culture;
To develop the potential of the membership for effective leadership and participation in civic affairs;
To take action on specific issues of national and international importance, and
Structured for Action
The National Coalition of 100 Black Women is committed to being a united voice for more than 14 million Black women in the United States.
As a leadership forum, it serves as a role model to help elevate the quality of life for young Black Women and other Black women in transition.
As an organization of career (professional and volunteer) women, it draws upon the strength of its membership to work toward solutions on issues of concern to the contemporary Black woman.
As a network, it serves as a vehicle of communication among Black women for their own personal and professional development.
And as an advocacy group, it collectively seeks the political and economic empowerment of Black women as a means of gaining access to mainstream America.
In line with those objectives, the Coalition has set the following as target areas for program development over the coming years:
Legislative Analysis and Voter Mobilization
Personal and Professional Development
Role Model/Mentor Projects
Influencing and Shaping Public and Private Policy
Local and national advocacy to eliminate HIV-AIDS and its ravaging impacts on girls, women and communities of color
Promoting Economic Empowerment of Black Women through wealth building strategies, retirement planning, advocacy for pay equity and related changes to social security
Facilitating Personal and Professional Development of NCBW Members and our constituents
Promoting Role Model/Mentor Projects for young women and other working women
Increasing Access to Higher Education for working moms and women of color
Participating in Research to Define Solutions to Teen and Unplanned Pregancies in communities of color
Increasing awareness of, and furthering actions to, close the gender gap in health, education and economic development
Supporting Worldwide Efforts for Elimination of Gender-Based Violence and Discrimination Against Women in All Forms
To achieve its targeted goals, the NCBW works to develop alliances with leadership from corporate, civic, political and government entities and to build a consensus among special interest groups. Moreover, the Coalition, created to serve as the eyes, ears and voice for all Black women, positions itself as a complement to the strong heritage of existing Black women’s organizations that share its goals.