(Nashville, Tennessee) – Nashville leaders recently embarked on a journey which established a historic moment with chartering the National Association of Colored Women’s Club – Nashville Economically Empowered Women’s (N.E.E.W) Club in Nashville, Tennessee. The National Association of Colored Women (later National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs) was established in Washington, D.C., on July 21, 1896. Founders of the NACWC included Harriet Tubman, Margaret Murray Washington, Frances E. W. Harper, Ida Bell Wells-Barnett, Victoria Earle Matthews, Josephine Silone Yates, and Mary Church Terrell (the organization’s first president).
The Nashville N.E.E.W. Club organizers were Dr. Katherine Y. Brown and Sydney Y.K. Brown who worked for two years to bring the club to reality. Dr. Katherine, having been a member of another club and also an advisor for a local collegiate club, was excited about bringing a new club to the Nashville area. The historic chartering of the Nashville Economically Empowered Women Club occurred May 22, 2022 in the Nashville home of Dr. Katherine Y. Brown. Women have a history of gathering in homes and having meaningful contributions to bring about change and it can be said that new is committed to carrying the mantle to do great things that build upon the historic legacy of women in this great community.
“Given the state of events in the world and its resounding impact on women, children, families, and communities of color there is a need in our community that can be fulfilled through the mission of the NACWC. The motto Lifting As We Climb gives us a call to action and advocacy that we hope to be able to fulfill”, explained Dr. Katherine Y. Brown, a charter member and the inaugural President of the Nashville N.E.E.W Club of N.A.C.W.C. History is important to this Club as is its focus on how it plans to contribute to the Nashville community. When asked about the objectives of the Club, Nashville N.E.E.W charter member Sydney Y.K. Brown explained, “The objectives of the N.E.E.W are: to work for the economic, moral, religious and social welfare of women and youth; to protect the rights of women and youth; to raise the standard and quality of life in home and family; to secure and use our influence for the enforcement of civil and political rights for African Americans and all citizens; to promote the education of women and youth through the work of the departments; to obtain for African American women the opportunity of reaching the highest levels in all fields of human endeavor; to promote effective interaction with the male auxiliary, and to promote inter-racial understanding so that justice and good will may prevail among all people.”
Each club has a focus and N.E.E.W. has chosen economic empowerment. Mrs. Shay Gresham Howard (also a charter member) explained, “a focus on entrepreneurship and wealth acquisition in the Black community is paramount to building a legacy for generations to follow.”
Dr. Stacey Floyd-Thomas, N.E.E.W. charter member, a leading national womanist scholar and Vanderbilt professor of ethics and moral leadership states, “While we are N.E.E.W., there is nothing new about African American women who have been historically heroic in championing the cause of communal uplift and social justice. Since the 19th century, NACWC has been legendary in leading the charge for expressing and exacting a sense of identity that deftly wielded traditional communism and critical socio-economic engagement in combating the social ills of racism, sexism and classism that have plagued Black women and their community. NACWC celebrates a legacy of moral leadership and indefatigable tenacity that has rescued women’s clubs from the stereotype of exclusivity, hobbies and socializing for the higher call to organize leading women who seek meaningful change by lifting as we climb and leaving no one of goodwill behind.”
When we think of economic empowerment, specifically the capacity to participate in, contribute to and benefit from growth processes in ways that recognize the value of contributions, respect, dignity and making it possible to negotiate a fairer distribution of the benefits of growth, the need for Nashville Economically Empowered Women is clear. Since its chartering with nine members, it has already grown by two more women. Among this list of distinguished community leaders who are members of Nashville N.E.E.W. include Monchiere Holmes-Jones (CEO of MOJO Marketing), Dr. Tamika Bryant Hudson (Vanderbilt Nursing Professor), Dr. Donna Goodrich (author), Dr. Katherine Y. Brown (Founder of Learn CPR America, LLC and Founder of Dr. Katherine Y. Brown Leadership Academy), Sydney Y.K. Brown (Executive Director of Roberta Baines-Wheeler RBW Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Group), and Sylvia Johnson (CPA). If the individual accomplishments of these women is an indicator of what they will accomplish together; the future is bright for the Nashville Economically Empowered Women Club of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs. For more information, email Dr. Katherine Y. Brown at NashvilleNEEW@gmail.com or DrKatherineYBrown@gmail.com