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TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN'S CLUBS

TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN'S CLUBS. The Texas Association of Colored Women's Clubs was organized by Mrs. M. E. Y. Moore in Gainesville, Texas, in 1905. (Because black women were excluded from the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs, they had to form their own organization.) Their motto was "Lifting As We Climb." Women from around the state answered Moore's call to organize a federation to improve the home and the moral and social life in the communities of Texas, and she was elected president. She was succeeded by Inez Scott of Paris, Texas, one of the charter members. The first printed minutes of the association were produced during the administration of Mary Alphin, the third president, elected in 1910. The fourth president, elected in 1916, was Carrie Adams of Beaumont, who laid the foundation for establishing a home for delinquent girls-a struggle which took thirty years. In 1906 the TACWC affiliated with the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, which had organized in 1896. At least one Texas club, the Phyllis Wheatley Club of Fort Worth, became an affiliate of the NACWC between 1899 and 1901, even before the founding of the TACWC. By 1906 there were new women's clubs in Houston (the 1906 Art and Literary Club), Austin (the Douglass Club), and San Antonio (the Women's Progressive Club). The TACWC grew rapidly in Texas, maintaining an active program of education and culture for its own members, as well as addressing questions of racial uplift. By 1930 the NACWC revised its constitution, drastically reduced the number of its committees, and increasingly shifted its focus to a greater emphasis on home and family life. Although its goals still included civic and political rights, the organization's influence was soon supplemented by newer ones like the National Council of Negro Women. The NACWC held its annual convention in Fort Worth in 1937, with more than 300 delegates in attendance. Mary McLeod Bethune, national club leader, spoke on the youth movement, and a popular song, "Call to Women," composed by Leana L. Parks of Marlin, Texas, was sung. In the period before World War II, the women were concerned with the preservation of peace. Several TACWC members achieved national leadership positions. Ada Bell DeMent, a Mineral Wells teacher, was not only president of the TACWC from 1930 to 1934, she was elected national president from 1941 to 1945.

The TACWC worked from 1916 until 1945 to convince the state to authorize and fund a home and training school for delinquent black girls. The plan was first adopted under the urging of Carrie Adams of Beaumont, in the period around the World War I. By 1923 the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs and the Joint Legislative Council had endorsed the concept, an early example of interracial cooperation. That same year the TACWC raised $2,000 for the down payment on such a home. In 1926 Jessie Daniel Amesqv, a former suffragist, toured Texas speaking to white women's organizations about the importance of the project. In 1927 the legislature finally authorized the construction of the home but provided no money for another eighteen years. In 1945 the state finally appropriated $60,000 to establish the Brady State School for Negro Girls, located in a former prisoner-of-war camp near Brady (see CROCKETT STATE SCHOOL). The first students were admitted in 1947. In 1950 the school was relocated to Crockett and at that time housed more than 100 girls. The TACWC also worked for a state hospital for black tuberculosis patients and supported the agenda of its parent body, the NACWC, which included a fight against lynching and the struggle for voting rights. In 1982 another Texan, Ruby Morris, was elected president of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, and the word "colored" was dropped from the name of both the state and the national organization.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Black Women's Club Papers, Houston Public Library. Andrew Webster Jackson, A Sure Foundation and a Sketch of Negro Life in Texas (Houston, 1940). Megan Seaholm, Earnest Women: The White Woman's Club Movement in Progressive Era Texas, 1880–1920 (Ph.D. dissertation, Rice University, 1988). Charles Harris Wesley, The History of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs (Washington: National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, 1984).

Ruthe Winegarten

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Ruthe Winegarten, "TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN'S CLUBS," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/vet01), accessed April 17, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.