In the winter of 1970 in New York City, 24 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. As a result of their meetings, they formed the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. 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. 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 promoting gender and racial equity.
In 1981, the New York Coalition had over 500 members throughout New York City’s metropolitan area, far in excess of the symbolic “100” in its title. Its effective role-model projects and its association with grass-roots community activity won notice in both local and national news media. As the Coalition gained recognition, Black women from other parts of the country aspired to duplicate its mission and programs in their own geographic areas.
In 1981, it decided to create a national organization, to expand beyond the boundaries of New York City, and, accordingly, to include the term “National” in the original title. The National Coalition of 100 Black Women (NCBW) was launched on October 24, 1981, with representatives from 14 states and the District of Columbia, with Jewell Jackson McCabe as its first national president. The rapidity by which the organization grew is attested to by the statistics of 1986: 47 chapters in 19 states, with a membership of 3,000.
The national movement has garnered more than 14,000 members over the years throughout 62 chapters representing 28 states and the District of Columbia. To meet the diverse needs of its members, NCBW implements programs that…
provide an effective network among Black women,
establish links between NCBW and the corporate and political sectors,
enable Black women to be a visible force in the socioeconomic arena,
meet the career needs of these women and facilitate their access to mainstream America,
use the tools of role modelling and mentoring to provide meaningful guidance to young women,
and recognize the historic and current achievements of Black women