nannie-helen-burroughs

Nannie Helen Burroughs, 1879-1961

Nannie Helen Burroughs, 1879-1961

Nannie Helen Burroughs, 1879-1961
Born to former slaves, Nannie Helen Burroughs’ life began in rural Virginia. After her father’s death, she and her mother relocated to Washington, D.C. where she graduated from high school with honors. Yet, when she applied for a teaching position, the city’s public school system showed her the door. Determined to uplift African American women, and with the aid of the National Baptist Convention and small donations from African American women and children, Burroughs opened the National Training School for Women and Girls in 1909. Believing each girl could become, “the fiber of a sturdy moral, industrious and intellectual woman,” the school offered vocational and academic classes to prepare the girls for traditional and nontraditional employment. Burroughs was also active in the African American suffrage movement, and encouraged all women, regardless of race, to work together for the common cause. For 48 years she served as the recording secretary of the Woman’s Convention and was also active in the National Association of Colored Women, the National Association of Wage Earners, and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Her drive to overcome race and gender barriers would anticipate the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-20th century.

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  1. Nannie Helen Burroughs, 1879-1961
    Born to former slaves, Nannie Helen Burroughs’ life began in rural Virginia. After her father’s death, she and her mother relocated to Washington, D.C. where she graduated from high school with honors. Yet, when she applied for a teaching position, the city’s public school system showed her the door. Determined to uplift African American women, and with the aid of the National Baptist Convention and small donations from African American women and children, Burroughs opened the National Training School for Women and Girls in 1909. Believing each girl could become, “the fiber of a sturdy moral, industrious and intellectual woman,” the school offered vocational and academic classes to prepare the girls for traditional and nontraditional employment. Burroughs was also active in the African American suffrage movement, and encouraged all women, regardless of race, to work together for the common cause. For 48 years she served as the recording secretary of the Woman’s Convention and was also active in the National Association of Colored Women, the National Association of Wage Earners, and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Her drive to overcome race and gender barriers would anticipate the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-20th century.

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