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Our Founder's

Our Founders

The founding members of the National Association of University Women saw the importance of higher education for the advancement of women and worked to promote it. That spread to serving youth and the disadvantaged in our communities and in developing countries by addressing educational issues advancing the status of women's issues, and strategically partnering with allied organizations.

In 1896, she was the first African-American woman in the United States to be appointed to the school board of a major city, serving in the District of Columbia until 1906. Ms. Terrell was a charter member of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (1909) and the Colored Women's League of  Washington (1894).  She also helped establish the National Association of Colored Women (1896) and served as its first national president.  She was a founding member of the National Association of College Women, which later became the National Association of University Women (NAUW)

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Mary Church Terrell

Mary Church Terrell was one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree, an became known as a national activist for civil rights and suffrage.  She taught in the Latin Department at the M street school (now known as Paul Laurence Dunbar High School) the first African-American public high school in the nation-in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Sara Winifred Brown, born in 1868 in Winchester,

Virginia, was a teacher and a physician who spent

her lifetime helping others to help themselves. 

From working as a Red Cross relief worker during

a series of floods to be becoming the first female

trustee of Howard University, Brown devoted much

of her of her life to public service of others.

Brown attended Virginia's all Black Hampton

Normal and Agriculture Institute(now Hampton University), graduating with honors.  She taught English at the District of Columbia Normal School, and in 1894 took a leave of absence to attended Cornell University.  In 1897, she became the first African-American to earn a bachelor's degree from Cornell University.

She then returned to Washington to resume her teaching career as a biology teacher.  Dr. Brown enrolled at Howard University to study medicine receiving her M.D. in 1904.  She then went into practice part-time and continued her studies.  She so taught obstetrics at Howard University in 1907 while practicing medicine and teaching high-school biology.  Thirsting for further knowledge, Brown studied sociology and anthropology under Columbia University professors and during a trip to Europe attended lecturers at Sorbonne.  From 1908 to 1911, Dr. Brown assisted Howard University's medical department, lecturing on gynecology.  She made history June 3, 1924, when the university elected her to its board, making Brown the first female alumni trustee of Howard University.  Dr. Brown was also the fifth president of the College Alumnae Club, serving rom 1917-1919.

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Dr. Sara Winifred Brown

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Dr. Nancy Fairfax Brown

Dr. Nancy Fairfax Brown received her A.B. agree at Howard University and professional training at Howard University and Columbia University.  She earned an A.M. and Pharm. D. For many years, Dr. Brown was an English teacher in the Washington, DC, high schools.  In 1919, the government sent her to France as a Y.M.C.A. secretary and in the 1930's she also accompanied the Gold Star War Mothers to France as a hostess.

Mary E. Cromwell earned her A.B. degree from the University of Michigan and A. M. degree from the University of Pennsylvania and additional graduate work at Columbia University.  She taught mathematics in Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C.  Cromwell was keenly interested i social problems and served as the first secretary of the National Association of College Women in 1924.

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Mary E. Cromwell

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