women of color

QUESTION: Black clubwomen creating institutions to shelter Black juvenile delinquents in 1800s?


You might be interested in the following two articles:

1. Evette Perry, T. and Davis-Maye, D. (2007) Bein' Womanish: Womanist Efforts in Child Saving During the Progressive Era: The Founding of Mt. Meigs Reformatory. Affilia, 22(2), 209- 219.


This article highlights the establishment by the Alabama Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs in 1907 of Alabama’s first and only reform school for African American youths, the Mt. Meigs Reformatory for Juvenile Negro Lawbreakers. Recognizing that the issues of African American women and the larger African American community were inextricably linked, courageous 19th-century African American women worked within a womanist ideological framework and harnessed their resources to develop purposeful agendas and creative responses to pressing problems in the African American community. Sorely neglected, this legacy begs for the attention of scholars who recognize the value of unearthing historical fragments to create enriched wholes.

You can get this article using the database SAGE Premier 2007 at any of the following NYPL branches/centers:

· Humanities and Social Sciences Library
· New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
· Science, Industry and Business Library
· Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture


2. Muth B., Gehring, T. et al. (n.d.) Janie Porter Barrett (1865-1948): Exemplary African American correctional educator. Retrieved online Monday, November 30, 2009 from:

Pages 8 and 9 of this article mention that in 1913, the Virginia State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs opened a reformatory school for African-American girls in Virginia. During that time, Janie Porter Barrett was president of the federation.

Related Question

Black clubwomen creating institutions to shelter Black juvenile delinquents in 1800s?


Hi Vicki,

Here are a few things to get you started. The first link is to the publicly available article “Black Club Women and Child Welfare: Lessons for Modern Reform.”


This site provides information about the General Federation of Women's Clubs


The next item is a book, which is not available online but, is available though New York Public Library.

Southern Ladies, New Women: Race, Region, and Clubwomen in South Carolina 1890-1930 by Joan Marie Johnson.

These two articles are available through an article database called JSTOR, which is also available through NYPL. You can give these citations to a librarian and he or she should be able to get them for you.

“Black Feminism in Indiana, 1893-1933” by Erlene Stetson

“Welfare and the Role of Women: The Juvenile Court Movement” by Elizabeth J. Clapp

I saw several other similar articles, but most of what I found was not publicly available, though you should be able to access them through NYPL. If this is an option that appeals to you let me know and I can post some more.

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Yolanda (Y the T) Retter Vargas!

Well, this is my first blog entry, and we'll see how many others i put together. Really, this entry is to post on the life of Yolanda Retter Vargas, an amazing mujer who kept me in check and made sure that i put my politics into practice whenever i was inside the archive or library, and outside of it as well. We had disagreements from time to time, but we had many more laughs. Her support made my second year in library studies much more meaningful, and made my work for this website more effective.

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