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Tuuri to Present at Program Marking Birthday of Civil Rights Leader Mary McLeod Bethune in Washington, D.C.

Wed, 07/03/2019 - 08:27am | By: David Tisdale

University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Assistant Professor of history Dr. Rebecca Tuuri will give a talk on Friday, July 5 in Washington, D.C. about the role of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), spotlighted in her book, “Strategic Sisterhood: The National Council of Negro Women in the Black Freedom Movement.”


This event will be held from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site, located at 1318 Washington Ave. NW, during a celebration of the 144th anniversary of Bethune’s birth.


The NCNW was the largest black women’s organization in the era of the civil rights movement. Bethune founded the NCNW in 1935 to unite black women’s organizations to harness their economic, political, and service power to fight for better employment and educational opportunities, as well as for social justice for black communities nationally.


Dr. Tuuri’s talk will highlight the poverty work the NCNW engaged in throughout Mississippi in the 1960s and 1970s, when it helped create a low-income home ownership program, purchase livestock for civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer’s freedom farm, and create day cares in the state.


“They (members of NCNW) used their respectability, both nationally and in their local communities, to form partnerships with black and white, rich and poor, to help get resources to those in need in Mississippi,” Dr. Tuuri said.


The Bethune Council House served as the NCNW’s headquarters from 1943 to 1966, and also served as Bethune’s home and a guest house and stopping point for black dignitaries during segregation in Washington, D.C. The facility also serves as the host to the National Archives for Black Women’s History, which was the major archive used by Dr. Tuuri for her book.


“I’m very excited to return to the Council House, which was such a supportive research and mentoring site for me,” she said.


For information about Dr. Tuuri’s work at USM, visit