SCLC/W.O.M.E.N., Inc. records 1965-2013

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322


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Descriptive Summary

Creator: SCLC/W.O.M.E.N., Inc.
Title: SCLC/W.O.M.E.N., Inc. records 1965-2013
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 1111
Extent: 116.5 linear feet (150 boxes) and 3 oversized papers boxes (OP)
Abstract:Records of civil rights organization SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. including administrative records, program files, and printed material.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Special restrictions apply: Financial records are closed to researchers until 2040. Personnel records are closed to researchers until 2065.

Unprocessed additions are closed to researchers until processed.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Related Materials in This Repository

Southern Christian Leadership Conference records


Purchase, 2015.


[after identification of item(s)], SCLC/W.O.M.E.N., Inc. records, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.


Arranged and described at the folder level by Sarah Quigley, Michael Hall, Rebecca Sherman, and Danica Tisdale.

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Collection Description

Historical Note

Evelyn G. Lowery, long time civil rights activist and wife of Reverend Joseph E. Lowery, founded SCLC/Women's Organizational Movement for Equality Now (SCLC/W.O.M.E.N.) in her home in Atlanta, Georgia, on October 12, 1979. Created as a way to encourage women's involvement and leadership in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the group dedicated itself primarily to serving the needs of women and families and developed programs to support family values, education, health awareness, and human rights. Members formed task forces and met monthly to discuss programs and plan events.

In 1980, SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. held its first annual Drum Major for Justice Awards Dinner, an event honoring the achievements of civil rights and community leaders. Also in the 1980s, the group began a program of HIV and AIDS education and awareness. The first annual Conference on AIDS in the Black Community was held in 1986, and in 1988 the organization received a grant from the Centers for Disease Control to implement a national AIDS awareness program. For five years, SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. ran the National AIDS Minority Information and Education Program, commonly known as the National AIDS Program, in six cities across the country. The group also was the recipient of a multi-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation that enabled them to establish the Family Life Learning Center in Atlanta. The center offered literacy classes and GED study courses, as well as job training and after school programs. The organization hosted other programs designed to increase knowledge of the Civil Rights Movement, including a civil rights heritage tour offered annually on the anniversary weekend of the first Selma to Montgomery March. Finally, throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the group held an annual conference, Strengthening the Black Family, focusing on topics such as teenage pregnancy, child abuse, and youth drug use, and their effects on African American families.

As National Convener, Evelyn Lowery was the chief administrative officer of SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. Lowery was responsible for a significant portion of program planning and management, and her work was supported by a small number of administrative staff. The Family Life Learning Center and National AIDS Program each were large enough to require program directors and dedicated staff. Program directors reported directly to Lowery.

In 1989, SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. incorporated as a separate organization with the State of Georgia. Though officially a distinct 501(c)(3) organization, the group continued to function as a part of SCLC throughout the 1990s, sharing some staff and reporting to SCLC's Board of Directors. In the mid-1990s, the organization raised money for and built a new building to house their offices on Auburn Avenue. They continue to operate from this location.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the records of SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. from 1965-2013 including administrative records, program files, and printed material. The collection documents the day-to-day operation of the SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. offices, as well as the planning and management of programs and events. Administrative records contain correspondence, memoranda, meeting minutes and agenda, and reports, as well as files relating to SCLC/W.O.M.E.N.'s annual planning retreat and their participation in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's annual convention. Administrative records are primarily those of National Convener Evelyn G. Lowery and her administrative assistant Amethyst Wynn. Program files document the programs, projects, and events hosted or sponsored by SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. Files include the records of the major programmatic offerings of the organization such as the Drum Major for Justice Awards Dinner, Drum Major for Justice Annual Golf Classic, the Civil Rights Heritage Tour, and the Family Life Learning Center, among many others. There are also records relating to SCLC/W.O.M.E.N.'s local and international political involvement, including their support for Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and their participation in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. The records also document the organization's various job training programs, youth outreach activities, and community events.

Due to the volume and complexity of the records of the National AIDS Program, these have been arranged in a separate series. These records document the management of each of the six national program sites, as well as the management of the overall program from the national site in Atlanta. Records in the series include correspondence, reports, meeting minutes and agendas, memoranda, and subject files documenting program planning and community outreach. The series also highlights one major initiative of the program, Reducing AIDS through Community Education, or R.A.C.E., and includes two AIDS knowledge surveys, one conducted in 1988 at the beginning of the program and one conducted in the early 1990s as part of R.A.C.E. The completed surveys provide a small window into popular knowledge of HIV and AIDS at that time.

Printed material includes flies, posters, pamphlets, programs, posters, newsletters, brochures, and other material documenting SCLC/W.O.M.E.N.'s programs, as well as material collected by the organization relating to topics relevant to their work, primarily HIV and AIDS education. The collection includes a small number of files relating to other organizations, including Cascade United Methodist Church and the National Council of Negro Women, that illuminate SCLC/W.O.M.E.N.'s work with these groups. Unprocessed additions to this collection are closed to researchers. Some audio and video recordings of SCLC/W.O.M.E.N., including recordings of their annual convention luncheon, AIDS Forum, and Strengthening the Black Family conference, can be found in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference records.

Arrangement Note

Organized into six series: (1) Administrative records, (2) Program records, (3) National AIDS Program records, (4) Printed material and (5) Related organization and program files, (6) Unprocessed additions.

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