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Women gathered Sunday to celebrate a legacy of black women while continuing to make a difference for the future.
The annual Founders’ Day for the Jackson City Federation of Colored Women’s and Youth Clubs was held at Greater Bethel AME Church.
“It (celebrates) the legacy of how it was for us as black women who took pride in our own neighborhoods and uplifted our children and watched over them,” said Deborah Gipson, president of the Jackson City Federation.
Neola Sardon was also recognized as club sister of the year after around 50 years of membership in the organization.
The Jackson City Federation currently has 24 members and two active clubs, Semper Fidelis Council and Athenian Literary and Arts Club, which give out scholarships and provide shoes and clothing to children in need.
Member Edith Renee Douglass said that in 1906, a group of women met at Lane College to talk of a state organization, eventually founding the Tennessee Federation of Colored Women’s Club. The Jackson City Federation was organized in 1924.
Today, the Tennessee Federation of Colored Women and Youth Clubs has 68 active members with clubs located in Nashville, Jackson, Humboldt and Covington. The National Association formed in response to black women’s clubs being blocked from exhibiting at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.
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The Rev. Sabrina Transou, pastor of Greater Bethel AME Church, spoke about early members of the National Association during her keynote speech.
Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin and Mary Church Terrell, who worked with the association during the black women’s movement, said black women should have positive attitudes about their identity, Transou said.
Today, women must work to educate children, including black girls, Transou said.
“They must know that they are women, created in God’s own image,” Transou said. “Being created in God’s own image, they are created with purpose and the purpose which they are created in is to do great things for humankind.”
“When I sit in my classroom, my challenge as an educator is to give hope to our black children,” Transou said.
She told the women present to “roll up” their sleeves and do more for children in their workplaces, churches and communities.
“The question is, sisters, where will your name be in the legacy in the future?” Transou asked. “What will be your response to the cries of the children? What will be your response for justice in a marginalizing world? Will you be truth that speaks to power?”