Brenda Eichelberger / National Alliance of Black Feminists Papers

Institution: Chicago Public Library - Carter G. Woodson Regional Library
9525 S. Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60628
Phone: (312) 747-6900
Date: 1974-1997
Extent: 8 Linear Feet
Finding Aid

Biographical/Historical Note:
Open to “any black woman interested in advancing the cause of Black feminism”, the National Alliance of Black Feminists (NABF) was a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to achieving full equality for Black women in America. Formed in the summer of 1975, the organization which became NABF started in 1974 as the Chicago Chapter of the New York based National Black Feminists Organization (NBFO). When NBFO dissolved in 1975, Brenda Eichelberger, then president of the Chicago chapter, decided to respond to an increase in local, national and international Black feminist struggle by organizing the National Alliance of Black Feminists, serving as its first executive director. The organization opened its national offices at 202 South State Street, Chicago, Illinois in May, 1976.

Some of the goals of NABF included promoting a more positive and accurate portrayal of Black women in the media; preserving the cultural heritage of Black women, while helping to politicize them; and combating the dual oppression of racism and sexism. The organization addressed these goals through serving as a networking center for Black women through the coordination of the Black Women’s Center; forming a Black Women’s Speaker’s Bureau; developing task forces to address women’s issues, with specific attention to the passing of the Equal Rights Amendment; and sponsoring consciousness-raising workshops. Other noteworthy activities of NABF included the compilation of “A Bill of Rights for Black Women” and the formation of the only Women’s Credit Union in the state of Illinois.

In addition to Brenda Eichelberger, NABF’s charter membership consisted of Rev. Willie Barrow, National Vice-President, Operation PUSH; Carol Moseley Braun, Illinois State Representative; Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, Attorney and California Congresswoman; Ethel Payne, Chicago Defender Associate Editor; Merlene Vaughn, Chairwoman, Colorado Caucus of Black Women; and Nezzie Willis, Director of Programs, Chicago Welfare Rights Organization. NABF rapidly expanded with the formation of chapters in Colorado, Richmond, VA, New York, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, GA.

Scope and Content Note:
The Brenda Eichelberger/NABF Papers consist of manuscripts, brochures, promotional literature, correspondence, financial statements, newspaper clippings, journal articles and serials which document both the social and organizational activities of Brenda Eichelberger and the National Alliance of Black Feminists. The archives span the years 1974-1997, with the bulk of material concentrated during the years 1976-1981. Some of the features of the archive include original materials from NABF-sponsored assertiveness and consciousness-raising workshops, an extensive clipping file from feminist newspapers and magazines; and a collection of feminist serials, including Off Our Backs and Women Organizing: A Socialist Feminist Bulletin.

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