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The NARDCWC began with an Act of Incorporation on Feb 14, 1863 for the purpose of “supporting such aged or indigent colored women and children as may properly come under the charge of such Association; to provide for them a suitable home, board, clothing, and instruction, and to bring them under Christian influence….” [1]It was one of many associations formed to deal with the migration of Blacks that arrived in Washington, DC after the Civil War, the most notable of which was the Freedman’s Bureau.The initial incorporators were Sayles Bowen, who became Mayor of Washington, Daniel Breed and George E Baker.

The plight of the elderly women and children flocking the government gained the sentiment of many important women whose influence persuaded the ruling powers to begin the rescue work. The efforts officially began under the direction of General O.O. Howard, head of the Freedman’s Bureau, along with a young Lieutenant John Eaton who was the US Commissioner of Education.

There were great contributions by Senator Pomeroy, his wife, Mrs. S.C. Pomeroy and Mrs. Potter to the organization’s beginnings; they were noted as instrumental in the creation of the Home.The Association mourned the death of Mrs. Pomeroy and Mrs. Potter in the early years of its existence. Also instrumental in the founding of the Home was Elizabeth Keckley, seamstress to Mary Todd Lincoln and close personal friend of the Lincolns.The Home became her final resting place in 1907.

[1] “First Annual Report of the National Association for the Relief of Destitute Women and Children”, Washington, DC, 1864

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