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Our story begins in 1863, when in the midst of major social and economic upheaval created by the Civil War, a small group of women gathered to create a new model of education for Black women and children. Through long years of commitment and sacrifice, thousands of children benefitted from their efforts. 2003 marked the end of 140 years of service of their organization, the National Association for the Relief of Destitute Women and Children. Their legacy was passed on to the Emergence Community Arts Collective through the late Dr. Joseph McKinney, who donated the building at 733 Euclid St. NW to the ECAC.


Since 2006, the Emergence Community Arts Collective has been a hub of social activity and civic engagement in our neighborhood of Pleasant Plains. In this new era of change, communities are taking charge of their destiny, seeking new ways to become more self-sufficient and   independent. ECAC has been a catalyst for this movement, working at the grass-roots level to empower the human spirit. Our 21st century model of community development incorporates:

  • Intergenerational and intercultural social engagement

  • Volunteerism and resource sharing

  • Environmental sustainability

  • Historical and cultural education

  • Civic engagement