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The National Council of Negro Women was founded by Mary McLeod Bethune in 1935 in order to "harness the power and extend the leadership of African American women through a national organization." It soon developed into an organization of organizations and is dedicated to advancing the quality of life for African American women and their families and communities. Among its early campaigns were calls for outlawing the discriminatory poll tax, the development of a public health program, anti-lynching legislation, and the end to discrimination in the U.S. Armed Forces, defense industries, and government housing. In addition, NCNW was an early proponent of teaching African American history in public schools.

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