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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 876: T-520

National Institute for Women of Color, 1977-1991


Collection includes correspondence, minutes, reports, grant applications, photographs, conference materials, etc documenting the administration of the National Institute for Women of Color.


  • Creation: 1977-1991

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the records of National Institute for Women of Color is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library without restriction.

Copying. Records may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


6.5 linear feet ((15 + 1/2 file boxes) plus 19 photograph folders, 8 audiotapes.)

The collection consists of material documenting the tenure of National Institute of Women of Color (NIWC) through administrative files, conference material, subject files, photographs, and audiovisual material. The papers were in order when received and have been arranged further by the archivist. Original folder titles were retained.

Series I, ADMINISTRATIVE, 1977-1991 (#1.1-5.14), consists of material related to the operation of NIWC including agendas, correspondence, fund-raising, minutes, and publicity. Of interest are the records used to establish new regional chapters, the scope of work for the organization, and the statement of principles detailing NIWC's mission. NIWC's five-year plan that discusses actions and projects proposed for 1989 through 1994 is also included (#2.11). The series is arranged in alphabetical order.

Series II, CONFERENCE MATERIAL, 1979-1989 (#5.15-8.9), consists of files related to the conferences organized by NIWC, and other conferences relating to women, including the National Minority Women's Leadership Conference in 1979, which was a precursor to NIWC; and the United Nations Women's Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1985. The bulk of the series contains correspondence, planning documents, evaluations, lists of conference speakers, participants, and programs for national conferences of NIWC in 1982-1984, and 1987. The series is arranged in chronological order.

Series III, SUBJECT FILES, 1981-1990 (#8.10-16.8), consists of material related to raising awareness of issues affecting women of color including reproductive rights, racism, and pay equity. Of particular interest is the correspondence, drafts and research conducted for the Brown Papers which were writings by NIWC discussing issues of concern to women of color. This series also documents NIWC's collaborative efforts with organizations such as Women for a Meaningful Summit, a coalition of national and international women's organizations committed to focusing attention to issues of global peace, justice, and conflict resolution. By-laws, correspondence, minutes, and notes of the Women for a Meaningful Summit are also included. The series is arranged in alphabetical order.

Series IV, PHOTOGRAPHS, 1979-1989 (#PD.1-PD.19), consists of images from NIWC conferences, workshops, and awards programs including the "Outstanding Women of Color" award given at NIWC conferences. Of particular note are images featuring Gloria Steinem at the NIWC conference in 1982 (PD.5). Also included are photographs from the NOW Minority Women's Conference in 1979; images of Sharon Parker speaking at the National Association of Professional African American Women conference in 1988; and images of NIWC Board of Directors, and Arlie Scott, the Executive Vice President of NOW. The series is arranged in chronological order.

Series V, AUDIOVISUAL, 1979-1988 (T-520.1-T-520.8), contains audiocassettes from the NOW Minority Women's Leadership Conference in 1979. Titles listed are those written on the original tapes. The series is arranged chronologically.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.


The National Institute for Women of Color (NIWC), founded in 1981 in the District of Columbia, was an independent non-profit organization created to promote the strengths of diversity and to promote educational and economic equity for women of color. Funded mainly through grants, NIWC was managed by its Board of Directors, with the help of state coordinators, a national Advisory Committee, and volunteers. NIWC was an advocacy group which acted as a networking center for women of color and focused on mutual concerns of education, housing, healthcare, and pay equity. NIWC's main objectives were to develop leadership skills in women, to recognize women of color leaders, to educate society about the status and basis needs of women of color, to provide a support network, and to advocate for changes in public policy. NIWC sponsored numerous conferences including the National Conferences for Women of Color in 1982, 1983, 1984, and 1987; and published a newsletter, fact sheets, and NIWC Brown Papers, which researched writings on issues of concern to women of color. NIWC stopped functioning in 1995 and legally disbanded in the early 2000s.


The collection is arranged in five series:

  1. Series I. Administrative, 1977-1991 (#1.1-5.14)
  2. Series II. Conference material, 1979-1989 (#5.15-8.9)
  3. Series III. Subject files, 1981-1990 (#8.10-16.8)
  4. Series IV. Photographs, 1979-1989 (#PD.1-PD.19)
  5. Series V. Audiovisual, 1979-1988 (T-520.1-T-520.8)

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2015-M143

The records were given to the Schlesinger Library by Sharon Parker, founder of National Institute for Women of Color, in September 2015.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library about the National Conference for Women of Color in particular; see National Organization of Women, Inc., 1965-1987 (MC 496), and Wider Opportunities for Women, Inc., 1959-2002 (90-M59--90-M71).


Donors: Sharon Parker

Accession number: 2015-M143

Processed by: Amber L. Moore

The following items have been removed from the collection:

  1. Gender Bias in Testing. Current Debates Future Priorities
  2. Korean Women on the Move
  3. Legislative Alert
  4. Link in The Newsletter of the Woman and Development Programme Commonwealth Secretariat
  5. Men and Women: At Home and in the Workplace. Current Debates Future Directions
  6. Money Matters
  7. Network News
  8. NGO News
  9. OHOYO
  10. Political Woman
  11. Resources For Educational Equity
  12. Somos Hermanas
  13. Speak Out
  14. The Effects of Racism and Militarization on Women's Equality
  15. Una Experiencia hacia la Liberacion de la Mujer
  16. Wassaja
  17. Where Are Women and Blacks? Patterns of Employment in Alabama Government
  18. Women Strike For Peace
  19. World Paper. The Voices of the World

Processing Information

Processed: November 2016

By: Amber L. Moore, with assistance from Margaret Dalton.

National Institute for Women of Color (U.S.). Records of National Institute for Women of Color, 1977-1991: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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