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The National Association of Black Military Women (NABMW) is an association of women located throughout the country who are veterans or current members of the United States Armed Forces.  It was founded under the former name of "The Black WAAC, WAC, Women in Service."

The Beginning 

In July 1976 a group of 21 of women who served in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) and Women's Army Corps (WAC) during World War II, Korean and Vietnam Wars got together at Lucille Brown's house in Hampton, Virginia. At this chartered meeting, the group decided to locate and invite other former service women to a first reunion that was held in 1978 in Dallas, Texas.

Ever since, Biennial Reunions continued and have been held in Los Angeles, California (1980), Detroit, Michigan (1982), Atlanta, Georgia (1984), Washington, D.C. (1986), New York City, New York (1988), Fort McClellan, Alabama (1990), Orlando, Florida (1992), and San Antonio, Texas (1994).


It was at this meeting that the members of the Black WAAC/WAC/Women in Service group discuss the issues of members getting older and many dying.  We were losing our history and the sad thing was the younger generation of soldiers, families and friends didn't even know that Black Military Women existed or served during American Revolution, World War One, World War Two and Korean Wars.   There was no media, documentaries, displays.  Nothing in the history books.  Black Military Women were not shown in war movies.  Even today, there was nothing in place to capture Black Military Women's history. The ladies at this reunion realizes as our ladies get older, memories are lost  and  NO ONE WAS CAPTURING OUR BLACK MILITARY WOMEN'S HISTORY.  The members at this reunion realized that it was not the responsibility of anyone else except the Black Military Women to capture, record and tell their own story.  They also realizes that we needed to official organize to accomplish this mission.   

The Black WAAC/WAC/Women in Service was mainly made up of Army Veterans mainly due to buddy system of inviting fellow comrades to the reunion.  So Army veterans invited mainly who they knew which was other Army soldiers.  There was one or two women from the other services.  It was decided that the new official organization would be open to all Armed Services of the United States.  During that meeting, it was decided that COLONEL DOLORES HAMPTON, LTC MARIAM BARBARY, MAJ LAURIE BRASHER AND MAJ KATHALEEN HARRIS would assist in getting the organization started. 


Our next reunion was held in San Francisco, California (1996), where the proposed NABMW BY-Laws were reviewed and voted in (approved) by the members present. It was during the Atlanta, Georgia (1998) reunion that the Organization Structure Committee, (headed by WWII Veteran Gladys S. Carter) presented the proposed new structure of the NABMW to the attendees of the Business meeting.  The organization continues to evolve and reunions continue to be held in different cities throughout the United States such as Chicago, Illinois (2000), Norfolk, Virginia (2002), Ft. Des Moines, Iowa (2004), Kansas City, Missouri (2006), Las Vegas (2008), Savannah, Georgia (2010).  Charleston, South Carolina (2012)  and the next Reunion will be in Phoenix, Arizona at the downtown Hyatt Hotel  during the 24-28 September 2014. 



The Original 21
  1. Lucille Brown, Hampton, VA

  2. Jetta M. Flagg, Jamaica, NY

  3. Mildred C. Kelly

  4. Catherine L. Bowey, Dallas, TX

  5. Emma Detresse, St. Albans, NY

  6. Frances Sherman Burnes, Jamaica, NY

  7. Mamie B. Riley, Ocean Springs, MO

  8. Novella Auls, Shadyside, MD

  9. Thelma Cole-Reid, Centerreach Long Island, NY

  10. Bernice Greene, Silver Springs, MD

  11. Doris Richardson, Westbury Long Island, NY

  12. Dorothy Bartlett, Detroit, MI

  13. Ruth R. Mercer, Norfolk, VA

  14. Rose E. Thomson, Hampton, VA

  15. Gladys C. Toliver, Camden, NJ

  16. Agnes H. Washington, Lindenwood, NJ

  17. Veronica Jackson, Hampton, VA

  18. Priscilla Riddick, Norfolk, VA

  19. Doris E. Pennington, Hampton, VA

  20. Jammie L. Colston, Richmond, VA

  21. Grendel A. Howard, Fort Monroe, VA


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