The Coloured women's club
CWC © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
These women have done voluntary work in the Montreal area hospitals, counselled unwed mothers, and have helped the homeless and the unemployed. The CWC has even purchased burial plots at a cemetery so that the needy could be buried with dignity.
A beacon in the Black community. Their benevolent and charitable work was recognized in 1997 by the Ministère des Relations avec les Citoyens et de l'Immigration du Québec.
The Quebec Citizenship Prize, called the Anne Greenup Award for the Fight against Racism and the Promotion of Civic Participation is awarded annually by the Government of Quebec in honour of the Club's founding president. It goes to individuals and organizations instrumental in building support networks establishing strong ties of solidarity between generations and reinforcing citizens' belief in belonging to the national community.
A MCW Federate and proud member, the CWC joined the Montreal Council of Women in 1955 and has enjoyed the association from that time on, each supporting the others endeavours.
The Club has been featured in numerous newspaper and magazine articles, television stories and documentaries, and a high school textbook, “Black History: Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas.”
Although the club started out with American women, it now boasts women from various backgrounds from all parts of the Caribbean, Canada and the U.S. Today, we are a group of twelve active members. It is the only such club in Canada.
For the past almost twenty years, the CWC has conducted annual African-Canadian Heritage Tours throughout southern Ontario, Nova Scotia, and the United States. At that time they visited the states of Atlanta Georgia, Birmingham, Selma and Montgomery Alabama, and Charleston South Carolina following the path and visiting sites along the route of the Underground Railroad. These trips have proven to be highly insightful and informative, helping to broaden everyone's knowledge of the Black Diaspora in North America. The Club has extended its trips overseas to the Caribbean and going as far as South Africa, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Morocco, Gambia, Australia, New Zealand and Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.
Social conditions and programs no longer give rise to the same kinds of needs that brought CWC women together so many decades ago, and in keeping with the theme of helping the community, and giving back we have refocused our emphasis on education, awarding scholarships to young Black students.
Supporting The Coloured Women's Club is supporting our youth. All proceeds from our events go towards the CWC Scholarship Fund.
Members of the CWC continue to meet once a month at each other’s homes.
Anne Greenup- Founding President
The Coloured Women's Club of Montreal was founded in 1902 by seven American women whose husbands worked for the railroad as porters, some of whom were doctors and educators but could not find work in their respective professional fields in the United States.
Alienated in their new environment and because other groups were not open to Black women, these ladies decided to form a social club of their own and set themselves the goal of assisting and supporting the Black Community in the Montreal area. It was in response to specific needs of their community (St. Antoine district, today called ‘Little Burgundy’) that The Coloured Women’s Club was created.
They were emulating the actions of their sisters south of the border, the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs (NACWC) founded in Washington, DC on July 21, 1896, by Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells and Mary Church Terrell, among others.
In 1907 the Coloured Women's Club played a significant role in the inception of Union United (Montreal's oldest Black Church).
Over the many decades, these dedicated women have welcomed and helped many Black families in difficulty with such deeds as providing winter clothing for newly arrived families from the Caribbean. With their insight they have responded to the spiritual, material and emotional needs of the community as a whole. With the guidance of their very first President, Mrs. Anne Greenup, they organized temporary shelters for the soldiers coming back from the Boer War. During that time they took care of the injured, made bandages and organized soup kitchens. It was also at that time of the epidemics in 1902 and 1904 that the Coloured Women’s Club emerged from being a social club to a self-help organization.