Nannie Helen Burroughs

Nannie Helen Burroughs was born in 1879 in Orange, Virginia. When she was five, her mother brought her to Washington, DC so that she might pursue an education. In 1900, she began working for the National Baptist Convention, the largest organization of African American clergy.  Burroughs was instrumental in the formation of the National Baptist Women’s Convention, and served as its Corresponding Secretary and President for over sixty years.

In 1909, she opened the National Training School for Women and Girls in Washington, DC. The motto of the school was “We Specialize in the Wholly Impossible.” The school focused on vocational training, including nursing, clerical work, dressmaking, and agriculture. The school also offered a Christian liberal arts education. Her goal was to train African American women to be self-sufficient wage earners.

Nannie Helen Burroughs died in Washington in 1961. Her school, renamed the Nannie Helen Burroughs School in 1964, continue to operate today.

Nannie Helen Burroughs
Nannie Helen Burroughs, Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-79903

Pictures of the National Training School for Women and Girls


Student basketball players from the National Training School, Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-113555

 


A cooking class at the National Training School, Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-92835

 


A clerical training class at the National Training School, Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-92859

 


Students at the National Training School, Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-92858