Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Honoring Josephine Holloway during Black History Month

Meet Josephine Holloway, a champion of diversity within the Girl Scout Movement and one of the first African American Girl Scout troop leaders.

Josephine developed her passion for serving girls early on when she held a position at Nashville’s Bethlehem Center, a shelter for at-risk women and children. No stranger to the work Girl Scouts did in the community, Josephine dreamed of bringing that kind of programming to girls at the center, and in 1924, she had the opportunity to do just that. By the end of the year, more than 300 girls there were engaged in Girl Scout-inspired activities.

Nearly 10 years later, in 1933, Josephine made her first attempt to form an official troop for African American girls, but the Nashville Girl Scout Council denied her request. Of course, giving up is hardly the Girl Scout way, so Josephine pressed on, and in 1942, after much perseverance, the region’s first African American Girl Scout troop was established.

With decades of experience serving girls under her belt (she even attended a training conducted by Juliette Gordon Low herself!), Josephine had become a well-respected member of the community and an expert on girls’ issues. She was eventually hired by Girl Scouts as a field advisor for black troops, and she remained in that position until her retirement in 1963. She reportedly supervised over 2,000 African American girls and adults.

Today, girls of all races, religions, and backgrounds gather at Camp Holloway, a historic camp established in her honor, to discover fun and friendship, and the power of girls working, learning, and exploring their world together.

We thank you, Josephine Holloway, for your vision, courage, and passion for bringing Girl Scouting to all girls.