Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Honoring Josephine Holloway during Black History Month

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

Josephine dreamed of bringing the Girl Scout programming to girls at a local women’s shelter in Nashville Tennessee, and in 1924, she fought for 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 when blacks and other minorities in our country still faced staunch racism, Josephine made her first attempt to form an official troop for African American girls, but her request was initially denied. The local council declined, citing the high cost of maintaining separate facilities for blacks.  Nevertheless, Josephine pressed on, and in 1942, after much perseverance, the region’s first African American Girl Scout troop was established. At this time, segregation and oppression was commonplace.

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.