The iconic Girls Scouts organization was found this day in 1912 in Savannah, Georgia. Beyond their delicious cookies and unmistakable green uniforms, the organization celebrates 109 years of existence. Its legacy and impact over the years helped mold young women across the globe through service and empowerment programming.
Beginning in 1913, just one year after the organization was founded, Black girls and women have been a part of this legacy and impact, too, many becoming early pioneers within the organization.
Here is a look at some of the history of the organization, including the impact Black girl scouts and leadership figures made, according to the Girl Scouts Blog.
Black Girls Join
In 1913, Black girls joined the third-ever Girl Scout Troop in Bedford, Massachusetts. The first all-Black troops were established a few years later in 1917.
In 1951, nearly 100 Black Girl Scouts from 14 regions came together at the International Girl Scout Encampment in Home Valley, Washington. The group reportedly brainstormed ways to implement diversity while working together.
In 2019, Girl Scout Taryn-Marie won the organization’s highest honor, the National Gold Award, for her work in helping kids in foster care have the materials necessary to attend college.
The organization has also spotlighted other Black Girl Scouts who've made an impact on their communities, including Philadelphia's Youth Poet Laureate, Cydney.
Black Women Lead The Scouts
Thirty years before public schools were desegregated, in 1924, Josephine Holloway became the first Black Girl Scout troop leader.
Dr. Gloria Dean Randle Scott made history in 1975, by becoming the first Black national president of the Girl Scouts of the USA. Dr. Randle Scott was also the first Black woman to be an instructor at a predominantly white institution of higher learning, Marion College. Under her leadership, the Girl Scout Trefoil underwent a redesign to reflect the diversity of the organization.
In 2017, Giselle Burgess founded a Girl Scout troop for her daughter and girls living in transitional housing in New York City. Through her work, Burgess provides access to girls and families to participate in programs. Troop 6000 raised money to start troops across the city at other shelters, bringing the program to more than 600 girls.
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