Ohio Black Women’s Leadership Caucus, Inc. (OBWLC) organized in
1972 by a group of black women who were members of the Ohio Chapter of
the National Black Political Assembly. The two founding sisters,
Mildred R. Madison who currently resides in Detroit, Michigan and
Doris Rankin-Sells who is now deceased, along with several other Ohio
black women felt that their strength and issues relating to black
women needed a forum lead by black women.
These women had attended the National Black Women’s Political
Conference in Detroit, Michigan early in 1972. Later that year, over
100 black women across the state of Ohio met and decided that a Black
Women’s organization built around the concept of leadership
development and education must be formulated. This organization was
named the Ohio Black Women’s Leadership Caucus.
In June 1974, OBWLC elected the first acting officers and Doris
Rankin was elected President. She held office for six years. On
December 30, the Articles of Incorporation were filed with the
Secretary of State. There were seven chapters: Akron, Canton,
Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Springfield, and Youngstown.
In March 1975, OBWLC Policy and Procedures Task Force Committee met
and drafted four goal statements, State Organization Chart, and flow
of power and communication flow.
Because the organization was formed in June, OBWLC established
annual conferences during that month. Also established were three
awards to be presented each year at the annual conference:
- Phyllis Wheatly
The first conference was held in 1974 in Cincinnati
In 1975 - Cleveland - Pat Roberts Harris, Speaker
In 1976 - Columbus - This conference established our motto:
“Black Women Are Alive And Thriving”.
In 1977 - Doris was chairperson in Indiana for the Carter
Administration. With that influence, we held our State Conference in
Washington, D.C. and stayed at L’Enfant Plaza. Speakers: Barbara
Sizemore, former Supt. of Washington Public Schools, Nikki Giovanni,
facilitator for Roots workshops, C. Delores Tucker, Secretary,
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, highest ranking black woman in America
State Government. Conference Speaker: Rep. Hannah Atkins.
In 1978 - Akron hosted its first conference. Carolyn Morris, Asst.
Professor of Black Studies at Ohio State University, was the speaker.
In 1980 - Youngstown - Rosa Parks was the speaker and the topic was
“Black Women Facing the Political Challenges of the 80’s.
There are currently five chapters in OBWLC. They are: Akron,
Canton, Mansfield, Youngstown, and Portage County