Special Collections and Archives




The National Black Sisters' Conference (NBSC) was established in 1968 to educate, support, and communicate to African American women religious. Sister Martin de Porres Grey, R.S.M., organized the first meeting and was elected president.

While confronting racism in society and the Catholic Church, its mission has been to foster:

  • Education and support of African American sisters toward effective ministry
  • Education toward community control of African American communities
  • Training in community organization and development
  • Development of religious education from an African American perspective
  • Development of African American spirituality
  • Identification of African American sisters throughout the United States

The NBSC holds an annual meeting and participates in an annual joint conference of African American sisters, priests, brothers, seminarians, and deacons. The conference also maintains a clearinghouse for African American women who wish to minister within the African American community, and a resource center for statistical research of African American sisters throughout the United States.


The collection includes correspondence, minutes, publications, reports, and other materials documenting the programs and services provided by the National Black Sisters' Conference. Included are records from its Development of Educational Services In the Growing Nation (DESIGN) program.

Series 1, Governance Files, 1968-2000, contains the NBSC's articles of incorporation, constitution, and bylaws and correspondence, minutes, and reports of its board of directors and other governing bodies, arranged alphabetically by subject or type of record.

Series 2, Presidential Records, 1968-2001, consists of correspondence, writings, and other records, arranged chronologically by president.

Series 3, Executive Directors Records, 1970-1979, 1990, contains correspondence, writings, and other records, arranged chronologically by executive director.

Series 4, Committees, 1984-2000, contains correspondence, minutes, and reports of the NBSC's committee, arranged alphabetically by title.

Series 5, Annual Conference Records, 1968-2001. Contains NBSC and joint conference materials, arranged alphabetically by type of record.

Series 6, Administrative and General Subject Files, 1968-2003, includes documentation of the NBSC's relationship with the National Office for Black Catholics, along with membership lists, minutes of regional meetings, photographs, press clippings, publications, and other files on conference activities. Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Series 7, Formation Programs, 1970-2000. Formation programs were established to promote the spiritual, intellectual, social, and professional development of women religious by conducting workshops and other educational events. Contains correspondence, information and flyers, and questionnaires, Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Series 8, Development of Educational Services In a Growing Nation (DESIGN), 1966-1989. DESIGN was an educational consulting service established by the NBSC for inner-city parochial schools. DESIGN trained teachers, parents and others in the community to supervise curriculum and raise financial support for themselves. The program focused on reading and language, math and science, social studies, and values. The DESIGN Training Laboratory was a program that granted black teachers B.A., B.S., and M.A. educational degrees. Contains correspondence, minutes of meetings, reports, and other records, arranged alphabetically by subject. 


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