2018 Ida B. Wells
Annual Awards Tea
April 7, 2018

This year, we are thrilled to honor two of Massachusetts' most distinguished and successful African American attorneys - Karen V. Morton, Senior Vice President/Deputy General Counsel Corporate Litigation at Liberty Mutual Insurance  and Tanisha M. Sullivan, Head of Legal Industrial Affairs for Sanofi Genzyme & Sanofi North America and President of NAACP Boston with the 2018 Ida B. Wells Awards.  Our keynote speaker is Kimberly Atkins, Chief Washington Report /Columnist  for the Boston Herald & MSNBC Contributor . These women exemplify the intellect, skill and achievement that make black women attorneys the great contributors we are to the Massachusetts legal community.

The Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys (MBWA) is a professional bar association committed to the advancement of justice and equality for people of color with a particular emphasis on black women and/or women of African descent. The MBWA seeks to eradicate sexism and racism in the legal profession, advance equal employment opportunities and provide its members a network to build, develop, and support their careers.

The organization offers its members a forum to share knowledge and experiences as well as focus on issues of importance to the membership and the community. The MBWA promotes pro bono activities, community activism, and the successful balance of family and career obligations.

Our History

In 1981, a group of 14 African-American female attorneys, originally named the Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys Organizing Committee, gathered to form a professional bar association to address their unique struggles as women of color in the legal profession. The Committee compiled the first known comprehensive listing of African-American female practitioners in the Commonwealth. In May of 1981, the Committee sponsored a Spring Brunch to introduce the idea of forming an organization for women of color. This working meeting was attended by a diverse group of African-American female attorneys from around the Commonwealth. The idea received overwhelming enthusiasm and support, and discussion ensued concerning the organization’s mission.

Thereafter the Committee formed the Ida B. Wells Barnett Law Society which later became the Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys. The organization dedicated to the memory of Ida B. Wells Barnett.

Our Mission

Since 1981, the MBWA has sought to preserve and advance justice for all people.

Its mission is to assist in ensuring the fair and even-handed striation of justice, particularly as applied to women of color. The MBWA is similarly concerned with social policy and civil rights issues in the greater minority community.

The organization also seeks to promote legal education by sponsoring educational seminars, lecture series and panel discussions on subjects that affect its members.

The Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys serves as a useful resource by aiding African-American women attorneys to become more effective advocates and a direct link to our communities.

Deborah L. Johnson

Tinia L. Snow

Shahria H. Boston

Patrice C. Dixon

Francesse Canty
Board Member

Keidi S. Carrington
Board Member


Janette A. Ekanem
Board Member

Martsyl Joseph
Board Member

Jasmine Jean-Louis
Board Member

Desiree Murphy
Board Member

Tiffanie Ellis-Niles
Board Member

Chayla White
Board Member