Who We Are
Forty years ago, a group of African-American attorneys, calling themselves 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 the Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys. This working meeting was attended by a diverse group of African-American female attorneys, from all areas of practice, in the Commonwealth. The idea engendered overwhelming enthusiasm and support, and discussion ensued concerning the organization’s structure, goals and activities.
Shortly after the Spring Brunch, the Committee formed the Ida B. Wells Barnett Law Society. The Society elected Bernice McIntyre as its first President. The Society later voted to change its name to the Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys, an organization dedicated to the memory of Ida B. Wells Barnett.
Since 1981, the Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys has sought to preserve and advance justice for all people. Its mission is to assist in ensuring the fair and even-handed administration of justice particularly as applied to women of color. The Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys 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.