Subject: NCC Newsletter – March 1, 2024

NCC Newsletter

March 1, 2024

Women's History Month: Maude Akin Wilson and the United Methodist Building

Hidden Figures: Honoring Louise E. Jefferson During Women's History Month

Louise E. Jefferson (1908-2002) was a Black cartographer, artist, photographer, illustrator, calligrapher, and leader. Photo: University of Colorado-Boulder

This Women's History Month, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) uncovers hidden figures in history, starting with the noteworthy legacy of illustrator, graphic designer, photographer, cartographer, and leader Louise E. Jefferson.

Jefferson was born in Washington, DC in 1908 and reared in a creative household. Her mother, Louise senior, was a performing artist; her father, Paul, was an engraver for the United States Treasury. Jefferson was encouraged to explore her creativity and cultivate her gifts. She later took art lessons at Howard University before continuing her education in fine arts at Hunter College and Columbia University in New York.

As a young adult, Louise E. Jefferson was active during the Harlem Renaissance, making notable contributions to the community and using her artistic capabilities to support social change. She was a founding member of the historic Harlem Artists Guild in 1935 and later helped develop the Harlem Community Center. In 1936, she illustrated the songbook, We Sing America, published by NCC's publishing entity, Friendship Press. The project faced stark opposition to its appeal for racial equality and its depiction of Black and White children playing together and was allegedly banned by and burned by Georgia Governor Eugene Talmadge. 

We Sing America, written by Marion Cuthbert and illustrated by Louise. E. Jefferson, was published in 1936 by Friendship Press.

She continued to take a series of freelance jobs that led to an opportunity to work as a freelancer with Friendship Press. Her excellence and diligence led to her being hired full-time as the Artistic Director in 1942, enabling her to oversee matters related to church missions, race relations, culture, and more. Jefferson is believed to have made history in the publishing industry as the first African-American woman to serve in that capacity. Her career with Friendship Press continued until her retirement in 1960.

Throughout her career, Jefferson's vibrant designs and illustrations decorated the work of significant organizations such as the National Urban League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA). Today, she is described as a 'counter-mapper,' evident in her efforts to make women and people of color visible in history through the many maps she illustrated.

NCC staff members viewed Louise E. Jefferson's 1944 pictorial map, Indians of the U.S.A. A Symbol Showing Historic Locations of Tribes Now Living, in Whole or in Part, in Other Areas, during a recent visit to NCC's archival collections at the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia, PA.
Indians of the U.S.A. A Symbol Showing Historic Locations of Tribes Now Living, In Whole or In Part, In Other Areas, a 1944 pictorial map illustrated by Louise E. Jefferson.

NCC pays tribute to the trailblazing, multi-talented, Louise E. Jefferson. We celebrate her contribution to the rich history of NCC and imprint on culture through her courage, leadership, and creativity.


Learn more about Louise E. Jefferson here.

End Femicide: Invest in Women’s Lives

An International Women’s Day Webinar

Friday, March 8, 13:00-14:30


A webinar on 8 March—International Women’s Day—will address the societal norms and structures that perpetuate femicide—and steps for churches to seek healing and justice.

An average of 133 women and girls are killed every day by an intimate partner or family member, according to UN Women. Like all forms of sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls, femicide is a tragedy that affects every country and territory across the globe.


Speakers in this webinar will address the societal norms and structures that perpetuate femicide as well as steps for church and society to seek healing and justice. This includes ways to invest in women’s safety and empowerment to disrupt the cycle of violence, save lives, and contribute to gender equality and sustainable development.

Remember to Breathe Deep
this Lenten Season

Upcoming Book Release from Jim Wallis

Join the Episcopal Church in Advocating
Against Illegal Deforestation

Deforestation around the world is a key driver of climate change, biodiversity loss, and economic and cultural harm to communities. The Episcopal Church supports biodiversity and trade policies that prevent environmental degradation.

The U.S. is a crucial market for many products associated with illegal deforestation. The bipartisan Fostering Overseas Rule of Law and Environmentally Sound Trade, or FOREST, Act of 2023 is an important step in ensuring U.S. companies and citizens are not indirectly supporting illegal deforestation and its related activities. Tell your members of Congress to co-sponsor the FOREST Act!

Support Bread for Water's Call for
Full Funding of WIC

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children — better known as WIC — is the premier U.S. public health nutrition program for pregnant women, mothers, and children up to age 5.

Unfortunately, WIC is facing a severe budget shortfall that would result in countless mothers and babies being turned away from the program and placed on waiting lists. Please urge your members of Congress to fully fund WIC.

Read more on Bread for Water's website here.

Save the Date!

Saturday, March 2, Annapolis, Maryland

March at 11 a.m., Assembly at 12 p.m.

Sign up to be part of a powerful presence with the Maryland Poor People's Campaign as Mass Poor People's & Low-Wage Workers' State House Assemblies are held in 38 state capitals in a Day of Nationally-Coordinated, Simultaneous direct action all across the country!

Join thousands of people across the nation to bring the demands of 140 million poor and low-wealth people directly to lawmakers! Everybody in, nobody out!

We call on all who believe in and demand: living wages, healthcare, voting rights & stopping voter suppression, equal rights for all, worker/labor rights, environmental justice, access to housing, fully-funded public education, abolishing poverty…

… and all who believe IN THE UNITY OF LOVE, not the division of hate!

Join Freedom Church of the Poor for the
Struggle & Lament Lenten Series

Join Freedom Church of the Poor online for the 2024 Lenten Worship Series. They gather online every Sunday at 6pm ET / 3pm PT via Zoom and social media platforms.

Also, every Wednesday at 6pm ET / 3pm PT Black Christians For Palestine will be facilitating Bible Study.

Tune into the livestream or join in the Zoom room by RSVPing at

Register for "Breaking the Link" Webinar
on Human Trafficking and Forced Migration

Please join the Alliance to End Human Trafficking and the National Advocacy of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd on March 4, from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET for the second of three webinars focused on advocacy to break the link between human trafficking and forced migration.

Click here to register today!

FACE and Carson, CA Mayor Host 
27th Annual Homeownership Fair

Friendship Press Announces New Releases from The People's Bible, Plus Promo Video

Employment Opportunities

Interfaith Alliance Position Openings

Interfaith Alliance is seeking to expand their team with passionate and talented candidates! Click on the links below for more information:

• • • • • •

Faith in Public Life Position Openings

Faith in Public Life is hiring for a few positions and is looking for candidates who would be a good fit. Click on the links below for more information:


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