Girl Scouting was once segregated African-American Girl Scouts chat at a camp named after Josephine Holloway, who pioneered scouting for girls of color. (Nashville Banner Archives/Nashville Public Library/Photo by Peter Barreras/Invision for Netflix, Girl Scouts of the USA/AP Images)
Girl Scouting was once segregated
Lexile

Has a Girl Scout knocked on your door within the last few weeks? Cookie season is in full swing. So it's not unusual to see scouts on the move in neighborhoods and set up in front of supermarkets selling their delicious wares. But for one group of girls, cookie sales and badges weren't always a possibility.
 
Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts. She was raised in Savannah, Georgia, and her father served in the Confederate Army. Irritated by her rigid Southern upbringing and the strict expectations of upper-class women in the United States, she started the Girl Scouts in 1912. She had learned about scouting from its British founder.
 
Like today's Girl Scouts, Low's initial organization declared itself a space for all girls. But the reality was different for girls of color.
 
"It is safe to say that in 1912, at a time of virulent racism, neither Daisy Low nor those who authorized the Constitution considered African-American girls to be part of the 'all,'" writes Stacy A. Cordery in her book. It is titled, "Juliette Gordon Low: The Remarkable Founder of the Girl Scouts." Low feared that an official position that included African-American girls as scouts would make Southern troops quit. She left the decision up to state and local councils.
 
According to the Girl Scouts' official blog, African-American girls were members of the third U.S. troop formed in New Bedford, Massachusetts. That was in 1913. The first all-African-American Girl Scout troops were established as early as 1917. However, the first African-American troop chartered south of the Mason-Dixon Line didn't occur until 1932. This is according to the National Park Service. That's when a bank president, newspaper editor named Maggie L. Walker, fought to form Girl Scout Bird Troop, Number 34.
 
Walker wasn't the only woman who fought for a space for African-American Girl Scouts in the South. A woman named Josephine Holloway led the effort to make Southern states include African-American scouts. She organized multiple troops without the organization's official approval. She also fought a long battle with the Girl Scouts to have them recognized. She fought for years. Finally, one of the region's first African-American Girl Scout troops was established in 1942. This is according to the Girl Scouts' official blog. Today, a camp bears her name. She also is recognized as a pioneer within the organization.
 
As D.L. Chandler writes for BlackAmericaWeb, Sarah Randolph Bailey also played an important role in the desegregation of the Girl Scouts. Like Holloway, she created an alternative group. It was called the Girl Reserves. They eventually were admitted into the national organization. Bailey also founded the first day camp specifically for black Girl Scouts in 1945. She eventually won the organization's highest honor. It is the Thanks Badge.
 
By the 1950s, a national effort to desegregate all Girl Scout troops began. As the African American Registry reports, by 1956, Girl Scouts had become part of the early Civil Rights movement. Martin Luther King Jr. called the scouts "a force for desegregation."

Filed Under:  
Assigned 338 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why did the Girl Scouts adopt cookie selling as a fundraiser?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (68)
  • wesleya-
    3/10/2017 - 08:41 a.m.

    Cause they knew people would easily like them.

  • kelliek-
    3/10/2017 - 08:42 a.m.

    The girl scouts use cookie selling as a fundraiser because everyone loves cookies. It brings people together and it raises a lot of money.

  • nathanm14-ste
    3/10/2017 - 10:31 a.m.

    This is not really that crazy considering the time. Before 1964 pretty much everything was segregated. I'm surprised that they were even allowed to be girl scouts in the first place in those times.

  • samanthas-1-ste
    3/10/2017 - 01:06 p.m.

    Cookies are a very easy way to gain money for fundraising. I always manage to buy some every year. My favorite are probably the thin mints.

  • jacklynt-ste
    3/10/2017 - 01:48 p.m.

    Segregated girl scout troops is not all that surprising. If you look back in history, almost everything at one time was segregated. However, their fundraising selling the cookies is one of my favorite times of the year.

  • megana-lin
    3/10/2017 - 02:26 p.m.

    The Girl Scouts adopted cookie selling as a fundraiser because they didn't like the segregation. They sold cookies in protest. Eventually they were victorious and gained the right to sell cookies freely. "A force for desegregation." Is what Martin Luther King Jr. called the Girl Scouts. I strongly agree with him. The Girl Scouts did good and desegregated cookie selling. It takes a lot of guts to do that.

  • JaylaB3
    3/11/2017 - 12:16 a.m.

    I'm not that surprised that in 1913 African-American girls couldn't be in Girl Scout because in that type of time there was a lot of segregation, and a lot of African-Americans couldn't do what white people could do. I'm just so surprised that Girl Scouts were segregated.

  • jasminew1-bur
    3/11/2017 - 02:11 p.m.

    Girl Scouts adopted cookie selling as a fundraiser because usually sweet delicious treats are what sell the best. For example, when its a cool day and its the time of girl scout cookies to sell and you want a good shortbread or thin mint cookie you're highly likely to buy some cookies. When my little cousin had to sell something her group wanted to do a new and exotic selling. So they tried to sell bracelets and hats but they only sold 5 which gave them a total of 15 dollars. And because of this fail thy decided to stick with cookies.

  • anasabulaila-ver
    3/13/2017 - 08:34 a.m.

    It's bad to distinguish between white people and black people.

  • Nikolaij
    3/13/2017 - 08:37 a.m.

    to get more money

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT