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The National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance the opportunities and the quality of life for African-American women, their families, and communities. The NCNW was founded in 1935 by Mary McLeod Bethune, who saw the need for harnessing the power and extending the leadership of African-American women through a national organization. Born in Mayesville, South Carolina, to parents who had been slaves, Bethune started working in fields at age five. She took an early interest in education and attended college hoping to become a missionary in Africa. She started a school for African-American girls in Daytona Beach, Florida. It later merged with a private institute for African-American boys and was known as the Bethune-Cookman School.