The Girl Scouts of America began as an all-white organization in Savannah, Ga., in 1912. Five years later, in 1917, the troop introduced its first African American girl scouts, possibly in the New York area. This positive change led to the integration of more scout troops in 1950, 14 years before the Civil Rights Movement. It forged the creation of a Native American troop in 1921, followed by a Mexican American girl troop. In the late 1930’s, the first southern region African American Dixie troop was formed. In the archives of the Girls Scouts of America, there is a photo of both black and white girl scouts at Camp Indian Run in Philadelphia, 1941.
With an eye for diversity, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. described the Girl Scouts as “a force for desegregation” in 1956.
In1969, Dr. Dorothy B. Ferebee served as the first black vice president of Girl Scouts USA. Then Dr. Gloria Scott was chosen as their first black president in 1975. Dr. Scott was a Texas native and educator with a degree in zoology from Indiana University. The member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated later served as the president of Bennett College for women in 1987.
African American Girl Scout troops gained national recognition and nurtured black girls’ interest in aviation, global travel, new technology and leadership.