Goldsboro Woman's Club
Gertrude Weil, 1879 - 1971
In 1898, the Goldsboro Ladies' Benevolent Society—founded by Weil's Aunt Sarah—invited the outspoken feminist Charlotte Perkins Gilman to give a series of lectures. When the women of the town flocked to hear Gilman speak on the economic oppression of women, Goldsboro's men became nervous. As Mina Weil told a reporter, "a small group of men, gathered outside as the women came out of the building, predicted dire things now that women had organized and said: 'They'll be wanting the vote next and that will be too dreadful.'"
Goldsboro's women did not immediately become suffragists, but in 1899, under Mina Weil's leadership, they did organize the Goldsboro Woman's Club, dedicating it to Gilman. With Gertrude Weil already involved in a social service club in Northampton, Mina drew upon her daughter's experience in establishing the Goldsboro group. The mission of the new Woman's Club was to organize the town's women to identify and address their community's needs. After Mina trained her members in parliamentary procedures, the group launched its first major project, to promote literacy and education by instituting traveling libraries. By the fall of 1899, the club had proved itself as a force for good within the Goldsboro community.
- Quotation beginning "a small group of men" from the Goldsboro Argus, March 23, 1898, cited in Sarah Wilkerson-Freeman, "The Emerging Political Consciousness of Gertrude Weil: Education and Women's Clubs, 1897-1914," MA thesis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1986, 50.
- Additional information from Sarah Wilkerson-Freeman, "Women and the Transformation of American Politics: North Carolina, 1898-1940," Ph.D. dissertation, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1995, 4, 12, 28-44.