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Virginia Sheriffs’ Association
The Voice of Virginia’s Sheriffs & Deputies
Pictured above are members of the Petersburg Club of the NANBPWC, Inc. club from left to right: Sherilyn Merritt, Honoree-Sheriff Vanessa Crawford, Mrs. Ruth Howard and Mrs. Ruth Jackson


The Honorable Vanessa R. Crawford was awarded the Sojourner Truth Award from the Petersburg Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. at their annual Founder’s Day program. The Sojourner Truth Award, the organization’s highest honor, is awarded to individuals who have given outstanding service or have achieved substantial goals. It honors women exhibiting the attributes of their national matriarch,Sojourner Truth. Sojourner Truth is the national Matriarch of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. and our recognition and knowledge of Sojourner Truth is important to every club member.

Sojourner Truth was born Isabella Bomefree (also spelled Baumfree in some narratives) about 1797 at Hurler, Uster County New York to James and Betsy who were slaves of Colonel Hardenbergh. Upon his death, ownership passed to his son, Charles and Isabella was sold four times, She spoke low Dutch until she was about 10 years old, yet never learned to read or write, however, Sojourner Truth spoke for women’s rights, abolition, prison reform and addressed the Michigan Legislature on capital punishment. She was known for her most famous “Ain’t I A Woman” speech and had staunch influential supporters like Susan B. Anthony, Amy Post and William Garrison. She died at her home on College Street in Battle Creek Michigan on November 26, 1883. Her funeral service was attended by over 1000 people.

In 1948, at the National Convention of the NANBPWC, Inc., it was decided that the highest honor bestowed by the NANBPWC, Inc., would be the Sojourner Truth Award, given to a woman who has exemplified outstanding community service and whose life parallels the life and qualities of Sojourner Truth.’

The National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. founded in 1935, emerged as a national non-profit organization in light of the need to promote and protect the interests of women business owners and professionals. NANBPWC Inc. was founded by seven courageous visionaries who sought to promote and protect the interests of business and professional women; to serve as advisors for young people seeking to enter business and professions; to improve the quality of life in local and global communities; and to foster good fellowship. The NANBPWC, Inc. members are among the most dynamic business and professional women in the country. The diversity of our membership includes women who are Administrators, Bankers, Educators, Entrepreneurs.

The mission of the organization is to promote and protect the interests of African American business and professional women; to serve as a bridge for young people seeking to enter business and the professions; to improve the quality of life in the local and global communities; and to foster good fellowship. This organization is geared toward involving the whole family in building and growing our communities. Over the years, NANBPWC, Inc. has grown in numbers and scope, conducting many needed community service activities that go far beyond the original purpose. Should you want additional information on this organization, please contact Mrs. Sherilyn Merritt at 804-861-9647.