Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin was an African-American publisher, journalist, civil rights leader,suffragist, and editor of Women’s Era, the first newspaper published by and for African-American women. It was used to highlight the achievements of African American women and to champion black women’s rights.
During the Civil War, She was involved in various civil rights causes, charity work, and the women’s suffrage movement. In 1879 she established the Boston Kansas Relief Association, a charity organisation that provided food and clothing to black Bostonians who were migrating to Kansas. Her philanthropic work brought her in contact with many eminent white and black leaders.
Josephine organised the National Federation of Afro-American Women. She convened the first national conference in Boston, which was attended by 100 women from 20 clubs in 10 states. The following year, the organization merged with the Colored Women’s League to form the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs (NACWC). Mary Church Terrell was elected president and Ruffin served as one of the organization’s vice-presidents. Although the Women’s Era Club later disbanded, Ruffin remained active and became one of the founding members of the Boston NAACP.