Celebrate Black History Month by Celebrating Selena Sloan Butler

by California State PTA Membership Services Commission

The power of PTA is our proud history and dedication to “every child with one voice” that we have continued to demonstrate over the years. We honor Selena Sloan Butler as one of our Founding Mothers. In 1926, Butler formed the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers to advocate for children, especially African American children in segregated communities. 

“As the United States progressed through the Jim Crow era, the Civil Rights Movement, and the eventual desegregation of schools and communities, the two associations worked together side by side for every child. Following the Supreme Court decision that ended segregation, the associations held their conventions in conjunction with one another and worked toward merging in all 50 states. On June 22, 1970, the two congresses signed a Declaration of Unification and officially became one association.

The unification of the two congresses is an important part of National PTA’s history and the association’s continued efforts to serve and make a difference for every child.” – National PTA History

Selena Sloan Butler was appointed by President Herbert Hoover to his 1929 White House Conference on Child Health and Protection, representing the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers and working on the Committee on The Infant and Pre-School Child. 

Butler led the National Congress of Colored Parents & Teachers for more than thirty years. She also focused on women’s rights and was the first president of the Georgia Federation of Colored Women’s Club and a delegate to the founding convention of the National Association of Colored Women. Butler is honored in many ways by our organization, but also by the City of Atlanta, where there was a park named in her honor, and she was posthumously inducted into the Georgia Women of Achievement Hall of Honorees.

If your school is doing anything for Black History Month, we encourage you to share Selena Sloan Butler’s story and encourage more members to join PTA to continue this dedication to advocacy, inclusion, and equity to honor our Founders as we continue their work.