The Southern Rural Black Women's Initiative for Social and Economic Justice (SRBWI) promotes the first human rights agenda in the United States aimed at eradicating historical race, class, cultural, religious and gender barriers experienced by southern rural black women.


Human Rights Commissions

The SRBWI Human Rights Commissions are led by black women community leaders and elected officials. At least ten local women, including two youth, form each commission. The Commissions implement a local action agenda for achieving economic and social justice.

To establish a Human Rights Commission in your community, contact Carol Blackmon at

Southern Journeys

Southern Journeys is a worker-owned social enterprise that draws its inspiration from the West African traditions of piece sewing and quilting. The products and designs honor ancestors' spirits, celebrate exuberant cultures and the creativity of southern, rural women. Member-owners come from rural communities spanning the Alabama and Georgia Black Belt and the Mississippi Delta.

Shop Southern Journeys products now

Women in Agriculture

SRBWI's Women in Agriculture is the first black women's cooperative in Mississippi (incorporated March 2010) and coordinates family farmers across five counties in Mississippi, to work the land. The group's tagline, "With roots as deep as ours, flavor is assured," spotlights product quality, community pride and sustainability. Collective members stand squarely on the shoulders of generations of southern, African American farmers.

To tour the Women in Agriculture farms, contact Gloria Sturdevant at

Young Women's Leadership Development Program

The Young Women's Leadership Development Program is dedicated to creating safe, caring and empowering spaces for young women from SRBWI's target counties so they mature to be committed, productive contributors to society. The premiere activity of the program is the annual Unita Blackwell Young Women's Leadership Institute. Throughout the year, young women engage in community-centered projects, trainings and other activities with their local Human Rights Commissions.

To learn how you can help, contact Natalie A. Collier at



Federation of Child Care Centers of Alabama, Inc. (FOCAL)
P.O. Box 214
Montgomery, AL 36101
Phone 334.262.3456 Fax 334.264.5659
Sophia Bracy Harris


Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education, Inc.
P.O. Box 1933
Albany, GA 31702
Phone 229.432.5799
Shirley Sherrod


Children's Defense Fund Southern Regional Office
P.O. Box 11437
Jackson, MS 39283
Phone 601.321.1966 Fax 601.321.8736
Oleta Garrett Fitzgerald

Our History

Southern Rural Black Women's Initiative evolved from a meeting convened by the Ford Foundation in New York City in late 2000, with a small group of women from Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi who discussed their experiences working in the rural south and what might help improve the quality of life for southern, rural women.

In January 2002, a slightly expanded group of women met to form the SRBWI. A regional advisory committee, with representatives from each of the three states, is responsible for general coordination and oversight. SRBWI state lead organizations are the Federation of Child Care Centers of Alabama (FOCAL) in Montgomery, Alabama; The Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education in Albany, Georgia; and the Children's Defense Fund - Southern Regional Office (CDF) in Jackson, Mississippi. The CDF serves as SRBWI's fiscal agent and as regional administrator.

SRBWI operates in 77 counties across the Black Belts of Alabama, Southwest Georgia and the Mississippi Delta.