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Our Local Heroes Nannie Helen Boroughs and Nadine Winter

March is Women’s History Month. We’re taking the time to celebrate two women who lived in our area and dedicated their lives’ work to helping shape our city. In the process, they helped make our country better for us all.

This month, we dig into the legacies of Nannie Helen Boroughs, who worked with African American young women to improve lives, and Nadine Winter, who was one of the original members of the Council of the District of Columbia. 

Nannie Helen Boroughs was born in Orange, Virginia, in 1879. She moved to Washington, DC, in 1883. She attended M Street High School, where she started the Harriet Beecher Stowe Literary Society and studied business and domestic science.

After a stint in Louisville, Kentucky, she returned to DC in 1909. Here she founded the National Trade and Professional School for Women and Girls, which was the first school to provide vocational training for African American females. She would go on to work with the Hoover Administration and was a published playwright.

Boroughs died of natural causes in 1961 at the age of 82. In her honor, the school she helped found changed its name to the Nannie Helen Burroughs School. In 1975, May 10 was officially named Nannie Helen Boroughs Day. A District street was also named after her, Nannie Helen Boroughs Avenue NE.

Nadine Winter was born in New Bern, North Carolina, in 1924. She was truly a born-community activist: At a young age, Winter helped launch Winston-Salem’s first Girl Scout troop for African American girls.

She moved to Washington, DC, in 1947 and started working on social services projects for the city. She was the founder and executive director of Hospitality House, which supported underprivileged people by providing things like childcare services, senior care, and served as a homeless shelter.

Winter was elected as one of the original members of the Council of the District of Columbia in 1974. She represented Ward 4 from 1975 until 1991. She passed away in her home in Washington, DC, in 2011.