Emma Hall (1865?-1949) started the first Girl Scout troop in eastern Massachusetts in New Bedford in 1913, called the “Red Rose Troop.” It was the first troop nationally to welcome African American girls and the third official Girl Scout troop in the U.S.
Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts accepted New Bedford High School graduate Carrie Evelina S. Lee (1895-1979) for admission in 1913. Upon arrival, rejection from her assigned dormitory became the impetus for a cornerstone in the founding of what would become Smith College’s Black Student Alliance.
A dedicated activist who advocated for New Bedford’s neighborhoods, Loretta Bourque (1920-2018) was referred to as “Mayor of the South End” for her special commitment to this section of the city. Through the Cove Street Neighborhood Association, Loretta led efforts against such problems as negligent absentee landlords, crime and drugs. Loretta’s influence was a key factor that led the New Bedford City Council to pass the city’s Problem Properties Ordinance.