Local News

Women's Club Embroiled in Racial Controversy

Posted February 13, 2007

— Several members have resigned from the Fayetteville Women's Club in protest and some donors have threatened to withhold their financial support after membership was denied to a black woman.

Some local women determined to protect Fayetteville's Market House formed the Women's Club a century ago, but the civic group still has no black members after recently rejecting the membership of Cassandra McMillion, a former history teacher.

"Let me say (that), in 2007, that's appalling. It's very disheartening," City Councilman Curtis Worthy said.

Mary Anne Peeples, the president of the Women's Club, said the decision had nothing to do with McMillion's skin color.

"I really think that some of the members were voting against the way she was brought into the club because of this power struggle," Peeples said.

The power struggle was fueled by the woman who sponsored McMillion, club officials said.

"She has caused a lot of strife within the club," said treasurer Bonnie Strickland, who voted against McMillion's membership.  "Hindsight is 20-20. If we had it all to do over again, it might have been handled a little differently. But we can't do that. All we can do is look forward."

Peeples said the Woman's Club does have minority members, including Hispanics and a woman from India. She and other officials said McMillion is welcome to join the club if she's still interested.

McMillion and her supporters declined to comment.

Fayetteville Mayor Tony Chavonne has donated money to help the Women's Club preserve several buildings, but he said he would put his donations on hold. He said he accepts the club's position that the vote wasn't based on race, but he said the move sends a poor message.

"You have to consider all the implications of that and all the appearances of that," Chavonne said. "I would question whether people had done that in this case."

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  • nightfall29 Feb 14, 2007

    to continue....GET OVER IT!!!!!!!

  • nightfall29 Feb 14, 2007

    why do people automatically jump on the racist wagon if someone of color is not accepted into something? what would happen if a white woman was not accepted into a predominantly black club or organization? would she shout discrimination? i would say more than likely not, and i guarantee if she did it wouldn't be made into such a big deal. just because you might be black doesn't automatically mean that you can do and be part of anything just because you are black. you have to have the qualifications regardless of color. and if you don't,

  • mikeNC Feb 14, 2007

    sdd82nd, The women's club that adopted me here at home is not neccessarily the one you would generally want to be in. Wonderfull women, i love them them all, however to get in you must have or be surviving some form of cancer. It is the "Bossom Buddies".

  • mikeNC Feb 14, 2007

    jg1004, question? Let's say we have 2 groups of races. We have Blue People and Green People. If a group of Blue people deny membership in their club to a Green person, is that racism? Likewise if a group of Green People deny membership into their club to a Blue person is that racism?

  • sdd82nd Feb 14, 2007


    I am already overwhelmed by how educational this article and this blog has been.

    Guiness "Brilliant"!!!!!!

  • sdd82nd Feb 14, 2007

    Maybe they will start having another West Minster for differnt races. Like the black Miss America.
    Society, go figure.

    I want in at the womans club.

  • mikeNC Feb 14, 2007

    jg1004, do you think the Westminster Kennel Club is next to go down Racism Avenue? You know the dog that won the "Best in Show" is owned by a white couple and beat a dog owned by Bill Cosby.

  • mikeNC Feb 14, 2007

    sdd82nd, if you participate in this discussion you will become educated on alot of interesting things

  • mikeNC Feb 14, 2007

    jg, you make me laugh, this discussion is much more entertaining than day time television.

    sdd82, men "generally" are not allowed to join a women's club. Example being: the PGA was forced to allow a young woman the opportunity to play in their male golf tournaments, however the LPGA was not held to the same standard and still restricts their tournaments to ladies only. However I have been adopted by the local bossom buddies organization.

  • sdd82nd Feb 14, 2007


    I did not know men could join the womens club.