This essay analyzes the National Association of Colored Women (NACW), a prominent Black women’s club founded in 1896, to illustrate how collective memory can generate new narratives regarding ownership. Specifically, I consider how the organization reimagined what it meant to own property through remembrances of Frederick Douglass’s home published in their newsletter, National Notes. The NACW repeatedly used his estate to create tropological memories that expanded, contracted, and, at times, challenged what it meant to be a Black woman in the United States. The women of this club reveal how memory can express the complexity of marginalized life, as well as contribute to the history of U.S. property rhetoric.

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