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Motivational Moments

2011 Woman History Makers-DC, MD, & VA


Barbara L. Shaw

Civic & Religious Leadership

Born in Wilmington, North Carolina, Barbara L. Shaw was spiritually developed and reared in the Pennsylvania Avenue A.M.E. Zion Church (Baltimore, Maryland) where she served in many positions. She is a dedicated mother and grandmother who understands and values the importance of family.


Dr. Shaw was educated in the public schools in Baltimore; Morgan State University; and completed graduate studies at The Johns Hopkins University, School of Writing. Professionally, she has served as a teacher in the Baltimore City Public School System; a producer with Maryland Public Television; and a Prison Administrator with the State of Maryland. In October, 1997, she retired from the State of Maryland after 30 years of service.

In August 2003, Dr. Shaw was elected the 16th General President of the Women's Home and Overseas Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. In this position, she presides over 800,000+ women on five continents. Dr. Shaw is a product of four generations in the A.M.E. Zion Church. In August of 2007, she was re-elected as General President.

In Jeju, Korea in July 2006, she was installed as the North American Area President of The World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women. In this position she
presides over women representing all divisions of Methodism (United Methodist, African Methodist Episcopal, Christian Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion & Uniting Churches from the United States, The Nations of the Caribbean and Canada. At the 16th World Assembly of the World’s Methodist Council, she was elected chairman of the Family Life Committee (a first for the Black Methodist Church).

In December 2009 at the National Convention of National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), Dr. Shaw was elected one of the Vice Chairs of the NCNW Board of Directors, then elected Chair of NCNW in 2010, is National Chair of the Affiliates Assembly and The Unity Drive. She also serves as Member of the Board for Children’s Defense Fund; Member of the Board of Trustees Harriett Tubman Home; Member of The Balm in Gilead (a National AIDS Advocacy Organization) Advisory Board; Executive Board Member of the Institute of Church Administration and Management; Member of the Executive Board for Church World Services, and National Council of Churches.

She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Hood-Speaks Theological Seminary of the University of Calabar (Cross River State, Nigeria, West Africa) in June 2005. In February 2006, Dr. Shaw was the keynote speaker at Livingstone College Founders Day and following her message she received an Honorary Doctorate from Livingstone College (Salisbury, North Carolina).

The Prayer of Jabez (1 Chronicles 4) continues to be her prayer as she travels on all continents utilizing her leadership skills and sharing God's Word with all she comes in contact with: "O That you would bless me indeed and enlarge my territory ... and God granted the request."


As an educator, administrator, and extraordinary spiritual leader, Dr. Barbara L. Shaw has been committed to the struggle for the equality of human rights for all people. She exemplifies a passionate dedication for a just society.


Dr. Shaw was nominated by Vicky Evans-McCrarey, President of the Mitchellville-Bowie Section of the National Council of Negro Women.  

Please leave your comments honoring the leadership, service and accomplishments of this Woman History Maker.