Founder of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Jewell Jackson McCabe was born on August 2, 1945, in Washington, D.C., to broadcasting pioneer Harold “Hal” Jackson and businesswoman, Julia O. Hawkins. McCabe started dancing at three and graduated from the New York High School of Performing Arts as a dance major in 1963. McCabe attended Bard College until 1964, when she left after her marriage to Frederick Ward, an advertising copywriter; they divorced in 1967. McCabe later married Eugene McCabe, then-president of North General Hospital in New York City; though the couple divorced in 1992, McCabe retained her former last name for professional purposes.
Active in the community, McCabe spent summers in the late 1960s teaching dance to at-risk teens in Harlem. McCabe began her institutional career when she took a receptionist’s job with the city in 1969. After swift and repeated promotions, McCabe was named Director of Public Affairs at the New York Urban Coalition in 1970. That same year, McCabe joined a small group of women, the first chapter of the NY Coalition of 100 Black Women. McCabe served as Press Officer for Women and Minorities under Gov. Hugh Cary from 1975 to 1977. In 1977, McCabe became Director of Government and Community Affairs for WNET-TV. Elected president of the Coalition of 100 Black Women, in 1976, McCabe expanded the organization nationally; it became the National Coalition of 100 Black Women in 1981. In 1991, McCabe stepped down to become the Chairman of the Board, an office she held until 1993 when McCabe became the first woman finalist for the executive directorship of the NAACP.
A Presidential, Gubernatorial, and Mayoral appointee, McCabe was appointed by President Clinton to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council’s Committee on Conscience. Governor Mario M. Cuomo appointed McCabe to the New York State Council on Fiscal and Economic Priorities and to Chair of the New York State’s Job Training Partnership Council.
McCabe has earned two honorary doctorates, from Iona and Tougaloo Colleges, and has served on the following boards: Reliance Group Holdings; the New York City Investment Fund, L.I.C; The Wharton School of Business; and Bard College. McCabe is President of Jewell Jackson McCabe Associates – a multi-lingual strategic communications firm specializing in competitiveness training and executive coaching. The firm has advised American Express; Time Warner; The Coca-Cola Company; Matsushita Electric Corporation of America (Panasonic); International Business Machines Corporation (IBM); Council for Opportunity in Education (COE); NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.; Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; and The College Board. McCabe, a frequent guest political analyst, has opined on the Today Show, in The New York Times, and is featured in Brian Lanker’s “I Dream A World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America”. McCabe has also been honored for her community activism by receiving the following awards: citation from Malcolm/King College; citation from the YWCA; Eastern Region Urban League Guild Award; a Seagram's Civic Award; a Links, Inc. Civic Award; and an Outstanding Community Leadership Award from Malcolm/King College.