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CHAPTER
HISTORY

CHAPTER HISTORY.

The idea for the Memphis Chapter was initiated by Mrs. Lillian Perry, who was originally from Philadelphia, the birthplace of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated organization. After Dr. William Perry and Mrs. Lillian Perry moved to Memphis from Tuskegee, Alabama, they renewed their friendship with Dr. and Mrs. Hollis Price, who had also relocated from Tuskegee. Mrs. Perry, who was previously a member of Jack and Jill of America, Inc, in the Philadelphia Chapter, expressed to Mrs. Price her desire to establish a Chapter in Memphis. Mrs. Price invited 10-15 interested Mothers to meet at the Perry’s residence as Mrs. Perry was not that familiar with most Memphians. The Memphis Chapter was officially Chartered on August 28, 1946, one of the first ten chapters of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated. There were fifteen charter members. The new members were Mrs. Vivian Baker, Mrs. Alma Roulhac Booth, Mrs. Lena Fouche, Mrs. Victoria Hancock, Mrs. Corrine Hightower, Mrs. Sallie Bartholomew, Mrs. Lillian Campbell, Mrs. Marian Gipson, Mrs. Helen Hayes, Mrs. Ida Jamison, Mrs. Althea Price, Mrs. Ann Rheba Twigg, Mrs. Louis Whitaker, Mrs. Vivian White, and Mrs. Bernice Pinkston.

 

Since its Charter, the Memphis Chapter has been active on the National, Regional and Local levels. When the Memphis Chapter was chartered, it was a part of the Central Region, but later moved to be part of the Southeastern Region. On a National level, the Memphis Chapter hosted National Conventions in 1953 and 1990. Past National officers from the Memphis Chapter include Nell Roulhac who served as the second National President and Charlotte Polk who served as National Corresponding Secretary.

On a Regional level, the Memphis Chapter has actively participated in all programs, activities, and committees of both the Central and Southeastern Regions. Past Regional officers include Melba Brisco as Regional Director, Allegra Turner and Dr. Janice Garrett Booker as Regional Secretary/Treasurers and Lorraine Bell as Regional Foundation Representative. The Chapter has hosted Mother’s Regional Conferences and Mother’s Workday/Clusters and Children’s Clusters. The Marvelous Memphis Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc also hosted the 26th Biennial Mothers' Regional Conference in July 2009. Conference attendees represented all the Chapters in the Southeastern Region. In addition to informative business sessions, Mothers toured historical sites in Memphis and participated in a community service project at nationally renowned St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. In recent years the Memphis Chapter has continued its long legacy of leadership in Jack and Jill of America, Inc on both the National and Regional levels. The Chapter’s very own Mother Gina Williams Jackson currently a Life Member and former Chapter President has served on the Regional level as the Regional Nominating Chair and Regional Director and served on the National level as the National Editor. Additionally, several Memphis Chapter Mothers have served and continue to serve on both the National and Regional levels. Our current President, Dr. Tracy McGee served on the Regional Bylaws Committee. Vice President, Dr. Chii Onyeagocha is currently serving as the Southeastern Regional Nominating Chair and will be representing the Region on the National Nominating Committee, she also serves on the National Our Health Matter Task Force as the Regional Chair and just completed a two-year term from 2019-2021 on the first ever Southeastern Regional Health Advisory Committee as the Secretary. Dr. Tammy Cobb, another mother in the chapter, also served on the National Resolutions Committee as the Regional Chair.

Our teens have also continued the Marvelous Memphis Chapters legacy of excellence in leadership. Jill Cailin Brown served as the past Regional Teen Treasurer and was also appointed to a Regional position along with Jill Jennifer Ruffin. The Memphis Chapter has hosted several Teen Leadership Conferences in 1965, 1976, 2002 and 2009. The 53rd Southeastern Teen Leadership Conference hosted by the Marvelous Memphis Chapter in July 2009, had almost 600 teens in attendance. Past Regional Teen officers include Eric Turner - President, Vice-President, and Parliamentarian; Christopher Horton - President and Teen Regional Representative on the National Foundation Board; Reagan Taylor - President; Frances Turner -Treasurer; Simone Polk - Corresponding Secretary and Brooke Hyman who served as Regional Secretary/Treasurer.

With the assistance of past Regional Associates Chair Ruth Wilson and then Chapter President, Myrna Owen Ford, the Memphis Associates group was officially chartered in May 2004. The ten charter members of the group were Shirley Peace Cobbins (Chair), Patricia Walton (Secretary), Rowena Featherstone (Treasurer), Rholedia Morgan (Chaplain), Nelda Burroughs, Jeanne Chapman, Dr. Barbara Duncan Cody, Dr. Shirley Hilliard, Charlotte Polk and Burnetta Williams.

These Charter Associates represent over 100 years cumulative active membership in Jack and Jill of America, Inc and include past National, Regional and Chapter officers. The Associates have assisted the Chapter by helping to host conferences/workdays, serving as Oratorical Judges and in many other capacities when asked. Associate Myrna Owen Ford recently served as National Associates Chair. The Memphis Chapter is proud to currently have twenty-five (25) Life Members of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated. They are Janice Booker, Beryl Brown, Donita Carmichael, Lucia Clinkscales, Kim Cox, Audrey Davis, Rowena Featherstone, Rose Flenorl, Myrna Owen Ford, Tiffany Glover, Shirley Hilliard, Vanecia Kimbrow, Angela Lee, Ritchie Manley Bowden, Rholedia Morgan, Denise Mustiful-Martin, Mary Peete, Charlotte Polk, Patrice Reed, Melanie Stafford, Lashell Vaughn, LaTonya Ward-Lane Lacy, Lynette Washington, Johnenne Whitmore, Gina Williams-Jackson and Diane Young. The Chapter has a very active Fathers’ Auxiliary group whose members work to support the Mothers, Teens, and Children of the Chapter wherever they are needed. The Fathers have assisted with the Teen Stock Market game and often serve as facilitators for the JMB Teen Leadership and Financial Literacy modules. The Fathers don their blue POP (Parents on Patrol) vests and serve as chaperones each year for the Teens Annual Christmas Dance.

In recent years, the Chapter has received several awards including the Jacqueline Robinson Regional Competition Grant, the Violet Greer Teen and Associates Grant, the Independent Grant and FedEx Grants. These funds have been used primarily to support signature community programs and events such as the Black History Program Celebration, The S.T.E.A.M. Engine Career Fair, and The ACT Preparedness Program.

The Memphis Chapter has a long history of dedication to community service. The Chapter has cultivated relationships with several local agencies such as the Binghamton Christian Academy, Porter-Leath and the Porter Boys and Girls Club of Greater Memphis. In the past, the Chapter has worked closely with the Child Advocacy Center. This center is home to abused and battered children. Our families have also worked with the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA) to deliver meals to the elderly/disabled, and to collect toys, clothes, and school supplies for families in the Memphis community. The Chapter has worked with the Tennessee Department of Human Services to adopt hundreds of “angels” during the holiday season, filling the wish lists of many children for Christmas. The Memphis Chapter Teens have a long-standing relationship with the Union Mission, which provides food, clothing, and spiritual counsel to homeless men. Over the past three years, the Chapter has added the Collage Dance Collective, as well as, partnering with the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tennessee to help bring awareness to the disease and its impact on the African American community,  and Vance Avenue Youth Development Center, serving in a variety of service and support roles.

The Chapter also collaborates with other local organizations to provide service. The Chapter hosts an annual Breakfast with Santa which includes both Jack and Jill Memphis Chapter families and community guests. All are invited to have a warm pancake breakfast, to take pictures with Santa, Mrs.  Claus and his elves, and to participate in cookie decorating and crafts. The older children and teens earn service hours for assisting with this event. Several of our Mothers serve as life skills mentors to the Lemoyne Owen College (local HBCU) Women’s Tennis team. Our members work with the young ladies both on and off the court to encourage academic and athletic excellence.

Under the leadership of Chapter President, Tracy McGee, the Memphis Chapter Programming Theme for 2021-2022 is: Perpetuating Excellence Through Collaboration and Community. For the 2021-2022 Program Year we have a total of 82 Mothers and 139 Children, and continue to push forth civic, education, and leadership through various age group signature events such as: Jay Teens Summit, Shark Tank Business Incubator, and the Bill of Rights Showcase. The Chapter is an integral part of the history of the local community. We strongly believe that every child, with proper guidance and opportunity, can be a leader. We continue our efforts, on behalf of our children, to strive for Chapter excellence, to support our community, encourage our members, and nurture future leaders.