About Us

Chapter HistoryRegional HistoryNational History
The Fort Lauderdale Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. was admitted full membership into the national organization during the 16th National Convention in June 1964. The convention session was held at the Olympic Hotel in Seattle, Washington. The idea for organizing a chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. in Fort Lauderdale was introduced in 1963 to a group of 22 mothers by Beatrice McLaughlin Davis. “Bea,” as she was affectionately known, invited the group to her home and outlined the objectives and aims of the organization as well as the need for such an organization in this area. Everyone in attendance agreed, and the application to become a Provisional Chapter was submitted to the national organization. It was approved. The Fort Lauderdale Chapter was organized, and, as required, served one year as a Provisional Chapter under the leadership of Beatrice M. Davis.

Beatrice M. Davis, the first president, and the mothers in the chapter sponsored several projects that fostered cultural, educational, social, and recreational activities for their children and children in the community. On November 21, 1964, the Fort Lauderdale Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. was installed in a solemn candlelight service at the Lutheran church of the Good Shepherd. The National Program Director, Aurelia T. James of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was the installing officer.

From its inception, the Fort Lauderdale Chapter has had an impact on the growth and development of children, not just of the members, but children and families in the community. Some of the local projects sponsored have included agencies such as Women in Distress, Children in Distress, Outreach Broward, the L.A. Lee Branch YMCA, and Children’s Harbor. Chapter members have donated time and gifts to the children’s ward at local hospitals, adopted families, homeless shelters, and nursing homes. Although the chapter was installed during the peak of the Civil Rights Movement, our chapter has played a major role in aggressively pursuing all activities and facilities that were not readily accessible. Furthermore, each year, chapter teens participate in the Regional teen conference. Our teens were recognized for making the highest donation to Foundation during the 2001 teen conference, and have placed first in several other categories, such as the tee shirt competition, Teen Sports Category, and talent competition. We have also hosted several Cluster programs. Our Mothers are intimately involved in the organization, regularly attending Cluster and National meetings. The Fort Lauderdale Chapter has been featured several times in the regional news.

Chapter Members

Maria Bass

Arrie Hamm Hankerson

Dorothy Benton

Willard Lamar

Edith Coleman

Vaunetta McCain

Alma Colllins

Ada Moore

Alice Davis

Dorothy Moran

Beatrice F. Morton

Eddie Pearl DeGraffenreidt

Hortense Murray

Elouise Dupont

Juanita Phillips

Christine Edwards

Florence Seabury

Alethia George

In 1948, the idea of dividing the organization into a regional structure was initially put before the members at the Third Annual meeting of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated held in Washington, D.C. It was suggested to shorten the travel time to annual meetings, allow more time for discussions on issues by all of the membership prior to attending national meetings, and allow the inclusion of children at the meetings. In 1957, at the Annual Convention held in San Francisco, the Regional Plan was fully adopted. Today there are seven regions which comprise Jack and Jill of America.

Our chapter is a part of the Southeastern Region, with forty-three (43) chapters in five states – Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee, and Georgia. The Southeastern Region has distinguished ourselves as one of the premier regions of the national organization. With a rich legacy of leadership, both as elected and appointed leaders and as developers of signature programs that address the needs of children and families, other regions have traditionally viewed the Southeastern Region as a model. The Southeastern Region is proud of its legacy, traditions and history of innovative programming, eager to create new opportunities for leadership development, cultural awareness and community service for our children. Join the journey as we continue to blaze new trails in our region and our national organization.

To learn more about our current regional leaders and regional programs, we invite you to visit the Southeastern regions website.

Jack & Jill of America, Inc. was founded January 24, 1938 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from a meeting of twenty (20) mothers under the leadership of Marion Stubbs Thomas with idea of bringing together children in a social and cultural environment. In 1964, bylaws were drawn up and incorporated under the laws of the State of Delaware, as a nonprofit family organization with mothers of children between the ages of 2 and 19 holding membership, dedicated to the nurturing future African Americans leaders by strengthening children through leadership development, volunteer service, philanthropic giving and civic duty.

Jack & Jill celebrated its 75th Diamond Anniversary in January 2013. The organization continues on, today with more than 230 chapters nationwide, representing more than 40,000 family members, each chapter plans annual programming activities guided under a national theme. Dedicating its resources to stimulating the growth and development and improving the quality of life, particularly African-American children.

“To us as mothers, [Jack and Jill] has become a means of furthering an inherent and natural desire . . . to bestow upon our children all the opportunities possible for a normal and graceful approach to a beautiful adulthood.”                                                  – Marion Stubbs Thomas

Visit our national website.