Our Mission

To promote friendship and social exchange among members; to function as a resource for young people in the arts; and to promote educational, civic and cultural experienes within the community.

National Historical Profile

The Society, Incorporated was founded in May, 1983 by four women of vision and sensitivity – Celeste Burton, Davetta Madison, Dorothy Patton and Myrtle Roane. They conceived the idea of organizing a group of professional women who shared the goals of friendship and service. The outcome of their efforts was the establishment of The Society as an organization to promote friendship among members and to serve as a resource in the arts for young people. The first organizational meeting was held in June at the Vista Hotel in Washington, DC.

Our name, The Society, was chosen because, by definition, we are “an organized group of persons associated together for similar benevolent, cultural, or other purposes”. Because of our responsibilities as role models and mentors for young people who will be leaders of the future, Society chapters have focused on supporting youth who are talented in the arts. Our work provides the opportunity to enhance youth appreciation for and knowledge of the exciting dimensions of artistic expression. The colors of the organization are peach and cream, and the flower is the peach-colored tea rose.

On Saturday, April 25, 1992 in Lakeland, Florida, The Society became a national entity when chapter delegates unanimously approved the establishment of the organization and adopted the Constitution and By Laws. The first established chapters were in Washington, DC, Baltimore, Maryland, Lakeland, Florida and Columbia, South Carolina. The first slate of elected officers included Judine Johnson, National President (Washington, DC); Olive Dulaney, Vice President (Baltimore, Maryland); Olive Foster, Recording Secretary (Columbia, South Carolina); Mildred Blake, Corresponding Secretary (Lakeland, Florida); Dorothy Nettles, Financial Secretary (Lakeland, Florida); and Freddye Davey, Treasurer (Columbia, South Carolina).

The first National President, Dr. Judine Johnson, served with distinction from 1992 to 1996. Successive National Presidents were Dr. Freddye Davey (1996-1998), Dr. Carolyne Jordan (1998-2002) Dr. Jacqueline Bontemps (2002-2007), Dr. Alethia Spraggins (2007 – 2011) and Antoinette Carter 2011 -2015).

The first National Conference and Gala was hosted by the Washington, DC Chapter during the fourth weekend in April, 1988. Others hosting National Conferences were the Baltimore Chapter in 1990; the Lakeland Chapter in 1992; the Washington, DC Chapter in 1994; the Columbia Chapter in 1996; the National Organization in Arlington, Virginia in 1998 and Savannah, Georgia in 2000; the Richmond, Virginia Chapter in 2002; the Montgomery County Maryland Chapter in 2003*; the Los Angeles, California Chapter in 2005; and the Memphis, Tennessee Chapter in 2007. (*The organization voted to change the Conference and Gala to the odd years.)

On Saturday, April 25, 1992, The Society, Incorporated became a national entity when chapter delegates unanimously approved the establishment of the organization and adopted the Constitution and Bylaws. 3.

Our work is further reflected in the roles we play and responsibilities we hold in the larger community. We have Friendship Teas, Awards Ceremonies, receptions for artists and master classes for students. Members support the work of arts institutions, give student scholarships, and help to develop arts organizations. Above all, we are committed to “friendship and service” to both youth and the arts – locally, nationally and internationally.

Visit www.thesocietyinc.org for our national website.