Memphis Chapter History

The Memphis chapter was officially chartered on August 28, 1946, it was one of the first ten chapters of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated.  There were fifteen charter members, they 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.  When the Memphis chapter was originally chartered, it was part of the Central region, but later moved to the Southeastern region.

Since its charter the Memphis chapter has been active on the national, regional, and local levels.  On the national level, the Memphis chapter hosted the National Conventions in 1953 and 1990.  On the regional level, the Memphis chapter has actively participated in all programs, activities and committees of both the Central and Southeastern regions.  The chapter has hosted Mother's Regional Conferences and Mother's Work Day/Clusters and Children's Clusters.  Most recently, the Marvelous Memphis Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. hosted the 26th Biennial Mothers' Regional Conference in July 2009.  Conference attendees represented all of the chapters in the Southeastern region.

Memphis has hosted several Teen Leadership conferences (1965, 1976, 2002, and 2009).  The 53rd Southeastern Teen Leadership Conference was hosted by the Memphis chapter in July 2009, with almost 600 teens in attendance. 

With the assistance of Regional Associates Chair, Ruth Wilson and then Chapter President, Myrna Owen Ford, the Memphis Associates group was officially chartered in May 2004. The Associated have assisted the chapter by helping to host conferences/workdays, serving as Oratorical judges and in many other capacities when asked.  The chapter is proud to have three Life Members of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., they are Myrna Owen Ford, Rholedia Morgan, and Charlotte Polk.

The chapter has a very active Fathers' Auxiliary group whose members work to support the moms, teens, and children of the chapter wherever they are needed.  The fathers assist with 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 Christmas dance.  In addition, they maintained high visibility at the recent teen conference.  Despite their very busy schedules, they always make time to assist the chapter.

The Memphis chapter has a long history of dedication to community service.  The chapter has cultivated relationships with several local agencies.  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 also 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.

The chapter hosts an annual Breakfast with Santa which includes both Jack and Jill families and community guests.  All are invited to have a warm pancake breakfast, to take pictures with Santa and his elves and to participate in cookie decorating and crafts.  The older children and teens earn service hours for assisting with this event. the chapter is currently collaborating with Anna's Closet to co-host the Glam Slam, a sale of gently used prom/party dresses and accessories to teen girls at an affordable price. 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.

The Memphis chapter currently includes more than 300 mothers, fathers, children, and teens.  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, support our community, encourage our members and nurture future leaders.