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A Chicago Chapter of the Southern University Alumni Association was a dream of the alumni members living and working in Chicago during the 1940's. The dream came to fruition under the leadership and wise counsel of the late Mrs. Mattie Booker Peary, a former teacher in the Music Department of Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. With Mrs. Pearry as Founder and Sponsor, the initial meeting of the Southern University Club, Chicago Branch (the original name of the organization), was held at the Parkway Community House, 51st and South King Drive, on Tuesday, August 27, 1946. The objectives were as follows:
To perpetuate a close communication with the school
To keep them informed of our activities and to acquaint ourselves with theirs
To advertise our school in this locality in the form of various activities (teas, athletics, musicals, etc.)
To sponsor a scholarship for one eligible person to attend the University
To sponsor some form of musical unit
It was agreed that the meetings would be held semi-monthly on Monday evenings at 7:30 P.M., and dues would be $.50 per month. We have come a long way from $.50 a month to $100.00 per year plus other assessments and pledges.
After several years, Mrs. Mattie Booker Pearry turned over the sponsorship of the organization to Mrs. Charlotte Greenup, a former Southernite, who returned to and restored the family home in Clinton, Louisiana. When Mrs. Greenup left Chicago the sponsorship was turned over to her sister, Mrs. Maggie Purnell.
The first President of the Chicago Chapter was Mrs. Camille Peary Hill, the daughter of Mrs. Mattie Booker Pearry. Others who served in that office are:
Mr. Charles McByron
Mr. Wyman Vaughns
Mr. James Peters
Mrs. Rosalie Allen Rhodes
Mr. Charles Hart
Mr. Lawrence Moorehead
Mr. Theophilus Thomas
Mr. Huie Griffith
Mr. Sherwood Dixson
Mrs. Clara Taylor
Mr. John Perkins
Mr. Chester Spears
Ms. Priscilla Metoyer
Ms. Florence Williams
Mr. Shantley Guidry
Ms. Judy Donato
Ms. Mattie Wolfolk
Ms. Nicole Kelly
Ms. Betty Fuller
Mr. Lorenze Snowden
Mr. Brian O. Brumfield
Mr. Shantley Guidry
Mr. DuWarn V. Porter
Mrs. Florence Smith (current leadership)
Following through on the original objectives of the organization, the members of the Chicago Chapter have used various ingenious means of raising funds such as: teas, musical concerts, baby contests, Bar-B-Cues, Cabaret Party-Fashion Shows, Night at the Races, theater parties, art exhibits, Ho-Downs, Dinner-Dances, etc. The Chicago Chapter's main emphasis is on scholarships and each year contributes more than $3,000 in scholarships to the University. For Founder's Day the group worships together at the church of one of their members and presents a donation to that church. The alumni chapter also sponsors a Christmas Toy Project, A Senior-Citizen Visitation Program, a Tutoring Program, and each year give a donation to some worthy religious, civic or charitable organization. Some of the organizations that have benefited from the Chapter's donation are: NAACP, The Chicago Urban League, Parkway Community House, YWCA and YMCA, Children's Division and the Scholarship Program of the Cook County Department of Public Aid, Provident Hospital, Operation PUSH, etc. The Chicago Chapter has been privileged to have as their guest speakers the late Dr. Felton G. Clark, Dr. Jesse N. Stone, Jr., Dr. Leonard Barnes, Dr. Emmett Bashful, Dr. G. Leon Netterville, and Dr. Huel D. Perkins.
The individual members are making worthy contributions to society in their various fields of endeavor, and the Chicago Chapter continues to grown and assists the University in liberating young people to pursue the meaning of their existence; and for the Chapter to be, in its own community, a power of good in society.
Click here to view the first meeting minutes.
Southern University Alumni Federation History - Chicago Chapter