When I was in my twenties I seen older folks, in their 40’s, becoming members or members of various social clubs. Black social clubs are local and national organizations that were created by those who may be considered the talented tenth. Locally(Pittsburgh), we have the likes of the FROGS (friendly rivalry often generates success),Jack and Jill is a national social club started in Philadelphia 1938, as well as the Links. These Black social clubs can be considered the upper class of Black society. These folks use to be chauffers, housekeeping staff or cooking staff of rich white folks. Now these groups have professionals in medicine, education , business and entertainment fields.
The FROGS is a Black men social group whose purpose is to have fun. The club founder, Wilbur C. Douglas named the club and registered the in name in Harrisburg, May 10 1910. The FROGS celebrate more than 100 years as a Black organization that has evolved into a upper class group membership. Today, as in the past, there are Pittsburghers and folks from all over the land who spend the end of July with the FROGS before departing on August vacations. Below is the club’s description of itself.
The traditions that evolved in the past 95 years that have made the FROGS Club who we are, will continue into the next millennium, and are being renewed with increasing vigor. We are not only about the business of having fun, but also about the business of reaching back and helping those not as fortunate as we. Friendly Rivalry Often Generates Success- FROGS.
Excerpt from https://www.blacktie-pittsburgh.com 2005.
Another Black organization, the Links, was founded by 2 Philadelphia Black women for Black women. I have gone to a couple of events given by a local group of Links. I felt I was the youngest one in the room by 20-30 years not wearing a fancy-showpiece hat. But what do you do when you are with your boyfriends’ mom. You have no choice but to suck it up and enjoy the event.
The Links, Incorporated founded in 1946, is one of the oldest and largest volunteer service organizations of women who are committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry.
Excerpt from http://www.linksinc.org
We can’t talk about Black social clubs without talking about the Jack and Jill organization. It too was started by Black women who started a mother’s club of middle and upper middle class mothers who wanted to bring their children together to experience a variety of educational, social and cultural opportunities, which, due to segregation and racism, were not otherwise readily available to African American children, regardless of the socio-economic status of their parents. They plan age appropriate activities and events such as ski week-end, community service, pool parties, museums, theatre and college tours. And, here is the clincher, membership is by invitation only. Real Bougie!!
These folks may live in upper class neighborhoods with manicured lawns and country clubs but they can be found on Saturdays in urban barber and beauty shops and on Sundays in our urban Black churches getting their praise on before heading back to their piece of the pie in white suburbia.
We see you Black Bougie people, we are keeping our eye on you!!