LASC Celebrates 92 years- Honors its founder
Special to the Outlook
The Ladies Art and Social Club, Inc. (LASC), at its December meeting, celebrated 92 years of existence. The Club, was founded on the campus of Florida A&M University (FAMU) on Dec. 24, 1924, by Mrs. J. R. E. Lee, Sr., whose husband was President of FAMU at the time. The organization, which is the oldest continuous social club in Tallahassee and possibly in Florida, took time to remember its roots and to honor its founders. Hostesses for the dinner were Mrs. Margaree Elkins and her daughter, Mrs. Sylvia Petties, assisted by Mrs. Elkins’ other daughter, Rev. Mrs. Angie Whittaker. Special guest and speaker was Dr. Osiefield Anderson, retired FAMU professor and a longtime supporter of the organization.
The theme for the evening was “Looking for a Miracle?” As the women entered the dinner, a large mirror greeted them with the question and the answer, “You’re looking at the miracle and the miracle is, YOU.” This theme was carried out in the meditation by Mrs. Elkins and the prayer by Rev. Whittaker. Mrs. Petties gave a brief history of the organization, which included a beautiful bulletin board with photographs and highlights of the Club’s activities. She spoke forcefully about the founder, Mrs. Ardella Lee, and her vision, along with the other women, Mrs. N.S. McGuinn, Mrs. C.J.A. Paddyfoote, Mrs. S.L. Turner, Mrs. B. L. Perry, Mrs. A. E. Martin and others who were called to organize the group for social and cultural development. As Mrs. Petties talked about the characteristics of Mrs. Lee which included, commitment, creativity, discoverer, encourager, advocate, a woman who meditated on the mission, helpful, visionary, trustworthy, kind, relied on God, humble, just to name a few, members were encouraged to look around the room and find a symbol of that trait. Each member received a rock with a particular characteristic and was asked to strive to accomplish this trait – like Mrs. Lee, who was a rock of courage for the organization – with her vision for service.
Dr. Anderson had the group spellbound as he used poems to remind the women how important women are to our society and to thank them for continuing to work hard and keep the organization going for 92 years. His recitations of “The Negro Mother” by Langston Hughes and the poem “Thinking” (if you think you can) by Walter Wintle, moved many to tears. Dr. Anderson reminded everyone that we become what we think, so think big and continue your good works.
The LASC, which was originally organized of women who were professors at FAMU or wives of professors and administrators at FAMU, no longer has that membership requirement, but does continue to support FAMU and the community. This support includes lending a hand for activities at FAMU such as serving as hostesses for the activities of the Jake Gaither House, supporting and participating in activities at the Meek-Eaton Southeastern Regional Black Archives, providing flowers bi-annually for the Club’s garden outside the Archives Building, and the Riley House Rock-a-thon. Each year the group supports the Christmas Connection by adopting a family and providing everything the family requests for Christmas. This year was no exception, as members provided for a single mother with five children. Their Christmas wishes were delivered by members Jerrlyne Jackson and Mae Williams. Dr. Jackson thanked all the ladies for going above and beyond the call and relayed thanks from the mother and her children.
The celebration ended with the Club’s prayer and the renewed energy to continue the works of the founders of the LASC.