Our African American Legacy Images

Our African American Legacy


Prominent Establishments of the Local African American Community

Several organizations have played important roles in the African American Community in Baton Rouge.
Below are listed several local organizations and their official histories, provided by the organizations themselves.

Alpha Xi Bouleof Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity

Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity is the oldest Greek Letter society among black Americans. It was founded in 1904 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by a small group of professional men of achievement—physicians, dentists, lawyers and educators—for the purpose of providing “men of like qualities” the opportunity for close fellowship in an atmosphere of mutual respect and relaxing camaraderie.

The minimum educational requirement for membership is an earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university. Most of the members have one or more earned graduate or professional degrees, along with awards for their achievements.

Throughout most of its history, and because keeping the organization in the limelight was not one of its goals, the fraternity has avoided publicity. In recent years, however, the fraternity has abandoned its policy of no publicity and is making its existence and impact known and felt across the nation.

The fraternity as a whole is referred to as “The Boule”. Local chapters are known as Member Boules and the national organization is called the Grand Boule’. Member Boules are located in major cities from Boston to San Diego, and from Seattle to Miami.

Alpha Xi Boule’ was established in Baton Rouge in 1965. Its Charter Members were: Dr. B. V. Baranco, Dr. Leo S. Butler, Dr. Felton G. Clark, Attorney A. A. Lenoir, Mr. John G. Lewis, Dr. G. Leon Netterville and Mr. Horatio C. Thompson.

Whatever affiliations the members may have with the traditional college fraternities, these differences are recognized, but are submerged in a genuine fellowship cutting across all other fraternal and/or religious lines represented among the members of Sigma Pi Phi.


CADAV, Inc. (Community Against Drugs And Violence) is a 501-c-3, community based, non-profit organization in the Banks sub-division comprised of concerned citizens whose goal is to develop a sense of pride, dignity, and awareness in our community.

CADAV's mission is to combat drugs, street violence and social blight, thereby creating a safer environment for our children to grow, prosper, and become productive self-sufficient citizens. Monthly meeting are held every 4th Tuesday, 6:00 p.m. Scotlandville Library, 7373 Scenic Hwy @ 73rd Avenue.

Past activities have included nine (27) community-wide clean-ups in conjunction with the "Glad Bag -Trash Bash" and Keep Baton Rouge Beautiful Scenic "Sweep", hosting political candidate forums, annual Christmas parades, Juneteenth Parades, Fun Day in the Park, Neighborhood "HOLIDAY" Pageants where the "Ms Banks" queens are selected and crowned, Sidewalk J.A.M. Bible study in the park, youth lock-in workshops, tutorial programs, Louisiana's 1st SPARK Park, annual membership gala, adoption of a beautification corridor including request and acknowledgement of canal cleaning, street signs and repair, Entergy "Lights OUT" initiative and our neighborhood park bathroom facilities.

CADAV firmly believes that our continuous efforts will help to unify Baton Rouge and make a positive statement as to the urgent need for change. The organization was founded under the leadership and direction of Pat McCallister-LeDuff and Sadie Roberts-Joseph on October 7, 1993 along with thirteen (13) other founding members.

CADAV is in place to empower the residents; alleviate drugs, abandoned houses, and cars, run down businesses and other unwanted sites in our community, form partnerships to enhance educational and economic opportunities and, to reduce crime and violence in the neighborhood in which we live. In addition, we will disseminate information, address the request and concerns of the citizens and create activities that will attract our youth and promote a safe environment for our children, our senior citizens, and ourselves.

We, as an organized unit, feel that if the residents of the various communities are empowered, they too can take control of their own destiny and bring about positive changes in their own neighborhoods.


2766 70th Avenue
Baton Rouge, LA 70807
225 357-7824


"During the early 1950's, segregation in the south was rampant. In order for children to stay in school, they were in need of clothing. Volunteers of America did not want the Blacks to come in the front door to receive clothing and this created a problem. Mrs. Mildred Clark wrote a letter inviting concerned citizens to meet to help resolve the clothing dilemma of school children. Nine individuals answered the call and met in the principal's office at Zion City Elementary School on January 7, 1959. Those present were Clarence Marie Collier, Mildred M. Clark, Hazel J. Freeman, Nance Givens, Annie Knox, and Aunnie L. Webb (educators from the school system) and Dora Brooks, Georgia Williams, and Thelma Wilson (members of the PTA Council). The group took the name of The Advisory Committee for the Welfare of School Children. Mrs. Mildred Clark served as Chairman and Mrs. Hazel Freeman served as Recording Secretary.

Mrs. Clark and Mrs. Freeman have served in various capacities: from Executive Director for the first six years, to lending CAWSC their personal funds to obtain or improve facilities, and serving as president etc. of the Board of Directors."

Source: www.cawsc.org/sapphireballprogram.pdf

Chapter of LinksBaton Rouge Chapter

Forty years ago a group of ten dynamic ladies recognized the opportunities for service inherent in the challenges of a changing society. On November 28, 1964, the Baton Rouge Chapter of the Links, Incorporated was chartered and its members were installed by the Fourth National President, Vivian Beamon. The Links then began a journey of friendship and service and established linkages with not only its 247 sister chapters located in the United States, the Bahamas, Germany and most recently South Africa but also with local, regional and national agencies. The common goal of the Links is to provide services to enrich the quality of life for others. The charter members of the chapter were V. Jean Butler, Lena R. Cooper, Bessie W. Holland, Marjorie D. Lawless, Thelma S. Perkins, Julia B. Purnell, Allene K. Clark Rayford, Jewell T. Thompson, Eva C. Williams, and Dorothea J. Yates.

As the years continued, new members were invited into the chapter. These members brought with them creative energies, talents, experiences that fostered the continued development and implementation of meaningful projects and services. As an energetic community-conscious group of women, they initiated and participated in networking and partnership opportunities with many groups that enriched and empowered them. In addition, members of the chapter have been elected or appointed to serve the organization at the area and national levels. Serving were; Julia Brogdon Purnell, Seventh National President; Jewell T. Thompson and Frances Marsh-Ellis, National Arts Directors; Thelma S. Perkins, National Public Information Officer; Thelma C. Cobb, National Constitution and Bylaws Committee; Eula Masingale, National Services to Youth Committee; Allene K. Rayford, Links Foundation; Exyie C. Ryder, Area Parliamentarian, National Constitution and Bylaws Committee and Area Services to Youth Director.

Building upon the program thrusts of the Links, Inc. - Services to Youth, National Trends and Services, International Trends and Services and the Arts - the Baton Rouge Chapter has developed award winning and nationally recognized programs that have provided active volunteerism and support to the city of Baton Rouge.


  • Beauregard Art Gallery
  • Mid-Winter Community Seminar Series through the Agency for International Development - Nation Council for International Visitors
  • Chapter Arts Scholarships
  • "Just Say No To Drugs" Chapter community programs
  • Old Fashioned Spelling Bee - held at Southern University and Leo S. Butler Community Center
  • Program assistance and support to the Friends of Scotlandville and the Scott-Gilchrist Quality of Life Center at Bethel A.M.E. Church
  • Program assistance and support to the DeBose National Piano Competition held at Southern University
  • Project: "Link Lads" - Youth Connection, Capital Middle School
  • Project: "Rose Buds" - Youth Achievers, Emerging Corporate Leaders, Community Service Activities and "In Support of Neighborhoods"
  • Walk-A-Thon for Health and Hunger
  • Seminars on Women's Issues
  • Linkages to Life - organ donor awareness workshop with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Louisiana
  • A Kaleidoscope of African-American Artist Exhibits and African American Arts Tour
  • Community Service Showcase: "Partners in the Journey of Service"

Over the past forty years the members of the Baton Rouge Chapter have embarked on a journey of friendship and service. At each stage of the journey, the chapter has enlarged its world of friends and simultaneously discovered new avenues for service. Along the way, the nexus between friendship and service has grown stronger. The chapter pledges its continuous cooperation and partnership with the efforts of local, regional and national agencies to enrich and empower others.

Matrons Club

In September 1941, Marjorie Dumas Lawless assembled a group of her friends and new acquaintances organized a social club and named it "Junior Matrons". The original purpose was purely social, but since its inception, the club has consistently adjusted its purposes and program to reflect societal changes and needs. Until its 50th anniversary, the program scope embodied social, civic, educational, religious and cultural activities. At that juncture, the purpose of the club again became essentially social; but maintained the option to engage in limited involvement in other endeavors.

Significant of the inventiveness and keen insight of its membership was the Club's decision to introduce their own children and the children of their friends to society. Thus, the idea of an Annual Debutante Ball was conceived. Over a period of twenty-seven years, eight hundred and seventy-five girls were presented to the Baton Rouge society through sponsorship of "Junior Matrons".

Presentation of the Annual Debutante Balls ended in 1971. After thirty-five years of fellowship and service to the community, the name of the club was changed to "Matrons Club," reflecting maturity and the achievement of both stature and status in the Baton Rouge area.

The club celebrated its 50th Anniversary, with a Reception/Dance on Saturday, October 19, 1991, at the Camelot Club. Three hundred and twenty-four guests shared the occasion. The celebration was climaxed with worship service at Mt. Zion First Baptist Church the following day.

We celebrated 63 years on Friday, October 29, 2004, during a regular scheduled meeting. This celebration was planned by the Social Committee and Eva Castain Williams, Hostess.

Annual contributions are given to Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge, Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation and the DeBose National Piano Competition Foundation, Incorporated.

"Teddy Bears" are donated to the Office of Community Services (OCS), to be given to Adopted and Foster Care Children.

Many members are Volunteers for Community Agencies, affiliated with Local and National Organizations and also contribute (individually/family) to Charitable groups.

Written By the Executive Committee of the Matrons Club

Source: Mr. Huel Perkins & Mrs. Thelma Perkins