the girl friends inc.

Chapter Anniversaries

The History of The Girl FriendsĀ®, Inc.

  • Founded during the Harlem Renaissance in 1927 by eleven young women based on friendship and community involvement
  • One of the oldest social/civic organizations of African-American women in the United States
  • Incorporated in 1938 under the legal guidance of Baltimore attorney Thurgood Marshall (spouse of Girl Friend Vivian Marshall)
  • Founders of the organization were Eunice Shreeves, Lillie Mae Riddick, Henri Younge, Elnorist Younge, Thelma Whittaker, Dorothy Roarke, Helen Hayes, Connye Cotterell, Rae O. Dudley, Anna S. Murphy and Ruth Byrd
  • Bessye Bearden, newspaper columnist, civic leader and mother of celebrated artist, Romare Bearden, served as the groups chaperone and advisor.
  • Currently there are 45 chapters across the country, and over 1400 women of prominence in membership
  • The first chapter expansion was in 1928 with the formation of the Philadelphia chapter, with Baltimore (1930), Boston (1931) and New Jersey (1932) and New Haven (1932) soon added
  • The first Conclave (national meeting of chapters) was hosted by New York in 1933
  • Organization colors are apple and emerald green, its flower is the Marshall Neal rose (now called the yellow tea rose)
  • Since those formative years, the chain of friendship has grown to embrace a continent. Girl Friends have founded schools, headed colleges, earned all manners of academic and professional degrees, written books, headed their own businesses, saved lives, been elected to Congress and named to the cabinet of the US President. They have also been devoted wives, mothers, sisters and friends, and involved members of their communities.
  • Currently there are 45 chapters across the country, and over 1400 women in membership.