OUR CHAPTER HISTORY
IN A CAPSULE
Southern University Alumni Federation
Washington, D.C. Chapter
The Washington, D.C. Chapter, Southern University Alumni Federation has an extensive history. The late Sherman Briscoe, former president and member of the Board of Directors, was the first to chronicle the events associated with the founding of the Southern University Alumni Club of Washington in the 1940s. Some of the first members of the "Club" included Guy Hanks, Lucius Earles, Alton Willis, Lavern Marshall, Annette Reid, Beatrice Alexander and Claudia Rayford. In 1962, Willie Haywood Johnson, E. Marie Johnson, Claudette Smith Nelson, Inez Mayo Bradley, Anthony Rene', Rudolph and Janette Hoston Harris, Dowell Davis, and Blanchard White reorganized the chapter. During the sixties, the chapter began to host several activities, including picnics, scholarship fund raisers, receptions, tutorial programs, college fairs, and an annual cash contribution to the D.C. Clothe-A-Thon.
The first officers elected in 1963 were:
Anthony Rene', President Mary Bailey, Asst. Secretary
Willie Haywood Johnson, 1st VP Donald Moss, Chaplain
Constance Rotan, 2nd VP Herman Moore, Treasurer
Rudolph Harris, 3rd VP Thomas Todd, General Counsel
George Williams, Exec. Secretary John Johnson, General Counsel
Dowell Davis, Sergeant-at-Arms Blanchard White, Parliamentarian
Since 1963, the chapter has sponsored several Blue and Gold Dinner-Dances. Each year an outstanding alumnus was announced. Some former recipients are: Anthony Rene', Willie Haywood Johnson, Barbara Davis, George Williams, Annette Reid, Ronald Harper, Joseph Nash, and Willie Blanchard White.
During the 1980s, Southern University experienced some very tough times. The university was targeted for elimination. The Washington D.C. Chapter, lead by the chapter president at that time ,Charles "Chuck" Brown, raised over $70,000 to support the University's Legal Defense Fund. The chapter's efforts motivated other alumni chapters to do the same. If the University's legal efforts had failed, Southern University would no longer be a Historically Black College. The funds raised to support the long court battle helped Southern University survive one of the most critical periods in its history.
In 1980, and again in 1997, the chapter hosted the National Alumni Conference. The 1997 Conference, chaired by The Honorable William Jefferson, generated over $60,000 for the National Alumni Federation. The 1997 Conference is still the most profitable in the history of the Federation. Through the years, the chapter has served as host for the Southern University family by holding receptions honoring university presidents, the university's choirs, football and basketball teams and other university officials.
Under the leadership of McArthur Sholas, former chapter president, the chapter began sponsoring an Annual Scholarship Dinner-Dance to generate funds to provide scholarships for students from the Washington metropolitan area to attend Southern University. The first Dinner-Dance was chaired by G. Jean Davis and Dickie S. Carter and generated over $5000 to establish the SUAF-WDC Scholarship Fund.
Pamela Whitley, (chapter president 1993-1997) and Calvin Sims (chapter president 1997-2001), were very instrumental in the continued growth of the Scholarship Program Since the first Dinner Dance, Alma Cravins-Essex, James C. Smith, Horace Jones, and Willie Hensley have served a chairpersons of the annual event, each giving very generously of their time and resources to help the scholarship program grow. Since 1992, the chapter has awarded over $50,000 in scholarships.
Over the years, the SUAF-WDC Chapter has used the camaraderie between classmates, schoolmates, friends, and family to generate funds to support the SUAF-Scholarship Program and provide other financial support to Southern University. The members and WDC supporters continually support events such as the Annual Dinner-Dance, an Annual Louisiana Food Festival, the Annual Bayou Bash and the Annual Bayou Classic.
The following individuals have served as president of the Washington D.C. Chapter since 1963: Anthony Rene', Willie Haywood Johnson, Paul Collins, Charles White, Lawrence Moore, Joseph Nash, Joseph Connors, Javetta Richardson Piper, Ollie Anderson, Ronald Harper, Charles "Chuck" Brown, McArthur Sholas, Pamela Whitley, Calvin Sims, Conrad Meyer, Cassandra Robinson, Rory Gray, P.L. Harvey, Shayla McCullough, and Vincent Brown.