ince the late nineteenth century when the Black women's club movement began with the National Association of Colored Women, thousands of women have known the value of uniting socially and civically. Women of color have united socially to expand beyond the domestic sphere and at the same time to show responsibility and commitment to their race and communities through the support of various charities. In keeping with this proud tradition, the New Jersey Chapter of Girl Friends was organized in Westfield, NJ in 1932 with six members: Alberta Banks, who was elected President; Fannie Vick Berryman, Matte Jones, Ivy Lambert, Eva Langston, and Lillian Jones. In 1932, New Jersey Chapter was installed as the fifth chapter of The Girl Friends Inc.

 

Sponsored by the Philadelphia Chapter, the budding NJ membership came from many different towns and counties, mostly representing the northern and central portions of the state. Hence, the name New Jersey Girl Friends was appropriate for this new, early chapter in the Girl Friends organization. NJGF is very proud to have had one of its charter members, Fannie Vick Berryman, to be one of the signers of the "Certificate of Incorporation" in the year 1938. With the legal guidance of Baltimore Boy Friend Thurgood Marshall, the Girl Friends organization was incorporated on September 23, 1938. The first national officers were: Eunice Shreeves of NY, the National President; Alberta Banks of NJ, who was elected the National Vice President; Elizabeth Young of  Philadelphia became the National Secretary and Dorothy Bostic of Baltimore was the National Treasurer.

 

Fondest Girl Friend memories and history hark back to the first conclave held in the home of GF Connie Cotterell in New York City. New Jersey has been the proud sponsor of three other conclaves in 1935, 1950 and again in 1977. We have hosted one Executive Meeting and several Good Neighbor parties. Over the years, perhaps our Chapter's greatest contribution to girlfriendom has been the sponsorship of the Albany, Buffalo, Detroit and Trenton chapters.

 

New Jersey has also sponsored officers on the National-level: Marie Carpenter and Shirley Tolentino as Presidents; Rebecca Kingslow as Vice President; Marion West and Ivy Lambert as Secretaries; Carolyn Mitchell and Gwendolyn Barrington Jackson as Chatterbox Editors; Shirley Tolentino as Parliamentarian; Darlynn Lewis as secretary of the Girl Friends Fund; Margaret Haynes as a member of the Girl Friends Fund Board; Marilyn Bowser as a Nominating Committee member; and Joanne Sanders as a current Nominating Committee member.

 

Although in the beginning our aims were primarily social, we have since contributed to a number of charitable and educational causes including the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Crossroads Theatre, Urban League and the Shirley Tolentino Endowment and the Girl Friends Fund with an endowment from GF Juanita Humphrey.  We celebrated our 80th Anniversary October 28th, 2012. Our chapter has an extensive program for the year which includes our traditional Pajama Party, a biannual book club meeting, trips to the theatre and hosting the Good Neighbor party in September 2013.

 

We meet the first Saturday of the month from October to June with the exception of January, July and August.

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