Society Celebrates 125th Anniversary

Members first row l-r: Sandra Claytor, Cathy Keith, Sharon Wooden, Deborah Jones, Alva Enoch, Sarah Sawyer, Judy Brown. 2nd row l-r: Merle King, Joyce Bolden, Jennifer Clement, Sylvia Long, Francine McLaughlin, Carolyn Shovely, Rochelle Loritts, Pat W. Henry, JoAnne Poindexter, Stella Carpenter, Jill Elliott, Brenda Delbridge, Carolyn Barrett, Marla Burch and Melinda Payne.

At the turn of the 19th century, when hospital care was not available for Roanoke’s Black population, a group of women formed an organization, “The Ladies United Aid Society’ in 1893 as a benevolent organization. The Society was chartered 6 years later in 1899 and signed by Judge John W. Woods and the founding member.

Chartered members were Rachael Harth, Mary Evans, Jennie Thomas, Susie Oliver, and Mary L. Brooks. In 1899, the membership consisted of 7 members, today it’s 33. Ms. Lessie Polk now at age 101, is the oldest active member of the Society! The members live in Roanoke city and county, Salem, and the Botetourt, Tidewater, Northern Virginia areas and Michigan. The Society does not participate in fundraisers.

On March 15, 2018 the Society celebrated its anniversary by presenting some of its records to the Gainsboro Library to be maintained in its archive.

JoAnne Poindexter is anniversary chair; Deborah Jones, president.