The ladies of “The Group” organized and maintained a close-knit relationship for many years prior to being chartered into CARATS, Inc. Most of the friendships had existed since childhood; some ties were familial.
Included among these charming, talented, prestigious and innovative ladies were school principals, administrators, an attorney, a psychologist, school counselors, teachers, a housewife, a school board member, and a retired school administrator.
The interests of these individuals were quite varied. Hobbies and avocations included traveling, handicrafts, public speaking and performances, reading, people watching, gourmet cooking, gardening, and games of chance.
From grandmothers to mother of nursery school students, the age range of “The Group” was early thirties to early fifties. Among them, there were eighteen children, with the largest family unit comprised of three off springs.
These “involved” ladies were socially and professionally affiliated with such organizations as Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta, and Iota Phi Lambda sororities, Jack and Jill, The Links, MRS Club, AAUW, Black Nurses Associations, Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society, and the National Alliance of Black School Educators, among others. They were also quite active in community and church affairs.
The men in their lives struck an aura of prominence of their own. Among them were a City Attorney, a judge, a public school principal, a newspaper editor and publisher, a banker, businessmen, and educators.
Carats Carolyn Stubbs and Carole Preston of the Washington Chapter of CARATS, who were friends of Beatrice Reeves from “The Group,” suggested that “The Group” consider becoming members of CARATS, Inc. This was a neat fit because of the similarity of purposes and interests – enjoying and developing dimensional friendships. On September 19, 1981 “The Group” formally requested affiliation with CARATS, Inc. They were sponsored by the Washington Chapter and Chartered in October of 1982. The charter members of the Miami Chapter were the following: Winifred Beacham; Frances Chambers; Mary Ingram Cooper; Alice Harrison; Carmen Jackson; Catherine Mapp; Shirley McKoy; Rosemary Murray; Beatrice Reeves; Mildred Shatteen; Catherine Wells; and, Frederica Wilson.
The Charter members who are currently active members of the Miami Chapter are Carmen Jackson and Rosemary Braynon. Alice Dean Harrison is a Forever Carat.
Over the years, Miami CARATS have held two Conclaves, Tropigala I and Tropigala II. Both Conclaves brought the National Group into the lush beauty, elegance and exotic lifestyles of South Florida. Together, Miami CARATS have enjoyed wonderful camaraderie. The Chapter has cruised the Caribbean, attended several art openings, dined at some of South Florida’s finest restaurants, shared outstanding cultural events, and held annual fashionable Galas to be shared with our closest friends.