In the 1950’s groups of women were forming to establish social networks across the country. One such group, led by Amanda Webb in New York, eventually became the PIVOTS. In May 1959 a second chapter was formed in Pittsburgh, PA., and the PIVOTS became incorporated in 1962. At the Cleveland Convention in 1974 the Constitution was officially adopted. By 1975 the PIVOTS had installed chapters in nine cities. The Detroit PIVOTS were organized by 1961 and chartered in Boca Raton in June, 1975. Because they included ladies from Canada and the United States, they were known as the Windsor Chapter. Included in that PIVOT group were: Barbara Wilson, Rose Perkins, Urcelle Briggs, Adelaide Miller, Minnie Morgan, Helen McAfee, Trudy Ulmer, Wanda Washington, Nora Persons, Catherine Blackwell, Gladys Johnson and Helen Robinson. In 1975 the PIVOTS were reorganized as the CARATS. The Detroit Carats, Inc. held and induction of its chartering chapter in 1975 at the home of Barbara Wilson; who was elected as our first president. At this time there were eight chapters in the national organization: Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Macon, New York and Washington, D.C. The name CARATS meant:
C Conscientious; A A Thirst; R Resolute; A Avid; T Transitive; S Sagacious
Our Motto was, “To be as one in all of our dealings, radiating truth, honesty and fellowship.”
Our Creed was, “To embrace the most worthwhile principles of our communities.”
Mrs. Amanda Webb was the National President and Helen Robinson of Detroit was the Second Vice-President.
Four of our charter members are still involved with our chapter: Martha Brown, Clementine Foster, Rose Perkins and Barbara Wilson. The other charter members were: Evelyn Bibb, Darralyn Bowers, Urcelle Briggs, Gloria Harris, Lois Hill, Johnnie Hunter, Celeste Hurley, and Gladys Johnson, Virginia Little, Helen McAfee, Adelaide Miller, Maybelle Moore, Nora Persons, Helen Robinson, Claudia Travis Hamilton and Wanda Washington.
We celebrated our chartering with a beautiful fashion show, chaired by Helen Robinson, in which the Carats were models. The fashion show was commentated by our beloved Forever Carat Gladys Johnson. It was a rave, and the Carateers were lined up in the hallway to get peeps! The show was featured in our local paper.
We held our first Conclave of, The Carats, Inc.., in 1976, at the Ponchartrain Hotel. Our theme was, “The Spirit of ’76; Detroit, The Motor City.” Carat Barbara Wilson was President. We received greetings from The Honorable Coleman Alexander Young, Mayor of the City of Detroit. His sister-in-law is currently in our chapter.
We have hosted four National Conclaves: 1976, 1984, 1992, and our fourth Conclave was held in 2007 at the Hyatt-Regency Hotel in Dearborn, Michigan.
Detroit has contributed two National Presidents: Adelaide Miller in 1978; she was the guiding force behind the Detroit Carats. Martha Brown has continued Adelaide’s inspiration, and was elected in 1994; she also served as National Treasurer, National Financial Secretary, National Second Vice-President and National First Vice-President. Sandra Kent, our current National Vice-President (2010) has served two terms in that office. Additional National offices held by our members: two Second Vice-Presidents: Alma George-Finch, M.D. (2004) and Patricia Solomon (2006). Patricia Solomon has been National Recording Secretary twice, in 1998 and 2000. She was first elected under Jane Woods-Miller’s administration, and then appointed by Virginia Stanley (to replace a secretary who was ill and unable to carry out the duties). Mary Lou Sutton has served as 1st Vice President, and Alma George-Finch, M.D., has served as Chair of the Nominating Committee, Teola Hunter has served as Parliamentarian and Evelyn Robeson has served as Sergeant-at-Arms.
Detroit sponsored one chapter into the National Carats, Inc.: the Chesapeake Belles, in 1999, when Patricia Solomon was our local president and our National Recording Secretary. Most of the members of our chapter attended the installation.
Our General Member is: Rose Perkins, Plano, TX. Our two Emeritus Members are: Barbara Wilson and Mary Lou Sutton. Our Forever Carats are: Gladys Johnson, Adelaide Miller, Maybelle Moore, Christine Miller and Sophie Womack.