The Northeasterners, Inc. was founded in 1930 by Agatha Scott Davis the wife of General Benjamin O. Davis Jr., the second Black Brigadier General in the United States Air Force. She was impressed with some young, Black debutantes she met while traveling with her husband. The young women she met all seemed to have similar interests and backgrounds. To that end, Agatha thought it would a splendid idea to stay connected and network. Keeping that in mind, she contacted many of the young women and founded our organization. Agatha being the founder was elected as the first national president. The years of fun, frivolity and community service ensued.
At the first meeting held in June 1930 in New York City, the members selected the name the Gay Northeasterners to reflect the "bright, merry and gay" demeanor of the group. The women were known as Gays and their spouses were called Gaylords. Good times, travel and merriment were terms synonymous with the Gay Northeasterners. In 1979, the name was changed officially to the Northeasterners, Inc. Members are now referred to as Northeasterners and their spouses are Lords.
The first chapters were founded in New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. – New York City also serves as the national headquarters. The chapters expanded to include the cities of Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Connecticut and the state of New Jersey. Membership is by invitation only.
The goal of The Northeasterners, Inc. is to connect socially, stay abreast of cultural trends, serve the community and enjoy fun-filled times together. The present organization has a national constitution and individual chapters maintain their own bylaws. The various chapters meet at an annual National Convention held in different locations hosted by one of the local chapters. This weekend activity is planned for fun, fashion and food.
The Northeasterners is proud of many of its renown members – past and present. The organization continues to grow, in the tradition of other African American social organizations such as sororities and fraternities. It encourages young women to join and strive towards a standard of excellence and a commitment to community services.
Club records show various projects were organized on a small scale to aid society and educational causes. Some of these include an annual scholarship to Howard University, gifts to the Infantile Paralysis Library Project at Tuskegee Institute, contributions to the NAACP, the Urban League, the United Negro College Fund and the American Cancer Society and others.
The Northeasterners has a song the Gay Northeasterners Song which was written by Marion T.S. Thomas. The Gay Northeasterners Prayer was written by Julia Bradby Duncan. In 1983, a tribute song entitled O What a Gal was written by Virginia Lewis. Past and current publications generated include the Gay Echoes, the Gay News, the Northeasterners Bulletin and the National Newsletter.
Understanding the importance of preserving the legacy of the Northeasterners, it was agreed to have archives preserved at an African American scholarly institution. The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture was selected by the membership.
Members of Northeasters are proud and happy to be part of this unique and long-standing organization.