Founded on January 24, 1938, when Marion Stubbs Thomas invited 20 women friends to a meeting in her Philadelphia home, she probably didn't realize the potential impact of her action. Thomas, a concert pianist and mother, envisioned a social club that would connect her children with others from local Black families. She hoped to rally the visiting mothers to help provide cultural opportunities that the Great Depression and Jim Crow laws denied most young African-Americans.
The following statement was taken from an article by Mrs. Marion Stubbs Thomas (National Founder), which appeared in the first issue of the official publication Up The Hill of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated. She tells in simple and beautiful language of the start and rapid growth of Jack and Jill. She also expressed the ideas that Jack and Jill has followed since its initiation.
“It is with deep and, I hope pardonable pride that I look back over the first ten years in the life of Jack and Jill. When the first little group of us organized in January 1939 in Philadelphia, we were seeking to stimulate a social and cultural relationship between our children. When I contacted the mothers and suggested a meeting to discuss plans for our new club, they were all enthusiastic and responded in a manner which was heart-warming. Little did we dream at the time that this idea, which was so important and inspiring to us, would grow to such proportions. As new members were welcomed, and then new chapters formed, the aims and ideals of Jack and Jill were strengthened, always with our children as the focal point. To us as mothers it has become a means of furthering an inherent and natural desire – the desire to bestow upon our children all the opportunities possible for a normal and graceful approach to a beautiful adulthood. It is intensely satisfying to predict a nationwide group of mothers and children bound together by similar interests and ideals. As we grow in numbers and achievements, may we always keep before us the lofty principle upon which Jack and Jill of America was founded.”