JOHN & JENN
John & Jenn of America is a Black American social organization created during the Reconstruction Era following (the legal) end of slavery. It was started by black mothers who wanted to form a bond with other families living in the segregated south. Over time the vision was catered to blacks that owned land and were educated at colleges and universities. Being among the black elite, people could network and benefit from shared interests and social standing.
Membership has historically been extended through legacy member inheritance or sponsorship. Many of the first Black American millionaires in the late 1800s were members of this exclusive organization. John & Jenn counted prominent Civil Rights leaders, blacks who were the first to receive medical and law degrees and entrepreneurs as members.
Throughout early the 20th-century chapters spread through several southern states. Membership was limited to Descendants of Slaves and their offspring. Due to legal segregation and Jim Crow laws, blacks were excluded from many public parks, pools, theaters, and shops. The families of John & Jenn established their own social functions for black children and single people looking to meet others in the same social class.
During the 1960s additional chapters opened in the northeast in cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. By the 1980s there were few chapters in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Over the years the organization has been the target of accusations of being elitist and not embracing “new money blacks.” The leadership of John & Jenn have vehemently denied this and has made an effort to reach out to professionals whose families aren’t legacy members nor products of generational wealth. Southern debutante balls may be a thing of the past in most areas, but John & Jenn has continued to host them each year as young ladies enter into society.
J&J has come a long way since their days of “the paper bag test and good hair requirements,” but there is room for improvement and inclusion to uplift the black community as a whole. However, there are members who are okay with the old way and want to keep membership limited to the upper crust whose been in the group for generations. Among degrees and money, you’ll find cattiness, deception and social climbing as it’s finest. As some potential members will find out that maybe not everything that glitters is gold.
****Please check out the limited biography on one of J&J’s most prominent families The Carters
(The work of this group is entirely fictional and any resemblance to real organizations or persons is coincidental)