A Brief History of the Charleston, SC Club of Washington, DC Area
The Charleston Club was organized in Washington, DC on the second Saturday in July 1948 (July 10, 1948). The purposes of the Club, which were agreed upon by the charter members, were to foster good relations and to keep in touch with all Charlestonians. The Club also participated in benevolent activities. These purposes and activities are still in effect today. The Charter members agreed that membership in the Club would include both husbands and wives as long as one party of each couple was a Charlestonian.
Edward M. Deas and William L. Magwood made contacts with all known Charlestonians who could be reached at the time. One of the highlights of meetings of the Charleston Club is to share news from home about friends and associates and to keep in touch with what is going on in Charleston – our hometown. The activities of the Club have included an annual Christmas Party, an annual Picnic in Rock Creek Park, worshipping together at various churches in the city, and making contributions to needy families at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Club has also contributed annually to the NAACP and has given a few scholarships to Charlestonians.
– Prepared by Charter Members: Edward M. Deas and William L. Magwood
An Extended View of The History of the Charleston, SC Club
The Charleston Club’s Founding Time Spirit
July 10, 1948, was a typical hot (humid) summer day in Washington, DC; 89⁰F. Two months earlier, May 1948, Israel became an independent state after Israel was recognized by the United Nations as a Middle East country. Ralph Bunche would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (1950) for having arranged a cease-fire between Israelis and Arabs during the war which followed the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.
It was an election year and both Republications and Democrats had their nominating conventions in Philadelphia. Serving out the unexpired term on the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, President Harry S. Truman was in “hot water,” he had labored for more than three years in the enormous shadow of F.D.R. Thinking he was a “gone goose,” all but the most optimistic Democrat did not expect President Truman to win his own presidential term. To the surprise of many, he did.
After a 12-year break due to World War II (1939 to 1945), the 1948 Olympic Games were triumphantly returning to London. No new facilities were built for these Games, but Wembley Stadium (built in 1923) had survived the war and proved adequate. No Olympic Village was erected; male athletes were housed at an army camp and women were housed in local college dormitories. Germany and Japan, aggressors of World War II, were not invited to participate in the Games.
In the world of sports, two weeks earlier (June 25th) at Yankee Stadium, Joe Lewis (Joseph Louis Barrow) knocked out Jersey Joe Walcott in the 11th round to retain his heavy weight title for the 25th time. Shortly after the bout, Louis announced his retirement from boxing. June 1948, Citation became the 8th horse to win the Triple Crown. In baseball, the Cleveland Indians were on their way to defeating the Boston Braves in the Fall Classic. In Game 5, a new World Series single game attendance record would be set (86,288 fans) during the appearance of Negro League legend, Satchel Paige, for the Cleveland Indians.
The stage was set, the “hard work” of getting all their Charleston friends notified was complete. Ed Deas and Bill Magwood, Jr. were ready to start their own “homies-only” Charleston Club. It wasn’t easy contacting everyone but, but they “done it!” All their Avery, Burke and I.C.S. friends (and spouses) were going to meet at the Park Road (NW) home of Bill and Kitty Magwood; it would be more social than business. They all knew each other from their schooldays in the Holy City. It was simply a matter of getting acquainted with their spouses. Charleston was not a “big city” then, census records showed Charleston with about 70,000 in city population. The meeting did not start “on time,” but that was not important. . .the meeting was “ON!” Minutes from that meeting is not available today, but we can be sure that a Good Time was had by one and ALL! The meeting lasted until the “wee” hours of that Sunday morning. . .and that was 1948! For years, FOOD was a major part of the Charleston Club meetings! For many years, non-members had to be “invited” by a member to join “The Charleston Club.” Meetings were held at members’ homes, on the second Saturday of the month, except during the summer. An annual summer picnic was always held at the house with the largest yard; there was always “people from Charleston” visiting D.C. for the summer.
In 1948, The Charleston Club started with 26 members, as of May 2020, membership fluctuates between 80 to 100, and growing. The Club is most proud to count among its members, Julia Magwood Harris, an original charter member who is honored and celebrated for her dedication and 72 years of sustained commitment to the club which her brother, William (Bill) L. Magwood, Jr., was instrumental in creating. Charter Member Harris continues to be actively involved in club matters, attending meetings, sharing ideas, information, knowledge, history, and documents. She is The Club’s most valuable asset.
On Mother’s Day, May 10, 2020, Charter Member Julia Magwood Harris was acknowledged as “Mother of the Charleston, SC Club” as recognition of her as the solid rock foundation upon which The Club has extended its growth and reach in all direction.
In reverence to her, the following prayer, based on one delivered in June 1889, by Rev. Orrin Stone, pastor of a little church in Charleston named the House of Jesus, was offered:
O Lawd, gib dy sarvint, Julia, dis Sunday mawnin’, de eye of an eagle dat she may see sin f ’om afar. Put her han’s to de gospel pulpit; glue her ears to de gospel telefoam an’ conneck her wid de Glory in de skies. ‘Luminate her brow wid a holy light dat will make de fiahs of hell look like a tallah candle. Bow her head down in humility, in dat lonesome valley wheah de pearl of truth is much needed to be said. Grease her lips wid possum ‘ile to make it easy fo’ love to slip outen her mouth. . .Turpentine her ‘magination; ‘lectrify her brain wid de powah of de Word. Put ‘petual motion in her arms. Fill her full of de dynamite of Dy awful powah; ‘noint her all ovah wid de kerosene of Dy salvation, an’ den, O Lawd, sot her on fiah wid de sperrit of de Holy Ghos’. Amen
Edward M. Deas President Wilmot Johnson Treasurer
William L. Magwood, Jr. Vice President Everett C. Cooke Business Manager
Goldie W. Claiborne Secretary John D. Roper Business Manager
Ernest E. Miller Financial Secretary
Martha Bianchi Cail Edna Johnson
Arthur Claiborne Wilmot Johnson
Goldie W. Claiborne Katherine C. Magwood
Everett C. Cooke William L. Magwood, Jr.
Orval G. Cooke Deas Middleton
Adeline C. Deas Elaine Middleton
Edward M. Deas Ernest E. Miller
Eric P. Edwards Ruth Miller
Marjorie B. Edwards Norma Morrison
Julia Magwood Harris Robert Morrison
Celestine Heyward John Daniel Roper
Hamilton T. Heywood Pearl Painter Roper