The Beginning: A National History of The Moles

 

The Moles, a club composed of friends, was organized in Norfolk, Virginia in October 1928 by Maxine Ferebee, Thelma Hill, Vivian Hucles and Naomi Johnson. These four friends enjoyed such a delightful Halloween of fun and friendship that they decided to invite nine other friends to join them for a second evening of fun. The friends who joined the group one week later at the home of Maxine Ferebee were Emily Sugar Alston, Kathryn Brown Bibbins, Marian Palmer Capps, Nellie Holmes Joyner, Aline Black Hicks, Roberta Moseley Lucas, Eva Tucker Moore, Elizabeth Turner Reid, and Maria Williamson Jackson. Each member of the group was young, engaged in the field of education and ready for fun and fellowship.

Such a marvelous time was enjoyed by each member that the decision was unanimous to form a club. At this meeting the group chose the name The Moles. The Moles became a Norfolk Club of a lively group of friends organized for fun, fellowship and community service. Community service as a purpose for a fun group was quite an advanced concept at this point in time. From that night on, there existed a spirit of sisterhood among all members of The Norfolk Moles as of 1928.


The fledgling Norfolk Moles donated the first operating table to Norfolk Community Hospital-a Black hospital – “called colored hospital at that time” – at a cost of $1,500, a stupendous undertaking at that time. Fundraisers of different kinds were used to secure the funds needed for the project. In addition, annual scholarships were given to high school graduates, baskets of food and clothing to the needy, funds to the Salvation Army, funds to a local clinic for indigent mothers and donations of funds to the home for tuberculosis patients in Burkeville, Virginia were among the community services rendered each year by this new Club known as The Norfolk Moles. These activities were additional opportunities for fun and fellowship. Let us not forget the Annual Spring Formal.


As the years passed, new members were added, members married and moved to other cities while some members moved to embrace new work experiences. Naomi Johnson, a founder, became Naomi Johnson Millender of Washington, DC and Rosalyn Palmer became Rosalyn Dixon, also of Washington, DC.


In the spring of 1949, the Norfolk, Virginia Chapter of Moles and their husbands, the Mules, were the weekend guests of Naomi Johnson Millender of Washington, DC. After being delightfully entertained on Saturday night with her Washington friends in the club room of the Charles Hotel, they all met at the home of Theodore and Ardis Johnson. The weekend closed at noon on Sunday.


As a result of this weekend in Washington, DC a desire emerged among the Norfolk Moles to have a Washington, DC Moles Club. Upon investigating the possibility or organizing such a group The Norfolk Moles sought legal advice. They were advised that to form such a group, The Norfolk Moles, as they then existed, would need to be incorporated under the laws of the State of Virginia. From the legal advice, The Norfolk Moles then in existence took the necessary steps to become incorporated.


Therefore in 1950, The Norfolk Moles – a local club- was incorporated in the city of Norfolk in the State of Virginia with the power to establish subordinate chapters. They were incorporated as The Moles. The charter members of the corporation were: Emily Alston, Sarah Ashe, Ernestine Bowser, Eunice Brickhouse, Lillian Brock, Margaret Chavious, Hermoine Ford, Mary Lou Henderson, Vivian Hucles, Celestine Porter, Thelma Pruden, Vivian Riddick, Aileen Spiller, and Cleo Washington. The plan was to have fifteen chapters. Washington, DC chapter became the second chapter of The Moles.


Thus the period 1928-1950, when The Norfolk Moles were “closed”, merged into a new period (1950) when the Norfolk Moles became The Mother Chapter of Moledom by which other chapters were sponsored. At this point, The Moles became a national organization which continues to thrive and grow, now thirty chapters strong.


The first conclave was held in Norfolk, May 26, 1951 at the Plaza Hotel, with members from Nor- folk, Richmond, Portsmouth and Washington in attendance. Vivian Hucles presided over the convention. The following officers were elected:


President..................................................... Celestyne Porter, Norfolk

Vice President.............................................. Naomi Millender, Washington Secretary..................................................... Ruth Johnson, Washington Treasurer..................................................... Beresenia Hill, Richmond Parliamentarian............................................ Cecelia Canady, Portsmouth Chaplain...................................................... Mary Lou Henderson, Norfolk Publicity Chairman..................................................... Sarah Ashe, Norfolk
 

Board of Directors:
Madeline Peters, Richmond; Vivian Riddick, Norfolk;  Ruth Waters, Portsmouth;

Rosalyn Dixon, Washington

The Seal of the organization is the Mole animal with the Motto “Enjoy Yourself; It’s

Later Than You Think.” inscribed in Latin. This seal is used on all official material

of the organization.

 

The Social Emblem is a cosmetic Mole worn on the left cheek.
 

The Molerama became the official communication organ in 1957; Sarah Ashe (Norfolk Chapter) was the publicity chairperson. It is published annually.
 

The National Song is M-O-L-E-S, with words and music by Mole Vergial S. Webb.
 

Husbands of The Norfolk Moles, wanting to be called by a special name, voted to substitute the letter “’u’ for the letter ‘o’” in the word Moles and become The Mules. If any other vowel were substituted the words Male, Mile, Mele would result. Not one seemed appropriate to the husbands; therefore “The Mules” was chosen.

Mole Mary Lou Henderson
(Norforlk Chapter)
Historian and Editor of the Moles History 1979

 


Mole Dr. Esther Page Hill
(Charlotte Chapter)
Editor of the Moles History,
1991 & 2009

​Chair, History Committee 2009





Mole Dr. Wanda Brockington
(Norfolk Chapter)
Chair, National History Committee
2009 – 2013