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Queen Esther Chapter No. 1, Order Of The Eastern Star, Prince Hall Affiliation Celebrates 125 Years

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton

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Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate and celebrate the Queen Esther Chapter No. 1, Order of the Eastern Star, Prince Hall Affiliation, of the District of Columbia, on the occasion of its 125th birthday.

The Queen Esther Chapter No. 1, Order of the Eastern Star, Prince Hall Affiliation, is a female organization that is part of Free Masonry, and was the first Eastern Star Chapter for women of color. It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to community involvement and improvement, the provision of scholarships for our youth, support of our public schools, and service to the indigent. The chapter was organized in the home of its founder, Sister Georgiana Thomas, on December 1, 1874 by Brother Thornton A. Jackson, Pythagoras Lodge No. 9., F. and A.M., who received the Degree of Adoptive Rite of the Eastern Star from Brother C.B. Case, a deputy and agent of Robert McCoy, 33 deg., the Supreme Patron of the Rite of Adoption of the World. The chapter's first Worthy Matron was Sister Martha Welch and the first Worthy Patron was Brother Thornton A. Jackson.

In 1875, Pythagoras Lodge No. 9, F. and M. presented the chapter with its first badges, known as Rosettes, emblems of power, honor, and ability. W.P. Thornton A. Jackson wished the chapter success and prosperity, and admonished the members to wear the badges with dignity, keeping ever before them the memory of the five heroines, Adah, Ruth, Esther, Martha, and Electa. Queen Esther Chapter was under the complete directives of Pythagoras Lodge No. 9 from 1874 until 1892, when the Georgiana Thomas Grand Chapter was organized.

The history of Queen Esther Chapter is rich in tradition and honors. The first among them being Sister Georgiana Thomas, P.M., after whom the Georgiana Thomas Grand Chapter was named, Sister Marie I. Smith for whom the Marie I. Smith Court of Cyrenes was named, and Phyllis S. Byrd, P.M. who became P.G.W.M., P.I.G.M., and after whom the Phyllis S. Bird Youth Fraternity was named.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the Members of this body to join me in wishing the Queen Esther Chapter No. 1, Order of the Eastern Star, Prince Hall Affiliation, a future that is as glorious as its past.