The late Marion Stubbs Thomas founded Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated on January 24, 1938 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Twenty mothers came together to discuss creating an organization to provide social, cultural and educational opportunities for youth between the ages of two and nineteen. In 1946, ten chapters were involved in the national restructuring process. Constitution and bylaws were drawn up and the organization was incorporated under the laws of the state of Delaware.
Today, Jack and Jill boasts over 230 chapters nationwide, representing over 40,000 family members. Each chapter plans annual programming activities guided under a national theme. Through service projects, Jack and Jill of America creates a medium of contact for children to stimulate their growth and development.
“To us as mothers, it [Jack and Jill] has become a means of furthering an inherent and natural desire …to bestow upon our children all the opportunities possible for a normal and graceful approach to a beautiful adulthood.”
Marion Stubbs Thomas
The National Headquarters is located in the Strivers Section Historic District, just north of the Dupont Circle Historic District. The Strivers Section Historic District was designated in 1983 and is the newest of the four districts.* It takes its name from the impressive row of Edwardian townhouses built in 1902-1904 along the 1700 block of U Street. Long called “Strivers Row,” this block has been described as “perhaps the most significant symbol of the assertion of black Washingtonians around the turn of the century.” As one black resident of more than 60 years put it, “Strivers Row gave everybody a chance to buy into the respectability of Dupont Circle. That block along U Street meant we have arrived.”
Since the 1870s, the area has been associated with black leaders in business, education, government, and the arts. The most important of these figures was Frederick Douglass, a former slave, abolitionist, writer, and diplomat – who, in 1876-76, built three of the second-empire-style row houses that still survive at the corner of 17th and U Streets. Aviator Charles Lindbergh resided near this corner during the 1920s. In addition, within three blocks is the oldest Black Catholic Church in the U.S., local fire and police departments.
* The four historic districts include — Dupont Circle Historic District, Massachusetts Avenue Historic District, Sixteenth Street Historic District, Strivers Section Historic District.