From the slavery era in the 19th century through to the second half of the 20th century, the majority of the colleges in the southern United States prohibited African Americans from attending. This unfortunate fact led to the formation of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) like Florida A&M University (FAMU) located in Tallahassee.
FAMU has a rich history, and a large alumni base in Northeast Florida. Jacksonville may be home to more “Rattlers” than any other city in Florida. This city is also home to one of the oldest FAMU alumni associations. The late Mrs. L.G. Coleman, Mr. Sinclair Evans, Mr. Claude Hilliard and the late Mr. W.D. Sweet, founded the J.R.E. Lee Alumni Chapter in the spring of 1933.
The chapter name honors the third president of the college, Dr. John Robert Edward Lee, Sr. Last week, the chapter elected their Board of Directors for 2019-2020. The organization’s installation ceremony was conducted by past president and former elected official Mia L. Jones, who shared words of wisdom and gave a charge for all alumni to stay involved and informed.
According to members, Jacksonville is one of the top alumni chapters in the southern region and the organization aspires to stimulate interest in supporting the university financially, morally and politically.
President Angela Freeman stated, “Communities around the state witness a shift for higher education when local students attend Florida A&M University.”
“We are humbled, grateful and most honored to serve another two-year term to service our future Baby Rattlers, so we will continued continue to strike,” she added.
Shown (l-r) President Angela Freeman, First Vice President Ashleigh Willis, Second Vice President Cicely Suttle, Treasurer Joyce Quaintance Couch, Financial Secretary Venetia Steward, Correspondence Secretary Veronica Brown, Recording Secretary Tamara Lemons, Business Manager Karen Britt, Reporter LaQuanda Paschal, Chaplain Elder Leroy Hutchinson, Jr., and Parliamentarian Dr. Frank Emanuel.