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Sojourner Truth Temple #1369 Makes History by Electing Mother and Daughter as Daughter Ruler and Vice Daughter Ruler

On October 9, 2021, Sojourner Truth Temple #1369 held its annual election. During this election, history was made. Past Grand Daughter Ruler (PGDR) Mary Washington Thomas was re-elected as Daughter Ruler and her daughter Shyla Washington was elected as Vice Daughter Ruler. This was the first time Sojourner Truth Temple #1369, in 32 years has had a mother and daughter as Daughter Ruler and Vice Daughter Ruler.

Mrs. PGDR Mary Washington Thomas, Daughter Ruler of Sojourner Truth Temple #1369 (right) and Ms. Shyla Washington, Vice Daughter Ruler

The history of Sojourner Truth Temple #1369 began when thirty-six young ladies who called themselves “Ladies of the ’90s,” were asked to form a temple. These ladies would be instrumental in the formation of Sojourner Truth Temple #1369. Mary Washington Thomas was approached by the Illinois/Wisconsin Association State President Tom Heard, Brothers Willie Collins, Tom Cayson, Jr. Watkins, and Charlie Simpson with hopes to organize another temple and asked Washington Thomas for her help. Debra Beck Bush, Gladys Hollingsworth, Barbara Little, Anissa Moore, Liza Ware, and Penny Whitaker, assisted her, to help accomplish this mission. The ladies also aided in selecting a name for the temple. Some of the names given were Mahalia Jackson, Harriet Tubman and finally Sojourner Truth, which was suggested by Catherine Evard. Sojourner Truth was chosen because she was a powerful woman. She was an abolitionist, the first woman orator who spoke out against slavery. She worked to improve conditions for blacks and helped find jobs and homes for slaves who escaped the South.

On September 8, 1990, the “Ladies of the 90s” was chartered and went on to become Sojourner Truth Temple #1369. On October 27, 1990, twenty-eight of the thirty-six ladies were initiated by the following Daughters of the Improved Benevolent Protective Order Elks of the World of the Illinois/Wisconsin State Association, Daughter State President Yvonne Brown, PGDR Vicki Ward, PGDR Ann Betts, PGDR Sandra Williams, and Grand District Deputies Ola Briggity and Grace Joyner. They were mentored by PGDR Luhenri Davis Johnson.

Today, the Daughters of Sojourner Truth Temple #1369, continue to work hard in serving their community and helping those less fortunate. Sojourner Truth has held many programs, including ICC Camp for the Kids, Christmas for Kids, Cakes for Seniors, Annual Black History Program, Annual Thanksgiving program feeding those who are less fortunate, Back to School Supplies, Easter Baskets and Halloween Trick or Treat. Sojourner Truth Temple #1369 is looking for women who would like to become part of the organization and serve the community.

If you are interested, you may contact PGDR Mary Washington Thomas at 309-404-5466 or mw369@lab.icc.edu.