The Les Gemmes, Inc. Founders Story
Les Gemmes, Incorporated (French; means “the Jewels, and pronounced “lay gem”), was founded in September, 1955 in Norfolk, Virginia by four young ladies who had grown up as friends from childhood. Attending HBCUs in North Carolina and Virginia, Melvine Blakeley, Lena Siler, Queenie Branch, and Inez Mercer Brown were educators as well as visionaries. However, it was in the interest of socializing and monetary saving that they envisioned a club which would ultimately affect positive change, encourage high scholastic achievement, and foster a greater sense of unity among its members.
Les Gemmes, Inc. has chapters located in Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, The District of Columbia and numerous other states. Please visit the national website for more information. (Click Here)
Membership is open to women who are at least 21 years of age and who subscribe to the mission of the Organization. Our chapters carry out its program of activities based on mandates set forth by the National President and the National Board of Directors. Examples of some of the activities in which chapters of the Organization have undertaken or sponsored have been community health fairs including a variety of screenings with emphasis on bone marrow and blood drives; breast cancer and heart disease awareness; scholarships for high school seniors; youth and girls mentoring and tutoring; arts related activities; volunteer service with Habitat for Humanity; transportation to voting polls; and volunteer services and assistance for seniors and senior residence facilities.