Palm Leaf Club (Left to Right) First Row: Jean Palmer, Evelyn Beatty, Betty Adkins, Edna Kersey, Vida Vest, Geraldine Kersey. Second Row: Margaret Russell, Ethel King Neely, Florence Harris, Bessie Starks, Bessie Newton, Yvonne Williams, Glena Starks. Third Row: Gertrude Francois, Doris Smith, Hazel Reed, Grace Aray, Anna Van Slyke, Estelle Low, Mazerline Moore, Gladys Benon, Martha Jackson; Ypsilanti, MI circa 1956.
The Palm Leaf Club was founded in 1904 by the female parishioners of the Brown African Episcopal Methodist Church at the corner of Buffalo and South Adams Streets to pay off debts associated with the building’s construction. After the debts were paid, the Palm Leaf Club continued as an independent charitable and social organization, often focusing on the needs of the community’s young through day care and tutoring programs. As host to an annual tea, the Palm Leaf Club became the leading women’s societal organization of Ypsilanti’s African American community. Beginning in 1940 the Palm Leaf Club has organized an annual scholarship for local youths. In 2004, the Palm Leaf Club celebrated its 100th anniversary. The Palm Leaf Club organized the purchase of the home at 319 South Washington as a meeting place for the Ypsilanti Association of Black Women’s Clubs.