On January 9, 1941, Mrs. Lottie Mae Hamilton along with a group of Fort Worth ladies met to begin the process of shaping the foundation and focusing on organization’s purpose. The organization’s founders intended to lift the moral standards of Fort Worth girls by presenting young college women as the epitome of womanhood to Fort Worth and to the world.
Bold and visionary, the charter membership was comprised of professional African American women who were actively involved in the Fort Worth civic community. The official motto adopted in 1941 was “Not For Ourselves, But For Others.”
The group’s first Debutante Ball occurred in Fort Worth on November 28, 1941 when twenty-two college-aged women were presented at the Pioneer Palace. During the period of time from 1943 to 1945, debutante presentations were cancelled due to World War II. On December 26, 1946, the Debutante Ball was resumed following the end of World War II. Twenty-two college-aged women were presented at the North Side Coliseum.
Later balls were held at Lake Worth Ballroom, Guys and Dolls Ballroom, The Texas Hotel Grand Ballroom, Hyatt Regency Hotel Grand Ballroom, Will Rogers Coliseum-The Round-Up Inn, Fort Worth Convention Center, Omni Hotel, Worthington Renaissance Hotel and Hurst Conference Center.
Following Mrs. Hamilton’s example of dynamic leadership and civic involvement, the Fort Worth Assembly has only been under the helm of the following ten presidents: Mrs. Beulah Yerwood, Mrs. Kathryn Glaze, Mrs. Mildred Scott, Mrs. Sophia Thomas, Mrs. Thelma Pennigar, Mrs. Hester McDaniel, Mrs. Mildred Sims, Mrs. Bonnie Winkfield, Mrs. Charlece Thomas James and the current president Ms. Angela Bell.
This iconic tradition has continued for over eight decades and The Fort Worth Assembly Balls are held annually during the December Holiday season.