To develop and support projects for foster children and youth and to respond to the educational and charitable needs of the African American community.
In 1949, The Children’s Home Society (CHS), a state-wide adoption agency, had 50 African American children in foster homes with no prospective adoptive parents to be found in the African American community. CHS contemplated discontinuing the service because homes could not be found for them. CHS appealed to the Urban League to secure homes before the service was discontinued. The acting director of the Urban League contacted two women prominent in the community who were well known as club organizers, Mrs. Laura Slayton and Mrs. Emily Portwig. They were given the task of forming an interracial auxiliary. In September of 1950, the Lullaby Guild held its first meeting and dedicated itself to forestalling CHS’ discontinuation of services to African American Children.
In 1950, a charter was granted this interracial group of women and the group became an official part of CHS. During the early years of the Lullaby Guild, the group concentrated solely on public relations regarding the adoption of children in the African American community. Members went to churches and clubs to interpret the programs of CHS and to get the African American community to understand the need for adopting – how it works to whether it works. In 1952, one of the Guild’s major projects was transporting babies from their foster homes to CHS for medical care. During the 1950’s, ‘60’s and ‘70’s, Guild members spent innumerable hours interpreting the work of CHS and finding adoptive homes for African American Children. Also, the members participated in the functions and activities of CHS, some members assuming leadership roles. With each new decade, the rules for adoption became less restrictive and more unmarried mothers chose to keep their babies.
In 1957, the first Ebony Fashion Fair was held in the Embassy Auditorium with a profit of $747.00. As the years advanced, the Ebony Fashion Fair’s popularity grew and by 1975, the Lullaby Guild had a total contribution of $162,984.00 to CHS. For years, the Hollywood Palladium became the mainstay for the Ebony Fashion Fair. Some years due to the show’s popularity, there were two shows. The Ebony Fashion Fair enabled the Lullaby Guild to donate record amounts of money to CHS over, $800,000. In 1978, the Lullaby Guild saw another problem facing the African American community, “children having children”. Early pregnancies were forcing many girls to leave school thus limiting their social and economic capabilities. At that time, CHS had diversified its adoption program due to the lack of babies to adopt. The Guild proposed to CHS a program to deal with the problems of human sexuality, a pregnancy prevention program. Also, the Guild felt that the proposal responded to the voiced concern that money raised in the community should benefit members of the community. CHS accepted the proposed project.
In 1970, the Human Maturity Project was installed in Edison Junior High School in the Los Angeles School District. Guild members were active participants in the project – co-producing instructional materials, showing healthrelated films, serving on panels, holding meetings with parents, etc. The project was so successful that it was made a statewide project of CHS. In 2000, The Lullaby Guild ceased being an auxiliary of CHS and became an independent and incorporated organization. The Guild retains its historical bond to CHS; however, it now contributes to other organizations in the community in addition to CHS. To date, the guild as supported the Institute for Black Parenting, Development Dynamics, United Friends of the Children, and CHS.
During 2004-2005, the projects committee of the Guild investigated other avenues for providing direct service by its members to meet community needs. With a $15,000 grant from UPS, the Guild was able to provide SAT/ACT workshops for high school students enabling then to receive higher scores on their tests. Higher scores will enhance their chances to be accepted to the colleges and universities. Guild members organize, coordinate and supervise the workshops.
On an individual basis, members will participate in tutoring and mentoring programs, focusing on assistance to children in foster care under the purview of CHS; Children, Youth and Family Collaborative; the Institute for Black Parenting ;and other children with needs. For the fourth year, a $2500 scholarship will be awarded in honor of Larry McCormick. Two additional scholarships will be awarded: $2000 in honor of Arcelle Thomas, a retired educator and $750 in memory of Ernest Boulton, math & science educator.