The Ambassadors... A Fort Worth Tradition

On Labor Day, 1947, several men met in the backyard James Patton, Sr., for the purpose of forming a group to support the Fort Worth Assembly and to honor the Assembly debutantes. The original group went forth to recruit other men who shared their vision and enthusiasm, assisting the Assembly.

Among the first and earliest members during the formation of the club were James Patton, Sr., Y. C. Shamblee, James B. Yerwood, Roy Brooks, Sr., Charles W. Norris, Sr., Dan Hamilton, A. Leroy Watson, Carl Wiley, Sam Griggs, William M. Berry, L.E. Trezevant, George Stevens, Jack Carter, Robert Whittaker, L. A. Perpenner, Nathan Powell, Benjamin Watson, K. W. McMillan, Jesse M. Burnet, Quincy Miller, and Eugene Cass.

The First officers of the Club were James Patton, Sr., President; James B. Yerwood, Vice President; Charles W. Norris, Sr., Secretary; Quincy Miller, Assistant Secretary; and William Berg, Treasurer.

On Monday, December 29, 1947, The Ambassadors Club held its first ball and party, honoring the Assembly debutantes at the North Side Coliseum.

In 1951, the Korean conflict claimed national attention, but another conflict brewed within the membership of the Ambassadors club: the conflict revolved around continuing to honor the Assembly debutantes or to start a tradition of introducing to Forth Worth society, the Ambassadors debutantes. Under the able leadership of President Charles W. Norris, Sr., history was made and a tradition was started. George Douglas Sutton Jr. was chosen as Debutante Chairman and on December 28, 1951, five young ladies were presented as Ambassadors' debutantes at the North Side Coliseum.

The Club's crest that appears on all the Club's pamphlets, letterhead and programs was designed by Robert Goodspeed, who at the time was a high school student and who later became a member of the Ambassadors. The Club Motto is Living to Help Others, and the creed is Education, and Progress. The lyrics to the Club song (sometimes referred to as the Club Hymn) was penned by Ambassador Clayton Mitchell in 1992, and since then has been a tradition for Ambassadors to sing at their annual Debutante Ball and after each official membership meeting.

Among those who have served with distinction as presidents of the club are James Patton, Sr., Charles Norris Sr., Y.C. Shamblee, Carl Wiley, Ernest M. Jones, George Stevens, George D. Sutton, Jr., Kerven Carter, Jefferson Davis Jr., William A. Hodge, Henry C. Johnson, Maxwell C. Scarlett, C. Y. Thomas, Garfield Thompson, Eddie G. Warren, Jerome Thomas, Sr., W. G. Wiley, Jr., Jerry Holmes, Harry Watts, Steave Powell, Robert A. Davis, Willie R. Heath Jr., Carl Fretwell and Donald Walker.

Members of the Ambassadors of Fort Worth, Inc. have been well-known men who have borne qualities of dignity, harmony, respect and regard. Despite the diversity of their vocations, they have been noted for a sense of purpose in holding high tenets of the past, but on the other hand, moving the organization ever onward and upward. Their calendar of activates includes not only the annual presentations of debutantes, but activates with Ambassadors' wives, relatives and friends.

Since 1999, the Ambassadors have contributed to non-profit and charitable organizations, such as The United Negro College Fund (UNCF), The National Advancement (NAACP) of Colored People, Jack and Jill, and local churches. During the summer of 2004, the Ambassadors of Fort Worth, Inc. established its Charitable Foundation, which serves a wider arena of possible donors to the newly formed Scholarship and Stipend program.

A significant and most noteworthy accomplishment has been the acquisition of a Club house located on the southeast corner of Illinois at W. Pulaski Street. The facility was purchased during the administration of President Jerome Thomas, Sr. Aaron Watkins was instrumental in securing the property, and Ambassador Past President Eddie Warren, who served as the Committee Chairman, along with other members, renovated the house.

Ambassadors who have added to the illustrious history of the Club as Debutante Chairmen are Ernest M. Jones, George Stevens, Steave Powell, Jr., Freddie Williams, James Sharpe, Harry Shaw, Carter Curtis, Robert Dixon, Jerome Thomas and currently Shawn Wiley.

Members of the Ambassadors of Fort Worth, Inc. are pleased with their accomplishments and are eagerly and readily anticipating the challenges that will inevitably come with the advent of the coming years and so the tradition lives on!