The African American community has a long tradition of charitable events and activities. A history of successful business owners, entrepreneurs and thriving, educated middle class afforded many citizens to share their wealth and resources to help others who were overwhelmingly effected by limited access and discrimination. These events in the Black community assisted the larger community with healthcare, housing, education, living expenses and capital building projects, when the larger society denied African Americans the rights to things we take for granted now, such as, the Right to Vote, land ownership and inheritance, education, and access. In spite of these obstacles, the Black community has persevered through networking, shared resources, and economic cooperation. A large portion of these activities happened during social events and formal activities, namely, cotillions and debutante balls. It was at these events that those African Americans who had the means to expand their wealth were able to meet with other successful African Americans, and make social and political and economic connections.
Today, these functions hold the same underlying principles, though the role and players have expanded to include anyone who supports these causes.
There are still two opinions to the formal cotillion and debutante ball: 1) It has outlived it’s purpose of networking, and 2) It still thrives as a viable outlet for those seeking success to participate in one of the most traditional vestiges of the African American middle-class. I am here to defend and promote the latter.