Organized in 1867 by two ex-slaves, Annetta M. Lane of Norfolk, Virginia and Harriett R. Taylor of Hampton, Virginia. The United Order of Tents is a Christian Fraternal Benevolent Organization managed predominately by black women. Its membership spans Georgia, North Carolina, District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. The Order was incorporated on June 17, 1883, by the Circuit Court of the city of Norfolk as “The J. R. Giddings and Jolifee Union” and began operations as such. Through error, the Corporation became popularly known by its present name and on June 28, 1912, a charter amendment was granted changing the name. The Order was first licensed as a fraternal benefit society in 1906 and has continually operated as such.The entire history of the organization displays a record of providing shelter and service to people who are unable to care for themselves. In 1897, the United Order of Tents, Southern District No. 1 established a sixteen (16) bed home for adults. It was named Rest Haven Home for Adults. The home was operated with a hands on approach by our management and Tent Sisters. The home was primarily set up for our members as a our sisters without family members to care for them when they reached their golden age; however, the number of sisters that needed this service were so few that the home was opened men and women not of the order. The home operated for one hundred and five years being subsidized by annual contributions given by the Tent Sisters and carried no debt at its closure February 22, 2002.
On March 24, 1994, Housing and Urban Department (HUD) awarded a $2,736,000.00 grant to the United Order of Tents, Southern District No. 1 to build forty-eight (48) units of housing for the elderly in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. It was named the Bullock-McLeod Apartments.
The applications for Fund Reservations represents the organization’s first request for funds outside its membership in its history. Tow other grants were awarded to us from Housing and Urban Department (HUD) to build forty (40) units in Norfolk, Virginia called Annette M. Lane Apartments and funds to build forty-one (41) units in Danville, Virginia called the Hairston and Johnson Apartments.
The Order has provided services to the minority community of the Southeastern United States on a continuous basis. The services have taken many different forms over the past centuries and have addressed community needs appropriate to the times. The Order has supported Christianity and mission work in Africa, India, Liberia, Guyana, and South America through the Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention.
The Order’s Headquarters serves as a clearinghouse for funds raised by members and distribute them to organizations whose goals and purposes match their own. Such as the United Negro College Fund, Sickle Cell Anemia Research Fund, Special Olympics, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Shaw University Divinity School, and many other charitable organizations. Also we have offered as many seven scholarships a year to deserving students to attend an accredited institution of their choice for four (4) years with a maintenance of “C” or above grade average.
We believe that it is our duty as Christians and citizens of the United States of America to do all within our power to assist in attending to the sick, to raise in the heart a fountain of purity and love such as will be a joy to the living and a source of consolation to the bereaved.
We believe it is our duty to encourage the youth in seeking their highest potential, to care for the aged, respectfully bury the dead, promote sisterhood and love among ourselves and our posterity, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God.