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THE MONDAY CLUB is the oldest Black Men’s Social Club in the state of Delaware. It is believed to be the oldest in the United States. The club was started in 1876. In those days the Black men of the community would stop in a hotel at Front and French Streets for some small talk and a few drinks on their day off--Monday. Monday was special to those men who worked as butlers, cooks, coachmen, janitors and chauffeurs for the wealthy people in the city of Wilmington and the surrounding suburbs.
The group finally purchased a building at 917 French Street, and named it the Monday Club. In 2002, the Monday Club moved to 4020 New Castle Avenue. The corner-stone date of 1896 marks the year the first charter was granted from the state Delaware. The club members acted as an employment agency for the wealthy families. The experienced members of the club instructed fellow members on how to serve large and small dinners and to prepare food attractively for parties.
In 1893, another tradition was established, The Easter Monday Ball. It was always held on Monday. Today, it is on the Saturday before Easter. At the Ball, the Monday Club Man of the Year is named. This honor is bestowed on a member who has made the greatest contribution to the club and/or community. The winner’s name is kept secret until the night of the ball.
Although the Monday Club is a private social club, it accepts the civic responsibility of providing financial assistance and human services to all worthy causes. Today, the members are no longer just butlers, cooks, coachmen, janitors and chauffeurs. Our membership today includes Black men who are employed in all levels of the job spectrum. Memberships available are: Regular and Honorary. The most honored and distinguished group of members are those who have been a member thirty or more years.
Once a man is accepted as a member, he can join the other members, in signing “Ring those bells in dear old Wilmington let them peal both loud and long gather round, now altogether the Monday Club is two hundred strong”.