HISTORY OF THE TENNESSEE CONGRESS OF PARENTS AND TEACHERS
A question is asked over and over when did Tennessee Congress of Parents and Teachers begin and the history. Perhaps over a hundred years ago, brave frontiersman with their wives and children pushed across the mountains of Tennessee and began a new community. Pioneer mothers were interested in gaining knowledge that would help them in care of their children as mothers and fathers do today.
There were those who attended the historic meeting in Washington in 1897. It was not long before Mothers Clubs began to be formed here and there. But it was not until 1911 that anyone became actively interested in forming a state branch of the National Congress of Mothers.
Mrs. G. H Robertson of Jackson, Tennessee, mother of four boys, began to work energetically with the United Charities of Jackson. Her activities took her into destitute homes where children were poorly cared for. There were no compulsory school laws at that time and no courts for children. Delinquent children were placed in jail with hardened criminals. Mrs. Robertson sought advice from a Judge Ben Lindsey. Mrs. Frederick Schoff president of the National Congress of Mother, hearing of this interest wrote and invited Mrs. Robertson to join the mothers at Memphis, who would soon be en route to Denver to attend the National Convention. No other Tennesseans were on the train or at the convention.
Mrs. Robertson returned to Tennessee filled with glee and high hopes of an organization in her own state. Mrs. Booker McKinnie, a teacher in the public schools in Jackson, offered her services and assisted in writing letter to educators, ministers, librarian, and civic leaders in the three sections of the state. Mrs. S.A. Mynders, who husband was Superintendent of the city schools in Knoxville, were consulted. Mrs. Eugene Crutcher of Nashville, president of a Mother Club and active in social welfare work, and Mrs. Thomas Scruggs of Memphis were also told the plans. The date for the meeting was set for January 24 and 25, 1911 in Nashville. A representative group of men and women from all parts of the state were present, and on the eve of the inauguration of Governor Ben Hooper the Tennessee Congress of Parents and Teachers was organized. The newly elected officers were platform guests when he accepted the governorship and were later entertained at dinner and a reception at the Governor’s mansion.