History and Progress of the Searchers Organization
The Searchers organization began in Los Angeles, California in 1961. The organization was borne out of a group of “Home Folks” from El Dorado, Arkansas under the leadership of W. C. Robinson. After discovering how many “Homies” were residents in the Los Angeles area, this group began to plan activities to bring everyone together and continue searching for others across the country. This was the DREAM of W. C. Robinson, who was now the President of the Searchers Social & Charity Club of Los Angeles. As more homies heard of the home folks gathering, a dream began to develop. Mr. Robinson began to visualize groups of home folks being organized throughout the states in order to stay in touch and keep the “HOME” connections alive…OUR ROOTS.
During the next few years these gatherings continued in the Los Angeles area. The dream was becoming closer to reality. The first step in the growth expansion began with a Memorial Day Holiday Dance at the Holiday Inn in Emeryville, CA, a Northern California city in the East Bay near Berkeley and Oakland. The call went out for all Northern California home folks to gather at the Inn for what was to become a historical event. With the assistance of the Searchers of Los Angeles, this event was a hugh success–standing room only–hundreds gathered together, many in attendance hadn’t seen each other for several years. This prompted the continuance of the dream. The idea of annual reunions began to develop.
In 1975, the Searchers of Los Angeles hosted the first reunion at the former Airport International Hotel in Los Angeles. Many were in attendance from all over the states. The dream was now a reality. “Home Folks gathering together from everywhere.” During this reunion, Mr. Robinson presented the idea of “Going Back Home” for Bicentennial Celebration on July 4, 1976. This idea was well accepted and thousands traveled back home. The Searchers of Los Angeles and the Booker T. Washington High School Alumni Association hosted a great celebration.
The Searchers organization began to expand to other states–Arkansas, Washington, Michigan and Northern California. Presently, there are five (5) chapters of this very fine, nonprofit organization.
The focus of the organization is to assist with the education of as many young people as possible. All the chapters have scholarship funds and many scholarships have been awarded. Each chapter participates in respective community projects. Some of the projects have been as follows: Little League Softball team in the Seattle area; Omega Boys Home in Oakland and many families with emergency needs supported by the Northern California Chapter. Support from several chapters have gone to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). The National Office has given an annual $500 scholarship award to the Arkansas Baptist College and more recently awards have been given to assist a Fisk University student.
We thank the patrons and friends of the Searchers organization. Without you, we would not have the success we enjoy at our many functions. YOU ARE a very important part of this network. Thank you for your continued support.
SEARCHERS–we have come a long way TOGETHER, but we still have goals to reach. We must stay focused on our purpose.
Written by Ida J. Grace