History and Objectives of the National Society


History

The National Society had its beginning in 1931 when the Pennsylvania Huguenot Society (founded in 1918), the New Jersey Society (founded in 1922), and the Washington, D.C. Society (founded in 1927) joined together with several other organizations having common Huguenot interests to form The Federation of Huguenot Societies.

The Federation met in Washington, D.C. once a year, and grew slowly. By 1934 its members included Ohio. By 1937 California and Michigan had joined, and by 1946 West Virginia and North Carolina had become members.

On April 21, 1951, during the annual Congress of The Federation at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., a revised constitution was adopted and the name of the Society was officially changed from The Federation of Huguenot Societies in America to The National Huguenot Society. Member organizations approving these changes included not only member state societies, but also the French Church of Saint Esprit and the Huguenot Memorial Association. The move from a "federation" to a "society" was significant in that, for the first time, the member organizations agreed to delegate their individual authority to a centralized governing board and to abide by its decisions rather than consider any such central authority to be only advisory in nature as is true in a "federation." The Florida Society was the first new state to join this new structure, and now The National Huguenot Society is composed of over forty state member societies. The National Huguenot Society was incorporated in 1969 under the laws of the state of Maryland.

Although requirements for membership in different Huguenot organizations vary, membership in state member societies affiliated with The National Huguenot Society or as a Member-at-Large of the Society is dependent upon proven Huguenot lineage and remaining true to the Protestant faith.




Objectives

The objectives of The National Huguenot Society are patriotic, religious, historical, and educational. Their design is to perpetuate the memory, the spirit, and the deeds of the men and women in France known as Huguenots who were persecuted in the 16th and 17th centuries because of their adherence to the basic tenets of the Protestant faith and their devotion to liberty, and who emigrated either directly or through other countries to North America and contributed by their character and ability to the development of the United States.

To achieve these objectives, the National Society aims specifically:

  1. to coordinate activities of member societies and to promote and support fulfillment of their common purposes which include:

    • perpetuating the memory and promoting the principles and virtues of the Huguenots;

    • commemorating the great events of Huguenot history;

    • collecting and preserving historical data and relics illustrative of Huguenot life, manners, and customs;

  2. to give expression to the Huguenot tenets of faith and liberty, and to promote their understanding for the good and welfare of the United States;

  3. to encourage and foster the organization of new member Societies within states, territories of the United States, and the District of Columbia where none currently exist.

 

 

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