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Psi Omega Chapter, represented by Chenita Daughtry, and Boston Pearl Foundation, represented by Kathy Lucas, appeared on Basic Black and had the opportunity to share their perspectives regarding Cotillions. The cotillion is a formal social dance that began in the early 18th century Europe by French royalty. Later it became popular in England among families of nobility and white families in the United States of great wealth, especially in the South. In the early 20th century, some affluent black families adapted the tradition. At the dance girls were introduced to society, primarily the family’s social and business network. The goal was to prepare the girls to find husbands. During a training period they practiced good behavior, learned dining etiquette, basic dance steps, and how to dress. The training, dance, and presentation transformed the girls into debutantes. By the 1940s national black fraternities, sororities, civic and social organizations formed the black social structure in our communities. Through local chapters the cotillion gained popularity, included girls from varied socioeconomic backgrounds, and featured self-confidence and leadership skills.

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