The First Black Sorority in Los Angeles

The First Black Sorority in Los Angeles

Roz Wyman, city’s youngest council member who helped bring Dodgers to L.A., dies at 92 She also was a crusader for the rights of Mexican Americans

In 1937, after an evening of boogie-woogie on the dance floors of the Colony, a white-only nightclub in the heart of South Los Angeles, six or seven young women decided to form a sorority, called the Loyola Daughters of the American Revolution. The group had a bright idea: to find a way to keep African-American girls away from white men at the Colony. Anxious about the way women, like white women, were often outnumbered, and fearful that the club might “become entirely white,” they decided that “each time our members of our group went to the Colony we would not only wear black dresses but black gloves.”

On that Saturday night, one of the women, Marceline “Nettie” Browning, had no black experience to speak of. But she had been a teenager in Oklahoma City before she met a man named Jack Rogers, a Baptist minister. They married, moved to Kansas, then came to Los Angeles, where Rogers had already created a new denomination, the Jehovah’s Witness. Rogers and Browning made the first African-American church in Los Angeles, called the New England Temple.

And so Nettie Browning became part of the first black sorority, a group that would continue to be influential until its early 20th-century demise.

Browning, now the wife of a dentist named John Wyman, is one of the four women who died Wednesday after a week-long hospitalization. One of the four, Ruth Williams, had lived most of her life between Kansas City and Los Angeles, including years of teaching at San Bernardino Valley College.

“Ruth didn’t ever really leave her roots for the life in Los Angeles,” said Wyman, who was among the first African-Americans elected to the Los Angeles City Council in 1955 and was the leader of the African-American group the Crusade for Human Rights. “She had three children there. But what I liked about her was she was

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