United Order of Tents


    The United Order of Tents is the oldest Christian fraternal organization organized entirely by women. The organization was founded by two slave women, Sister Annetta Lane of Norfolk, Virginia and Harriet R. Taylor of Hampton, Virginia in 1848. The United Order of Tents was designed to provide a "tent of salvation" for the African American community. The objectives of the Tents was to clean, feed, and to provide nursing care wherever necessary. The organization was mostly composed of registered and trained  practical nurses dedicated to sisterly love. In the 30's, 40's and 50's the organization would have a membership list of over 20,000 people. By 1940 the organization had assets that exceeded a quarter million dollars.  By supplying the community's medical needs and providing burial insurance for its members  the United Order of Tents would also remain instrumental in the continued success of the African American community in the 1920's. The United Order of Tents was able to survive through the depression years because people came to the organization for help and eventually joined the group. 

   Qualifications for membership included all women who believe in God , with good moral character between the ages of 16 and 50 years of age, provided they are free from bodily ailments which would be burdensome to the organization. Girls between the ages of 2 and 16 are eligible to take the juvenile classes. The United Order of Tents currently maintains its headquarters on Church Street in Norfolk, Virginia.