The 20th Century Onyx Club, Inc. | Our History | Ventura County

The 20th Century Onyx Club, Inc., is a non- profit orginzation for women of African American decent in Ventura County. The organization was founded in 1961 by Mrs. Ruth Gibson of Ventura, California. It is a civic and social organization whose membership is comprised of Women in the Ventura County

The 20th Century Onyx Club sponsors an annual debutante ball, a cotillion, young ladies of African-American heritage are formally presented to society. The 20th Century Onyx Club mission and goals is to empower and enrich young women with leadership and etiquette training, opportunities for community service, and expose them to cultural arts and workshops designed to assist them in career choices to become productive members of the African- American community and society.

Young women usually selected are recognized and exhibit high scholastic achievement. Participants are actively involved at their school and in the community; and are poised and well rounded. All Debutantes, at the time of their presentation, are either high school juniors, seniors or freshmen in college.

In 1963, the 20th Century Onyx Club hosted their first Debutante Ball. They introduced eight girls to the community who have since made significant contributions to the progress of our flourishing society. The first debutante court consisted of 12 young women. Ms. Daisy Tatum was selected as the first debutante queen and Ms. Edie Koontz – Ballard a debutante was the first scholarship recipient. Now 50 years later the 20th Century Onyx club has assisted in grooming approximately 300 young ladies. These women have become doctors, principals, attorneys, and other other highly respected professions.

In 2009, the 20th Century Onyx Club debutante court was featured in a film documentary “The girls in the white dresses”. The documentary is about African-American debutantes in Southern California. The film highlighted the history of the debutantes, their positive impact in the community, and how the participants were changed by their experience.

In 2015 the 20th Century Onyx Club, Inc. is celebrating serving our youth and community for 52 years.

Members of Twentieth Century Onyx Club at the first Cotton Ball : 1964 ; the Cotton Ball was for young ladies in the 9th and 10th grades ; L to R: Mary Jordan, Mildred Morrison, Marguerite Milton, Margaret Tatum, Olga Camper, Lona Fountain, Elsie Kelley, Geraldine Mantooth, Gwendolyn E. Hunt, Thelma Calhoun, Ruth Gibson, Mattie Adams and Martha White.

Let's change the world, Join us now!

Meetings are held the 2nd and 4th Tuesday every month at 6:30pm.
We are out of session July through August.

For more information about the 20th Century Onyx Club, Inc., how to become a Debutante or a sponsor please fill out the form below. And one of the members will contact you to answer all of your questions.