Civitan International in the United States is a product of a group of professional and business leaders who often held meetings at Birmingham as part of the national civic club. The national civic club was mainly founded on personal gain. In a meeting in 1917, the group of professional and business leaders reformed the club into one that would serve the needs of the community and the world at large.
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The group of men all held the thought that their actions would assist in building the community and world. The newly formed independent service organization formed on March 17, 1917, was named Civitan, which was derived from the Latin word civitas that meant good citizenship. This explains its mottoBuilders of Good Citizenship. The reformation of the Civitan club into the Civitan International in April 15m 1920 was mainly influenced by the club’s third president, Dr. Courtney Shropshire. Dr. Courtney doubled up as the club’s president and local surgeon. The elected leaders of the international club were Rev. J.A. MacSporran as the vice president, John Fry as the treasury, and John Mix as the secretary.
The Civitan International club introduced a 1’oclock weekly Friday meeting at the Emerson Hotel whose membership is limited to one representative of every profession or business (The Baltimore Sun, 1921). Since 1921, the leaders who have spoken in the luncheon include Col. Arthur F. Woods who urged the members to take advantage of the unemployment problem in the United States, Mayor Broening who substituted Howard Jackson, C. T Marshall Chief Justice of the U.S Supreme Court of Ohio who urged citizens to corporate in order to end the menace facing America, the Brazilian Consul George William Chester who remarked that the developed of international trade resulted from the abolition of slavery in 1880, Miss Edith M. Kempothorne who introduced the Camp Fire Course to train leaders, A.M Free of California who suggested that women were the reason for the unrest in the United States, and Bishop John Gardener who urged workers to donate to worthy courses only (The Baltimore Sun, 1921; The Baltimore Sun, 1922; The Baltimore Sun, 1923; The Baltimore Sun, 1925; The Baltimore Sun, 1924; The Baltimore Sun, 1925).
Several other clubs were formed across the United States in the following years with the Birmingham Civitan Club as the Mother Club of the Civitan International. In 1921, the Civitan Club acquired its charter from the national body. (The Baltimore Sun, 1921). During the first convention in 1921 held in Birmingham, the international club had a total of 30 clubs and over 300 delegates. In the second convention, the club had further grown into 115 clubs and over 3,300 civitans in 1925. During the second convention, Shropshire was given the titleFounder of Civitan International because of leading the international club for two terms as president.
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