In 1894, a group of African American residents from the Bay St. Louis area drew up the bylaws for a civic minded organization, which they named The Hundred Members Benevolent Debating Association (aka 100 Men DBA). In 1922, the 100 Men Hall was built and dedicated in 1923.
In 1982, the organization disbanded and the Hall was transferred for the first time to white owners. It passed through three owners before being purchased in 2018. The original nonprofit was resurrected with a women-led membership named the 100 WOMEN DBA, an organization that supports the preservation and maintenance of the Hall and a similar mission to the original members.
The 100 Men Hall is a 501c3 and has access to scholarships, mentorship, and other grants as needed as well as the ability to harness the strong support of 100 women membership. By December 2020, our goal is to have 100 women sustaining 100 Men Hall, as well as a broad business mentorship/network for underrepresented women in Hancock County.
In sustaining the 100 Men Hall, the 100 WOMEN DBA is preserving a historic landmark and continuing its mission to support the community. By choosing to focus on women, the 100 WOMEN DBA reimagines the original 100 Men DBA that sought to help and heal a community through self-reliance and music. The 100 WOMEN DBA acknowledges that no progress could have been made without the daily actions of countless unheralded women who make magic happen.
To become a member of 100 WOMEN DBA, you may sign up here - dues are $30/month or $360/annually. The dues support the 100 Men Hall where operating costs for the Hall are $35,000 annually. Each member gets complimentary entry into any Hall event. By supporting the Hall, the nonprofit will support underrepresented women in our community.
There is another level of support at $100/month for those who are able. You may sign up here - dues are $100/month or $1200/annually.
If you are a woman of color and interested in the 100 WOMEN DBA helping you start or grow your business, please fill out this application to see if you qualify. Thanks!