top of page

The Midnighters 



Charms, Incorporate has a rich history dating back

to its founding in 1952. Our founders were a small

band of young Pittsburgh women who because

of their busy lives, meet once a month to socialize

and catch up on the news in and about Pittsburgh.

The ladies usually gathered late in the evening,

they jokingly referred to themselves as

“The Midnighters.”  


For many Americans, the 1950s evokes images of

tree-lined streets, kids riding their bikes through

pristine neighborhoods and women in heels and skirts

making dinner, vacuuming the house and doing the wash;

televisions shows of the era like the "Donna Reed Show", "Leave it to Beaver", and "Father Knows Best", reinforce these stereotypes. As a result, many believe that women seldom worked outside the home during that decade.


However, because of labor shortages during World War II many women had entered the workforce. and in the post-war era they continued to work for various reasons although many were forced to move into more traditional fields. Women comprised 29% of the work force and as the decade went on that number only increased. 


Although there were women working  in traditionals roles, African-American women were mostly relegated to working as domestic servants with often long hours, and performed physically demanding work for very low wages. 


Mrs. Lavera Edward Hord, along with a majority of her friends like Laura Stewart and Betty Watkins along with other acquaintances, band together to not only form a women's organization, but at the same time they were also a part of history. They 

saw a need for a group which would be different from the others. She said to her friend, "Let us form an organization that shall be kind alike to all and think more

of a girl's inner self and character than of her personal appearance."


The Midnighters decided to formally organize and select a name for themselves. 

The choosing of the name was a joint decision. Inspiration came from a variety of sources: Egyptian lore, Hindu mysticism, and reflection on the wide and various interests of Native Americans' strength and endorance.


Never before had a social organization been founded so completely and with such depth of meaning; From the very beginning a vote was taken; "Squaws" was the winner; thus, the Squaws were born.  In 1962, the Squaws applied for and received their charter, thereby making the Pittsburgh group the "Founding Chapter,"  and Rebecca Hairston of Pittsburgh became the first National President.


Because of the combined social, cultural and civic makeup, Squaws received a charter as a non-profit 501C7 organization.


Founding Chapter | 1962 Pittsburgh

"We look back on our accomplishments with tremendous pride. Let us build on what we have accomplished, joining together the passion and love to soar into our future." 

First Row: Sara Primas, Martha Willis, Ethel Chavis, Alice Sloan, Elayne Thomas, and Johnnie Matthews.

Second Row: Alma Davis, Mary Shelton, Josephine Bagley, Doris Finch, Rebecca Hairston,

Elizabeth Giddens, and Marion Williams.

Third Row: Betty Watkins, Emily Nickens, Ruthie Greene, Cecilia Jones, Lee Shelton, Laura Stewart, Lavera Hord (founders of the Squaws, Inc.)


bottom of page