The Council of Organizations, Inc. has maintained a strong social, cultural, and educational presence in the Meridian community for over four decades with its various member clubs. As a non-profit community organization, "The Council" gives community members a haven to facilitate exchange of ideas and awareness while providing a venue for public or private social and cultural events. The council building is named in honor of Meridian legend the late Mr. Carlia Edward "C.E." Oatis, Jr., and our organization builds on our rich heritage while engaging in active work to secure a great future for tomorrow's leaders.
The first Meridianites Picnic was held in Detroit, Michigan in 1967 (See Meridianites History for additional information). George Key attended the 1972 picnic in Cincinnati, Ohio. This gave impetus to holding the picnic in Meridian in an ensuring year. C. E. Oatis, Jr. attended the 1973 picnic in Los Angeles, and it was agreed to bring the picnic to Meridian in 1974. It was then agreed to the five-year rotation with the picnic and convention returning to Meridian every five (5) years.
1972-2013: At the end of some forty-one (41) years, the Council can look with pride at the accumulated achievement of a conglomerate of organizations that began with fourteen members and has expended to over 200. The Council of Organizations, Inc. and its affiliates have expanded from meeting in the Viscounts location to the following:
1976: purchase of the old IGA Building 814 45th Avenue
1983: first major addition to Council Building with enlarging of original restrooms
1984: new addition to the original wing with President’s and Secretary’s offices; two meeting rooms, and restrooms (ladies and gentlemen)
1990’s-2000’s: New roofs, the planters, the Around Town Carousel Project to support Hope Village for Neglected and Abused Children with our horse Ebony Pride, the installation of more than 100+ commemorative bricks. A place for clubs and organizations to meet, family/class reunions, blues and gospel shows, election sites, health fairs, celebratory events (birthdays, weddings, anniversaries.)
2000-2009: Read-Ins during Black History Month, Zeta Tots for Teens and Salute to Minority Students Programs, Amici and Amacae Programs, Phi Beta Sigma and Sigma Beta Club Programs, Delta Sigma Theta programs, Alpha Kappa Alpha programs, Jackson State University Alumni, MS Valley State University Alumni, and Alcorn State University Alumni Scholarship programs. Hearty 40’s Spring Fling and Hearty 40’s and Roadway Drivers Christmas Dances, a Breaking of Bread to Honor Barack Obama on his election as President.
2009: Council of Organizations Building renamed the Carlia Edward Oatis, Jr. Building.
2009: Served as host to Meridianite Picnics and continued to serve our community.
2014 - Present: Hosted the 2014 Meridianite Convention and Picnic; Participated in the 50th Anniversary celebration of Freedom Summer; Many building renovations and branding projects.
Council Presidents: C. E. Oatis, Jr. (1974-2010; death March 2011), Robert Buford (2009-2011; death November 2011), Otis Gowdy, Sr. (2011-2014), Louis Sutton (2014-Present)
Meet the Team
These are the people who make the Council work with its members and member organizations.
President & CEO
Currently serving as President of the Council of Organizations. Louis also oversees the National Council of Meridianites Convention and Picnic held in Meridian every five years.
Ondray Harris, Jr.
Ondray Harris, Jr. currently serves the Council as Vice-President.
Wanda Bouldin currently serves the Council as Secretary.
The Council currently serves these clubs, organizations, fraternities, and sororities: