A discordant note has been heard amidst the more usual tones associated with the Sweet Adelines movement. A Negro housewife has been barred by the American headquarters of the International Sweet Adelines in Ottawa. The statement follows are in the United States Association and recent refusal of a Carleton Place Negro woman to the Ottawa chapter of the Sweet Adelines, the women’s division of the barbershop singing organization. The organization has a bylaw that all members must be white. Jane Burns, a High School teacher from Carleton Place resigned her post as president she said she was a Canadian citizen and did not have to uphold the rules of the American Sweet Adelaine’s group. March 1963
Lana Clowes, was mentioned in several newspaper articles as being from Carleton Place also. I have no idea if she was, or it was a newspaper mixup, but Jane Burns was definitely from Carleton Place.
A Negro housewife has been barred by the U.S.-based headquarters of the International Sweet Adelines, Inc.. from singing with its Ottawa branch, local officials of the female barbershop singers said here. A representative from the Tulsa, Okla., headquarters was reported to have informed the Ottawa group last weekend that Mrs. Lana Clowes, a Negro tenor, can no longer sing with the group. Jane Burns, president of the Ottawa Sweet Adelines branch, told reporters Wednesday night the group would be happy to retain Mrs. Clowes but the club spent the night in Sherbrooke. must abide by the rules.
Miss Burns, a Carleton Place, Ont., high school teacher, said the Sweet Adeline’s constitution states that members must be “white girls of good moral character.”
“I know this colour bar goes against the Canadian Bill of Rights and that the international group does believe in segregation,” she said. “But I don’t see the issue on Christian principles. I see it on the constitution.” Miss Burns said the club would not withdraw from the 13,000 -member international organization, but would “just have to wait until the U.S. residents change their civil rights laws.” She said, however, the group would not be against singing for a Negro audience.
Meanwhile, Rev. Gerald Fee said the Sweet Adelines had informed him they had cancelled a scheduled appearance at a concert Friday at Eastbrook United Church. Following a closed branch meeting Wednesday night, other Sweet Adelines members were reluctant to comment further. Reporters were told “too much has been said already” and “write to Tulsa for a statement.”
Earlier, two executive members, Mrs. Beverley Perkins and Mrs. Barbara Cowan, founder of the local group, said they would quit the club. “I personally cannot go along with this.” said Mrs. Perkins. “There is no reason why we should be forced to abide by ; that regulation up here.” She said Marion Bucannan, ethics officer of the international organization, visited Ottawa last weekend to inform members that Mrs. Clowes must leave the club. “She laid it on the line,” said Mrs. Perkins.
So now this is on the Sweet Adeline’s cover page and it looks like the women who resigned formed the Captial Chordettes
Read-Unknown Blind Civil Rights Leader in Carleton Place — Ken London
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