Mayor Edna Jackson has said she will not challenge the all-male policy for the Savannah Hibernian Society’s 200th banquet on St. Patrick’s Day. Having the mayor present would go against their tradition of having a private, all-male group the Mayor Pro Tem Van Johnson will attend in her place.
Speaking to Savannah Now she said “I will not break their tradition…This year it is more important to build relationships, respect tradition and concentrate on moving forward.
“Maybe in the future they will extend an invitation.”
Jackson preemptivly released she would be excluded from the celebrations because of her sex and sent Johnson in her place.
Over the last 200 years the mayor of Savannah has not been invited to their banquet on two occasions -in 1992, when Susan Weiner was mayor, and this year.
The Society has hosted the banquet since its founding in 1812. In the past presidents, senators and archbishops have been invited but always males.
Peter Muller, chairman of the board of stewards, said “We fully appreciate her valuing our tradition on that point.”
Michael Foran, general chairman of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, pointed out there are other organizations where a “keep out” rule applies to the opposite sex including female sororities.
He added “She is more in line to unite people and not divide people…I think she’s a first-class lady.”