The Committee of 100 was founded in 1954 by eleven Arlington citizens. The goal from its inception was to counteract the polarization that had developed in Arlington's civic and political life after World War II. New arrivals in the county tended, in their social, civic, and political activities, to be separated from the County's existing businesses and institutions. In the early 1950s, poor communication among different segments of the community led to misinformation, confusion, and even animosity in the County. 

The founders of the Committee of 100 sought to turn conflict into constructive channels by building and maintaining bridges between these interests. Accordingly, they planned to bring together community leaders for thoughtful discussions of County issues and concerns. They developed a format, consisting of a dinner-forum, preceded by a social hour, for the meetings that was conducive to open and intelligent discussion and continues as the structure of Committee of 100 meetings to this day. 

Originally, the meetings were held in a variety of locations, such as Evans Café, Hogates (on Wilson Blvd), the Little Tea House, the YWCA, and the Knights of Columbus. In November of 1961 the first meeting was held at Marymount, a special meeting held there to showcase the new buildings at the college. 

On April 8, 1970 the committee began meeting at Gerard Hall in Marymount College on a regular basis. The speaker at this meeting was Sister Majella Berg, president of the college, a person who recognized the importance of the committee in fostering understanding in the community and who was instrumental in securing Marymount as our regular meeting place.

 

Learn more about the Arlington Committee of 100 through the Center for Local History at the Arlington Public Library.