The Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association (MAMGA) a 501 (C) non-profit organization (formally the Colored Carnival Association) was incorporated in 1938 under the trusteeship of W. L. Russell, D.D.S, J.T. McKinnis, a local Mortician, Sam Besteda, Jr., a local Tailor and J.A. Franklin, M.D. of which the current 15 Franklin Primary Health Clinics are named.
Dr. Wilborne Russell, a respected dentist and civic leader was president for fifty years. He envisioned the carnival association as an outlet for the youth of the African–American community and vigorously supported the Mission Statement of MAMGA to: “promote knowledge, arts, sciences: to create and cultivate interest in the celebration of carnival activities at Mardi Gras and to encourage its members to participate in all events that will enhance our civic and national betterment.” He wrote the proclamation that is read every year at the coronation ceremonies and read it for fifty consecutive years until his retirement in 1987. In the 2nd century of MAMGA, members have selected seven (7) presidents each with a maximum of two 2 year terms to continue the legacy and great traditions.
Mrs. Frederica Evans was another pioneer that was committed to MAMGA. She was an instructor at Bishop State Junior College (formally Mobile State Junior College). One of her most honored awards was the appointment to the National Youth Administration by President F.D. Roosevelt. It was Mrs. Evans who suggested the official title of King Elexix I to rule over Mardi Gras. Mrs. Evans as Chairperson of the Auxiliary Ladies group worked tirelessly with the Royal Coronation every year until her demise in 1967. To honor her memory Mrs. Evans is referred to as the “Mother of the Colored Carnival”.
MAMGA held its first parade in 1939 and presented its first Royal Court in 1940. The late Alex Herman was king and Aliene Jenkins Howard was the first queen who currently lives in Mobile today. Throughout the years, many prominent Mobilians have participated in the annual Mardi Gras celebration events including the former U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman as Queen and the all time greatest hitter in baseball Henry Aaron as Grand Marshal. MAMGA proudly celebrates 75 years as an active organization of African American men in 2013 with positive growth in membership and community activities.