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African American Fraternal Organizations

Contributed by Lee Freeman.

From the Watcher [African-American], Friday, October 19, 1888, p.1.


Centennial Lodge, No. 19 Florence, Ala., holds regular communication at their Hall on Court street, the 1st Monday night in every month. C [Constance?] T Perkins, W. M.; H H Hough Sec.

Centre Star Lodge, No. 25, holds regular communications at their Hall every second Saturday night in each month; M F Hill, W M ; R B Jordan, Secretary.

From the Watcher (African-American), Friday, October 26, 1888, p. 1.

Mr. H. Hopkins, Supreme Grand Deputy Master, of the Ancient Order of the United Knights, and Daughters of Africa, will lecture to the people at Centre Star, Ala., tonight week, on the principles of this noble order. He hopes to leave a lod[g]e and council.

From the Florence Times, Friday, November 27, 1897, p. 3.

Corner Stone Laid.

On yesterday afternoon at 2 o’clock the corner stone of the new colored Cumberland Presbyterian church on East Alabama street was laid with formal and impressive ceremonies. The exercises were conducted by theCentennial Lodge of Colored Masons, No. 19, of which Jacob Wytch is master. The Centre Star, Sheffield and Tuscumbia lodges had also been invited to join. A large congregation witnessed the ceremonies, which constituted a most interesting event in our colored circles. Rev. Mr. Bolinger is now pastor of this colored C. P. church

From the Florence Times, Friday, August 4, 1899, p. 8.

The colored Grand United Order of Odd Fellows are preparing for their regular annual celebration-the 11th-which will occur in the McFarland Grove, on the 25th. They will have a grand street parade, followed by a picnic and barbecue in the grove, and supper in the city hall at night.

From the Florence Herald, Thursday, February 22, 1901, p. 1.

The United States Protective Association has opened an office in the Young Building on Tennessee street. It is an insurance order for colored people and hails from Sheffield [AL], being incorporated under the laws of Alabama.

From the Florence Times, Friday, March 4, 1904, p. 1.

The colored people are building an Odd Fellows hall on the Donelson place, six miles west of Florence. They also have another lodge of Odd Fellows three miles further down the Cheatham Ferry road. The boys evidently believe in Odd Fellowship down in that neck of the woods.

From the Florence Herald, Thursday, May 12, 1904, p. 1.

Colored Odd Fellows Day.

            The Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, composing the Grand Lodge No. 3140 and Seven Points Lodge No. 5706, celebrated their 61st annual anniversary in Florence, Ala., last Sunday. The lodges met at their hall and with W. J. Greenhill master of ceremonies and G Glen chief marshal marched through Court and Alabama streets to the St. Mark Baptist church. Here quite an interesting program was carried out.
            Prof. Chas. G. Gray read an interesting paper upon the order. Rev. L. J. Green, M. S., Ph. D., D. D., was then introduced to the great congregation and he delivered a masterly sermon to the delight of all. All the money raised by the lodges was distributed among the sick and needy of the city.

From the Florence Times, Friday, August 10, 1906, p. 8.

The Grand Lodge Meets in Annual Session With Seven Hundred Delegates
[The Grand Lodge-, Colored Order? The first part of the first sentence is obscured by a crease in the paper.] of Odd Fellows of the State of Alabama convened in annual session this Tuesday morning with Grand Master C. A. Howell of Ensley, presiding. About seven hundred delegates from the different local lodges are in attendance, besides about three hundred female delegates of the Household of Ruth in attendance on their annual meeting. The Household of Ruth is a woman's auxiliary organization. These organizations are about the strongest secret fraternal colored societies in the country. The Lodge was called to order Tuesday morning at 9 o'clock, and will hold its sessions until Friday night.

From the Florence Times, Friday, August 10, 1906, p. 8.

Our Colored Visitors.
          Florence this week is entertaining nearly a thousand visitors, who are delegates to the annual sessions of U. O. O. F.* and the Order of Ruth. This immense gathering has been comfortably taken care of by our colored people, a fact that is creditable, indeed, to them. The arrangement made by the officers was one dollar a day for board, and there are but few colored homes in the city where no delegates are installed.
          This body of visitors is composed of some of the best element of the colored population of the state, and it is a very creditable one, indeed,. Their presence in our city has been characterized by unexceptionable conduct, and notwithstanding the large crowd no unpleasant incident of any kind has occurred.

* U. O. O. F. - United Order of Odd Fellows.

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