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Department 1

Civil War Era Studies


"On last Wednesday night, Lincoln's Birthday," the Star and Sentinel reported in 1908, "a colored lodge of Elks was instituted in Xavier Hall this place with 45 members." The Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World was originally formed as an African-American fraternal organization in the 1890s after a white elks lodge in Philadelphia denied local black men membership. By 1908, the organization was quickly working its way through Pennsylvania. And now Gettysburg had "Colored Elks," working as a social safety net for the black community of the Third Ward. They provided aid to the sick and the grieving, loans and death benefits. (excerpt)


This article appeared in the Gettysburg Times as part of the Adams County Historical Society's "Historically Speaking" column, July 24, 2017.

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