Florida State Association
The Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the World was granted a copyright as an organization on September 28, 1898, in Cincinnati, Ohio. A pullman porter Arthur James Riggs and Benjamin Franklin Howard, who were both members of another fraternal organization, met in that city and they discovered that they both had dreams of forming an Elks Organization for people of color. Their Dreams and plans were realized when the first Lodge, Alpha Lodge No. 1 was organized in Cincinnati as a result of these two men. As the Elks prevailed, the organization struggled against many racist attitudes and legal efforts to deny the existence of the "Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the World". On June 13, 1902, Emma Virginia Kelley organized the Daughters of Elks in Norfolk, Virginia. This group was later adopted by the Grand Lodge and became an auxiliary body to the Brothers of Elks. The first temple was Norfolk Temple No. 1, Norfolk, Virginia. The Elks is the largest predominately black, fraternal organization in the world, and boasts a membership of over 450,000, with Lodges and Temples in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, West Indies, Virgin Islands, Panama, Alaska and the Bahamas. In 1998, the organization celebrated it's international centennial, which was hosted in the City of Las Vegas, Nevada one hundred years of their founding. A second one hundred year centennial celebration was held in 1999, hosted by the City of New Orleans for the founding of the Grand Lodge, the parent body of the organization. Congratulatory acknowledgments were received from the United States President William Jefferson Clinton, every presiding governor of the twenty-seven state associations representing domestic jurisdictions, distinguishing personage, corporations and letters from the governing authorities of the foreign jurisdictions under the umbrella of Elkdom. The purpose of our organization is that the welfare and happiness of it's members be promoted and enhanced; the nobleness of soul and goodness of heart be cultivated so that the principles of Charity, Justice, Brotherly and Sisterly Love be inculcated; that it's members and families be assisted and protected; and that the spirit of patriotism be enlivened and exalted. A few of the major departments of the Elks are the Grand Lodge Education Department, History Department, Medical Department, Veterans Affairs Department, National Youth Department, Civil Liberties Department, Antler Guard Department and the Hobson R. Reynolds National Shrine Department. Through the efforts of it's members and various departments, the Elk's sponsor extensive educational scholarship programs, youth summer computer literacy camps and children with special needs, parades and unequal community service activities throughout the world.
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George Greenhill
Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of The World
Emma V. Kelly
Benjamin F. Howard
ArthurJ. Riggs
I.B.P.O.E.W. Logo
We’ve Come a Mighty Long Way ……
Lou Alyce W. Dean
DGT State President
State President
Elks History
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