Florida State Association
DGT State President
Lou Alyce W. Dean
- Elks History
The Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the World
was granted a copyright as as 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 Los Vegas, Nevada- one hundred years-their
founding. The 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 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
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Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of The World