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W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt) Du Bois.

Economic co-operation among Negro Americans. Report of a social study made by Atlanta University under the patronage of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C. together with the proceedings of the 12th Conference for the Study of the Negro Problems, held at Atlanta University, on Tuesday, May t online

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Online LibraryW. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt) Du BoisEconomic co-operation among Negro Americans. Report of a social study made by Atlanta University under the patronage of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C. together with the proceedings of the 12th Conference for the Study of the Negro Problems, held at Atlanta University, on Tuesday, May t → online text (page 14 of 22)
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Dallas. Dues collected weekly, on the co-operative assessment plan. Business
done for 1906, $381,373 ; six months in 1907, $160,180. Total capital, $5,000. " The
company began business September 25, 1905, by depositing $5,000 with the
State Treasurer and by the expenditure of an additional $8,500 in agency, fees,
etc. The Association has a membership of 15,000."

26. Benevolent Aid and Relief Association of Baltimore, Baltimore, Mel.
Business done in 1906-7, $5,000.

27. Reliable Mutual Aid and Improvement Society, Philadelphia, Pa. Busi
ness done in 1906, $25,000; 1907, $30,000. Mutual concern. Real estate owned at
1440 Lombard street, $5,000. Organized 1902. Cash balance of $1,000. Sick and
accident benefits from $2.50 to $10 per week; death benefits from $50 to $250.
Dues collected and payable monthly : Children under 12 years, 50 cents ; adults
in Class B,$1.00; adults in Class A, $2.00.

28. Provident Medical Aid and Burial Association of Chicago, Chicago, 111.
Total capital, $5,000. Incorporated in 1901.

^ 29. Richmond Beneficial Insurance Co., Richmond, Va.:



Cash in banks and office $ 9,541 00

Real estate In the cites of Virginia 10,000 00

Capital stock paid in 10,000 00

Deposited with the State of Virginia . . 10,000 00

Stocks and bonds 10,400 00.

Annual premium receipts 112,082 81

Paid to policy-holders in 1906 57,609 64



The company began business by operating only the combination policy, but
has for the last three years operated in addition a straight life policy, with
both an Infantile and an Adult Department. Members between 12 months
and 60 years pay 5 to 25 cents per week; sick benefits from $1.25 to $6; death
benefits from $12.50 to $75. The benefits vary with the age of the member and
the premium paid. Members received in the straight life from 10 to 60 years ;
benefits paid from $500 down, varying with the age and premium paid.



Weekly
premiums


Ages Years


Sick
benefits


Death
benefits


05


Mos. 12 to 40


$ 1 25


$ 20 00


05


Yrs. 41 to 50


1 00


12 50


05


" 51 to 60


75


10 00


10


Mos. 12 to 40


2 50


40 00


10


Yrs. 41 to 50


2 00


25 00


10


" 51 to 60


1 50


20 00


15


Mos. 15 to 40


375


45 00


15


Yrs. 41 to 50


3 00


37 50


15


" 51 to 60


2 25


30 00


20


Mos. 18 to 40


500


60 00


20


Yrs. 41 to 50


4 00


50 00


20


" 51 to 60


3 00


40 00


25


Mos. 18 to 40


6 00


75 00


25


Yrs. 41 to 50


5 00


60 00


25


" 51 to 60


375


4500



Paid to Policy-holders in 1906

14,826 sick and accident claims $ 43,180 60

450 death claims 14,425* 04



Total



108



Economic Co=operation Among Negro Americans



The company was granted a charter in 1894 with a capital stock of $5,000, and
has issued during eleven years 90,000 certificates of membership and has paid
more than $325,000 on account of sick, accident and death claims. The total
receipts of the company for 1905 exceeded $118,000; the number of policies is
sued was 11,444. The company employs_about400 young men and women. The
authorized capital stock of $10,000 has been subscribed and paid. It has~$10,000
on deposit in the State Treasury as a protection to its policy-holders. The
company has purchased the three-story brick building now used as the home
office, and has begun to establish branch offices in a number of the larger
cities. Its funds have been invested in real estate and other paying invest
ments.

i, 30. Independent Order of St. Luke, Richmond, Va. Founded in the year
1865. Membership in 1900, 1,000 ; in 1908, 21,200. Total amount of money handled
in the last eight years, $202,201 .42 ; amount handled from December, 1906, to De
cember, 1907, $44,634.25. " The expenditures are divided into two classes : Class
number one, a mortuary fund; class number two, expense fund. The princi
pal object is to defray the expenses of the mortuary fund. This order has 650
branch offices in 14 different States. The principal departments of work are :
Printing, supply, general office. In the fraternal organization we have three j\
incorporated bodies: 1. The St. Luke Association, which handles the real
estate and property to the amount of $30,000. 2. The St. Luke Penny Savings!,
Bank, an incorporated institution, with a capital stock of $50,000. 3. The St.;\
Luke Emporium, a general department store, an incorporated institution with \
a capital stock of $25,000, all paid in." This store in 1907 did a business of J
$28,340.

The total income of insurance societies is difficult to estimate. Those
which we have reported have, approximately, incomes as follows:



NAME


Income


Properly


True Reformers
Progressive Benefit
American Life and Benefit
American Beneficial
People s Mutual
Home Protective


$ 450,000
10,831

5,235
89,453
237,449

18,000


$ 400,000

5 ,000
4,500


Mutual Improvement
Union Mutual
United Aid and Benevolent
Union Benefit . . .


30,000
20,000
29,263

24,282


5,000


Toilers Mutual


2, .I8 )




Star of Zion
North Carolina Mutual
National Benefit


5,000
117,000
43 270


2,500
25,000
21 000


Keystone Aid Society
Guarantee Relief Association
Carolina Mutual
Atlanta Mutual Insurance Co
St. Luke s
Benevolent Aid and Relief Ass n
Reliable Mutual
Richmond Beneficial Insurance Co. .


47,580
15,971
10,000
381,373
44,634
3,000
30,000
112,682


16,500

63,000

5,000
49,941


Total


$1,7*7,705


$ 5<.7,441









This is only a partial report of a selected list, and the real estate re
port is especially defective. The total income of such societies cannot
be far from three millions of dollars. They probably hold in real estate
and other capital (deposited bonds, for instance), at least one million
dollars in property.



Secret Societies



109



The chief criticism of these societies is the unscientific basis of their
insurance business. It is a phase of insurance through which all
groups have at one time or another passed, but it is today largely dis
credited by the best opinion. Its defect lies in the irregular imposition
of the burden of insurance, and dependence on lapsed policies to supply
the needed surplus. Under Massachusetts insurance legislation many
of these companies could not exist. Nevertheless, there are signs of
improvement; many societies, like the True Reformers, are gradually
adopting graduated payments on a scientific age classification and
others will follow.*

^There is also wide room for peculation and dishonesty in industrial
insurance. Protective legislation, especially in the South, is driving
out the worst offenders, but some still remain. On the whole, however,
these societies have done three things:

(a) Encouraged economic co-operation and confidence.
(b) Consolidated small capital.
[ (c) Taught business methods.

We will now take up the kindred secret societies.



Section 12. Secret Societies
The Masons

The Grand Secretary of the Prince Hall Lodge of Massachusetts,
the mother Grand Lodge of Negro Masonry in America, gives the
number of Negro Masons as follows:

African Lodge in its beginning had fifteen members. In 1904 I made as
careful an investigation as the data in my possession permitted, with the fol
lowing result :



STATES


Lodges Members


STATES


Lodges


Members


Alabama
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Illinois


104
181
14
15
10
15
12
231
187
47
28
15
46
41
41
22
11
10


2,815
3,782
818
310
250
400
708
8,794
4,050
1,372
778
323
1,256
1,272
1,251
826
437
313


Brought forward
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
Ohio
Oklahoma


1,031
4
241
96
20
25
84
42
74
55
6
39
88
68
64
4
19


24,255
137
5,418
3,141
452
598
2,276
1,057
729
1,535
150
700
1,804
1,048
2,111
126
801


Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Tennessee
Texas


Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana


Virginia
Washington
West Virginia

Total


Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan

Carried forward


1,960


45,835


1,031


24,255



* Note the table on page 100. Some associations have less insurance in force at the
end of the year than they have written during the year, showing many lapses. Iii
other cases the figures show a better condition.



110



Economic Co-operation Among Negro Americans



A conservative estimate of increase for these totals since then, would add 15
per cent to the number of lodges and 33 per cent to the membership. In the
Southern States the growth has been phenomenally rapid. The ratio of mem
bership in the several States remains about the same, and the differences in
membership where the conditions might be supposed to be the same, are due
to differences of Grand Lodge policy, one elevating the standard of qualifica
tions for membership, and the other lowering them.

In the North American Review for May, 1897, a W. S. Harwood published a
very interesting paper on Secret Societies in America, white and colored, in
which he gives total membership, money raised, and disbursements for
charity. In his table the number of colored Masons is given as 224,000. This
is excessive. The Encyclopaedia of Fraternities, published in 1899, states the
number as 55,713.

The financial status of the various lodges can only be approximately
stated from the following actual data. The regular income of those
reporting is $261,751, and they hold $1,005,150 worth of property. Proba
bly the total income is about $500,000 and the property over $1,000,000:



STATE


INCOME


EXPENDITURE


PROPERTY


Grand
Lodge


Subordinate
lodges


Charity


Other
purposes


Arkansas
California


$ 1,597
1,385


$ 51,157


$ 22,055


$ 23,683


$ 217,247


Colorado
District of Columbia
Florida






16,000
5,475-1-
3,000
110,000
80,000
10,352
40,000
55,ftOO
17,500
1,650
4,225
80,855
61,948
1,715
8,018*
7,000
68,560
80,000

"28, d(Jo"

"7,000-f-
80,610
25,000


683
3,037


5,755


1,600






Georgia
Illinois
Indiana
Kentucky


" 2,300
681
1,400


32,400










5,173






Louisiana
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Mississippi


sis

" zjm


7,500


5,000






389


1,757


M issouri
Iowa


" 2,466


31,707




27,705


New Jersey
New York
North Carolina








1,000
2,520


"i^ooo"
3^606

48,000






Ohio
Oklahoma






Pennsylvania


2,000
1,576


South Carolina
Tennessee






Virginia




45,284






West Virginia









To this must be added an account of the insurance features, which
are usually in a separate department, known as the Masonic Benefit
Association. The method of operation is by assessment of all members
on the death of any participant. Reports by States are as follows:

Alabama

The insurance feature of the work shows that the reserve fund of $2,555.45 on
hand in 1898 amounted in 1905 to $38,635.48. Nearly the whole fund is paid out



Secret Societies



111



each year, so that probably over $100,000 has been paid widows and orphans.
The insurance association had 1,400 members in 1898, and assessments of 10 cents
per capita at death were made . One hundred dollars was paid at death, unless
the member s lodge is in arrears for three assessments. This benefit was
changed in 1906 so as to be $100 for persons dying in the first year of insurance,
$200 in second year, $300 in third year and $500 thereafter.

Arkansas

Total insurance paid to widows and orphans, $125,000.



1892...
1893


Receipts E
.$ 4,187 83 \
7,422 90
4,912 29
5,600 00
6,691 20
8,509 56
8,381 17
336 88 .
14,107 59
14 817 27


xpenditures

i 5,187 83
6,06337
4,500 00
5,600 00
5,568 32
8,478 90
8,387 64


Balance

$ 1,359 54
474 88

"l, 122" 88
30 66
56 47


1895
1896


1897
1898
1899 Deficit
1900
1901
1902


12,873 90
13,689 17
13,605 00
18,868 75


1,233 69
2,361 79
4,071 00
8,223 74


1908


16,214 21
. . 27,092 49


1905



Florida



Receipts, 1906
Claims .


$ 6,976 08
$ 4 001 00


Expenses


910 44 4,911 44


Balance
Other funds


$ 2,064 57
444 65



Total

Claims unpaid:

Approved

Unapproved and filed.



$ 2,509 22

.$ 600 00

. 2,700 00 3,300 00



Louisiana



YEAR


Receipts


Claims
paid


Balance


Unpaid
claims


1899. . .
11*04
1905


$ 8,120


$ 1,451
11,950
13,100


$ 1,668


"$"2,460
2,540



Assessments are 25 cents per capita, monthly ; benefits $200 and $300 at death.

Mississippi

In 1905 the Grand Master says:

"We have 7,000 craftmen in our ranks, and with such a number it is not sur
prising that we should have fourteen deaths a month, or 168 per annum. The
present assessment rate is 7 1-7 cents for each death, and fourteen assessments
are paid for $1; thus we pay $7,250 per month or $87,000 per year. This is the
greatest amount collected and paid out by any institution operated and con
trolled by our race variety known to us in the civilized world. This is a
startling statement, but no doubt true. This institution has $19,132.65 to its
credit in three banks. They have also recently purchased 1,000 acres of land.
Governor Vardaman and all the other devils this side of Hades cannot stay
this kind of prosperity. 7



112 Economic Co-operation Among Negro Americans

Total amount raised 1880-1905 $ 537,120 42

Claims paid and expenses 519,312 10



Balance $ 17,808 32

Largest amount raised in one year. . . 90,524 35

Missouri

Receipts Claims paid

1899 $ 5,101 42 $ 4,505 00

1905 8,886 80

North Carolina

Income, 1905 ... ..$8,500
Claims paid 8,325

Oklahoma

Income $ 948 57

Texas

Paid out, 10 years $ 150,000 00

1906, income 11,870 60

Paid out 4,128 50



Balance $ 7,24710

Sinking fund, etc 1,86608

Cash on hand $ 9,113 18

This endowment policy is confined to the South and is criticised by
Northern Masons. Massachusetts thus criticises Mississippi:

This association pays $500 to its beneficiaries, and costs, in the way of assess
ments, $1 per month, on an estimated annual death rate of twenty -four per
thousand for their seven thousand members. At its last annual report in 1904,
it was able to show a balance to the credit of $19,132.65. Another item of cost
which does not appear in the estimate follows :

Members suspended for non-payment

of dues 666

Dimitted 184

Suspended, all other causes 20

Expelled 12

Deceased 142

1,024

Reinstated 656

Affiliated 103

759

/The suspension for non-payment of dues and assessments, dimissions and
deaths are the net losses of the association, which the reinstatements and
affiliations fail to balance by 233, a loss which must be made good by the con
tinual accession of new members. It is not possible for this association to be
permanently successful, and it already shows symptoms of the weakness and
decay which precedes its death. As it becomes older, and the demands upon
its resources increase, it will fall to irretrievable ruin, like all other similar
organizations. If it seeks to avoid the inevitable, two courses only are open,
either to reduce the benefit or increase the assessments, and this never yet did
more than to postpone the fatal day. It s a mathematical impossibility
always to pay out two dollars for each and every dollar paid in. It s a mis
fortune for any Grand Lodge to identify itself with any such movement.

Vital statistics for these associations are given only for 1904:



Secret Societies 113

Death Rate per 1,000

(For Year 1904.)

Alabama 14

Arkansas 20

M isslssippi 24

Missouri 20

Normal death rate per 1,000 (American experience). 12

Other enterprises of the Masons are as follows:

In Alabama $500 was given in $50 scholarships to ten students, and
$50 to the Old Folks Home at Mobile.
Florida has an Orphan s Home:

Receipts, 15)07 g 3,971 74

Expense 8,201 49



Balance $ 77025

Georgia has a Widows and Orphans Home and School at Americus.
managed by trustees elected by the Grand Lodge.

The income for 1904 was $3,532.70, and expenses $3,240.78. The Home
was reported out of debt and worth $25,000.

Louisiana reports:

Two notable features in the Grand Master s address were, first, the arrange
ments made in connection with the fraternity of Odd Fellows for the purchase
of land and building in the city of New Orleans for their joint occupancy.
These were purchased for them at a cost of $14,000, the building to be refitted
at an expense of $6,000, leased for a term of five years, with privilege of pur
chase at the expiration of lease. The second was the establishment of a lod.ge
at Belize, British Honduras, under the jurisdiction of the M. W. Eureka Grand
Lodge. To this end six brethren journeyed to Belize, and with the aid of a
resident Mason, of the jurisdiction of Louisiana, entered, passed and raised
sixty-one candidates, dispensating them under the name Pride of Honduras
Lodge, No. 30.

Massachusetts has published Upton s Negro Masonry and erected a
$500 monument to Prince Hall.

Illinois has a Masonic Home at Rock Island worth $6,000.

Maryland and District of Columbia have a Joint Stock Building Asso
ciation.

Tennessee has a Widows and Orphans Home.

Kentucky reports:

The first Kentucky lodge of colored Masons, Mt. Moriah, No. 1, was organ
ized by residents of Louisville in 1850, under the jurisdiction of Ohio, and for
three years met in New Albany, Ind., on account of the black laws, which for
bade the assembling of free people of color. At the expiration of that time
the lodge removed to Louisville, and shortly afterwards, while in open com
munication, their rooms were forcibly entered by the police, twenty-one of
the brethren arrested, one of whom was Brother Gibson, the Secretary. On
arriving at the prison, the jailers refused to receive them; the judge of the
court who was consulted, ordered their discharge upon their personal promise
to appear for trial the next morning. They went in a body for trial, found
the court house guarded by the police, were denied admission, and told to go
their ways, say nothing and they would not again be disturbed. When we add



114 Economic Co-operation Among Negro Americans

that the jailers and judge were Master Masons, we have given all the explana
tion necessary.

Mt. Moriah increased so rapidly in numbers that it was twice divided, and
the Grand Lodge established in 1866.

Arkansas reports:

The forty-two members of 1873 have grown to (1905) 4,995. The Grand Lodge
took in :

1873-1883 $ 1,951 93

1884-1894 11,01,0 09

1894-1904 15,969 77

1873-1804 . . .$ 29,969 79

In twenty -four years the order increased from 14 to 275 lodges.

Texas reports :

The Masons in Texas own in fee simple 160 acres of good land, unincumbered.
It is located in the famous fruit district of Texas and will bring $50 per acre.
The Grand Lodge has just had erected in Fort Worth a Grand Masonic Temple
at a cost of $50,000. The Grand Lodge paid out to widows in the last ten years
$150,000. The local lodges (subordinate) own $100,000 in real property. The
local lodges pay their sick members more than $30,000 annually and they spend
$10,000 per year to bury their dead. If we take all the money out of the local
lodges treasuries and put it in one we would have more than $75,000. We have
240 working lodges.

District of Columbia reports:

District of Columbia

The first lodge was Social, No. 7, chartered in 1826 by the Grand Lodge of
Pennsylvania. This was followed in 1845 and 1846, respectively, by the Uni
versal, No. 10, of Alexandria, D. C., and Felix, No. 17, of Washington, both
chartered by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. On March 27, 1848, M. W.
Union Grand Lodge of F. & A. M. for the District of Columbia was established
by these three lodges.

Financial statement of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons for
the District of Columbia and its subordinate lodges, 1897-1906:

Grand Lodge

Total amount of receipts, 10 years $ 6,836.56

Total amount of expenditures, 10 years $ 4,594.20

Total amount expended for charity, 10 years 1,581.34

Total expended $ 6,175.54

Fourteen Subordinate Lodges
Membership 1,045

Total amount of receipts, 10 years 57,548.38

Total amount of expenditures, 10 years 32,891.04

Total amount expended for charity, 10 years 15,996.04

Total expended $ 48,887.08

Amount Invested in stock of Masonic Building Association. . .$5,475

Sum total of receipts in 10 years $ 64,384.94

Sum total of expenditures, 10 years . 37,485.24

Sum total expended for charity, 10 years 17,577.38

Total expended . . $ 55,062.62



Secret Societies 115

Iowa has an Orphans Home, with an income of $7,618.50 in 1907.

The Odd Fellows

Members of the Philomathean Institute of New York and of the
Philadelphia Library Company and Debating Society of Philadelphia,
applied for admission to the International Order of Odd Fellows in
1842. They were refused on account of their race. Thereupon Peter
Ogden,a Negro, who had already joined the Grand United Order of Odd
Fellows of England, securecj a charter for the first Negro American
lodge, Philomathean, No. 646, of New York, which was set up March
1, 1843. In 1847 certain white lodges of Pennsylvania sought to join the
English order, but finding themselves compelled to treat with Ogden,
demurred. Ogden replied :

In regard to your first objection, you say you have heard that I was a colored
man. That is true, and I am not ashamed to own it, and the whole order is
acquainted with the fact, as well as the Committee of Management at Leeds.
Those who do not know it personally, know it by the magazines which are
published in England and America. In regard to the second point in your
communication, I would not meet you on any other ground than perfect
equality in every sense of the word, and instructions from the A. M. C. of our
order in May last to the Committee of Management was that nothing should
be done that would interfere with the lodges already established here. With
regard to the effects which an union might have upon what you justly term
the skeleton of your order, I think the course you are pursuing will very soon
nail down the coffin-lid, and consign it to oblivion, and the world will be led
to view it among the things that once were, but are now " no more forever."*

A bit of prophecy that proved only too true.

This spirit of independent manliness in its relations with England
has been kept up. In 1865, for instance, we find this resolution:

Resolved, That the Sub-committee of Management in America do respect
fully represent to the Committee of Management, England, that we are grate
ful for the care which has been exercised by them, yet we do respectfully sub
mit that there is a feature in the characters forming the group on the P. G. M.
certificates which is objectionable, and we do therefore submit to your honor
able body that said objection be removed and that that figure representing the
colored man be placed on an equal footing with the others."t

The growth of the order is thus indicated:

1848 1 lodge

1868 Splodges 4,009 members

1886 1,000 " 86,853

18 ( .6 2,047 " 155,587

1904 4,648 " 285,931

The reports of the Grand Secretary are as follows:



* Brooks, pp. 46, 47.
f Brooks, p. 95.



116



Economic Co-operation Among Negro Americans



Term


Receipts


Disbursements


Term


Receipt**


Disbursements


1845
1845-1846
1846-1847
1847-1848
1848-1849
1849-1850
1851


$ 109 00
175 99
163 18
899 10
209 98
321 37
286 34


$ 97 01
169 90
120 03
419 61
210 84
250 28
307 95


1866. . .
1867
1868
1869
1870
1871
1872


678 99
640 77
684 58
713 16
812 97
1,048 78
1 869 36


585 53
650 58
625 89
676 46
856 62
778 41
1 365 83


1852
1853
1854
1855
1856
1857
1868
1859
I860
1860-1862
1868


416 36
263 59
361 67
350 65
363 34
283 62
329 64
460 27
385 11
581 91
297 41


372 28
280 94
829 06
371 02
359 95
297 05
278 06
532 56
352 01
565 14
973 77


1873 ..
1874
1874-1888*
1888-1890
1890-1892
1892-1894
1894-1896
1896-1898
1898-1900
1900-1902. . . .
1902 1904


2,893 15
3,000 00

"16,418 44"
17,159 64
24,026 90
33,517 59
35,275 64
37,471 83
48,727 32
59 196 (53


1,768 87
3,598 56

"18,625 "62"
17,086 67
13,717 59
25,951 46

28,948 71
28,722 53
34,589 69
33 843 12


1864 ..
1865


365 33

436 80


377 07
412 93


1904-1906


58,976 06


37,750 01



Grand Lodge Reports






STATE


Receipts


Disbursements


Kentucky (1906)
Georgia ( 1903-4 )
Colorado and Jurisdiction:
(1904)


$ 445 98
1,215 39

74 48


$ 401 71
1,157 45

45 00


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 14 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Online LibraryW. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt) Du BoisEconomic co-operation among Negro Americans. Report of a social study made by Atlanta University under the patronage of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C. together with the proceedings of the 12th Conference for the Study of the Negro Problems, held at Atlanta University, on Tuesday, May t → online text (page 14 of 22)