Houston in Harris County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Grand Court Order of Calanthe of Texas
African American fraternal benefit societies experienced a "Golden Age" from the 1870s to the 1930s as they were one of the few venues where members could exercise influence within their communities and attain needs, such as sick benefits and life insurance, which were otherwise not being met. As African American women also struggled for autonomy, female auxiliaries arose.
On May 14, 1883 in Mississippi, Thomas Stringer, Supreme Chancellor of the Colored Knights of Pythias, approved the plan of Mattie A. Williams and Virginia C. Green for an "Independent Order of Calanthe." Named for the wife of Pythias and founded on the principles of "Fidelity, Harmony, and Love," it aimed to unite female relatives of the knights, educate its members, and establish a fund for its sick. By 1888, there were 33 courts in the U.S.
By 1898 Susie H. Norris of Dallas had organized the "Grand Court Independent Order of Calanthe of Texas" in Houston. In 1909 the name was amended to "Grand Court Order of Calanthe of Texas." A source of benefits, training, and employment, the order also worked with the local N.A.A.C.P. Chapter to gain voting
The Grand Court constructed its state headquarters at 2411 Dowling Street in 1948, when few modern buildings were built and operated by African American women. Here they provided meeting space for local civic activities, managed millions of dollars, and made mortgage loans to local residents. The Grand Court, the first African American Order to join the Texas Fraternal Congress, remains one of the largest and most successful female-led groups in the fraternal insurance industry.
175 Years of Texas Independence * 1836 2011
Erected 2011 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 16769.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Fraternal or Sororal Organizations • Women. A significant historical date for this entry is May 14, 1883.
Location. 29° 44.321′ N, 95° 21.693′ W. Marker is in Houston, Texas, in Harris County. Marker is on Emancipation Avenue 0.1 miles south of Mcllhenny Street, on the right when traveling north. The marker is located on the north side of the building at the front near the entrance. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2411 Emancipation Avenue, Houston TX 77004, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking Trinity East United Methodist Church (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); St. John Missionary Baptist Church (about 600 feet away); Dr. Benjamin Jesse Covington and the Covington House (about 600 feet away); Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); Reverend David Elias Dibble (approx. ¼ mile away); Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church (approx. ¼ mile away); Richard Allen (approx. ¼ mile away); Fourth Missionary Baptist Church (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Houston.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 19, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 18, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 46 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on April 19, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.