Greenwood in Leflore County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
Elks Hart Lodge No. 640
During the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, the Elks Hart Lodge No. 640 at this site was one of the most important venues for rhythm and blues in the Delta. Particularly during the segregation era, fraternal organizations such as the Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World (the “black Elks”) were central to African American political, cultural, and social life, and played an important role in the Civil Rights movement.
The Elks Lodge The Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks of the World (IBPOEW) was formed in 1898 in Cincinnati, Ohio, by African Americans who were systematically excluded from joining the “white” Elks organization, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE). By 1899 twelve lodges of the IBPOEW, which became commonly known as the “black Elks,” were established in eight states, including Mississippi, and in 1902 a female auxiliary group, the Daughters of the IBPOEW was founded. African American railway workers, notably Pullman Porters, were instrumental in the formation of new chapters of the black Elks, particularly in the South. State presidents of the Mississippi Elks have included Greenwood chapter members Edward V. Cochran, W. J. Bishop, and Bertrand Antoine, all Past Grand Exalted Rulers.
The IBPOEW was the largest of the black fraternal organizations, and along with chapters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, played an important role in providing venues for touring blues and R&B artists. Members were
Erected 2008 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 34.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
Location. 33° 30.712′ N, 90° 10.454′ W. Marker is in Greenwood, Mississippi, in Leflore County. Marker is at the intersection of East Scott Street and Avenue F, on the left when traveling west on East Scott Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 106 East Scott Street, Greenwood MS 38930, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Greenwood Underpass (approx. ¼ mile away); Furry Lewis "Black Power" Speech (approx. half a mile away); Baptist Town (approx. half a mile away); Greenwood's First Artesian Well (approx. 0.6 miles away); WGRM Radio Studio (approx. 0.7 miles away); Battery 'C' (approx. ¾ mile away); First United Methodist Church (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Greenwood.
Also see . . . Mississippi Blues Trail site. (Submitted on September 16, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Categories. • African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Civil Rights • Entertainment •
Credits. This page was last revised on August 30, 2017. This page originally submitted on September 16, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 277 times since then and 42 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 16, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.