front cover of History of the Mosaic Templars of America
History of the Mosaic Templars of America
Its Founders and Officials
A.E. Bush
University of Arkansas Press, 2008
Originally published in 1924 and long out of print, this book tells the story of the Mosaic Templars of America (MTA), a famous black fraternal organization that was founded by two former slaves in Little Rock, Arkansas, in the late-nineteenth century. The organization originally provided illness, death, and burial insurance during an era of segregation when few basic services were available to black people. By 1900 Mosaic Templars’ industries grew to include an insurance company, a building and loan association, a publishing company, a business college, a nursing school, and a hospital.

front cover of A Noble Fight
A Noble Fight
African American Freemasonry and the Struggle for Democracy in America
Corey D. B. Walker
University of Illinois Press, 2008
A Noble Fight examines the metaphors and meanings behind the African American appropriation of the culture, ritual, and institution of freemasonry in navigating the contested terrain of American democracy. Combining cultural and political theory with extensive archival research--including the discovery of a rare collection of nineteenth-century records of an African American Freemason Lodge--Corey D. B. Walker provides an innovative perspective on American politics and society during the long transition from slavery to freedom.

With great care and detail, Walker argues that African American freemasonry provides a critical theoretical lens for understanding the distinctive ways African Americans have constructed a radically democratic political imaginary through racial solidarity and political nationalism, forcing us to reconsider much more circumspectly the complex relationship between voluntary associations and democratic politics.

Mapping the discursive logics of the language of freemasonry as a metaphoric rendering of American democracy, this study interrogates the concrete forms of an associational culture, revealing how paradoxical aspects of freemasonry such as secrecy and public association inform the production of particular ideas and expressions of democracy in America.


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