The Alabama Knights of Pythias of North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia
A Brief History
By (author) Marilyn T. Peebles
Publication date:17 August 2012
Length of book:68 pages
The Knights of Pythias fraternal organization was founded in 1865 by an Act of Congress. When African American men were denied membership, they created their own organization in Vicksburg, MS, in 1880. Its founder, Thomas Stringer, believed that fraternal organizations could provide the black community with business networks, economic safety nets, and political experience at a time when Jim Crow laws were being constructed all around them. In Birmingham, Alabama, these Pythians became the cornerstone of an African American business community that included the first black-owned and operated bank in the state. They provided burial, life, and disability insurance for members and became a source of civic pride and racial solidarity. When their right to exist was challenged, they took the case to the Supreme Court in 1912 and won. This strategy would be used decades later in Brown v. Board of Education.
In this book, Professor Marilyn Peebles provides an accurate and concise history of the African American Knight of Pythias in the United States generally and in Birmingham, Alabama, particularly. The writing is clear and interesting. She has contacted the proper sources and thereby her research is excellent. I highly recommend it to persons who want an increased knowledge of the importance of fraternal organizations in the segregated African America community.