This is the second article in a series for Black History Month. The first article can be found here.
As early as 1930 the first known African American Arrowmen were inducted into the Owasippe lodge of the Chicago Area Council and became members of the Takodah chapter. During this time, OA chapters were segregated as well.
Nationwide only 20 lodges existed.
What made the Order of the Arrow unique was the procedure for induction. African Americans would have to attend council wide lodge functions that included white members allowing both races to participate in the ceremony and often at the same time. Brotherhood through the Order of the Arrow tends to link Arrowmen with a shared belief in the Scouting ideals, respecting each other like brothers.
At an OA regional meeting held in Illinois in 1932, Dr. W.H. Benson, Emerson James, and Horatio Isbell were inducted along with 12 other Arrowmen into the Brotherhood Honor. At this time during the ceremony there was a ‘blood rite,’ a literal mixing of blood by members.
In Arkansas, the segregated Wampus chapter of the Quapaw Lodge was in existence by at least 1951.
(Adapted from OA Bound in Brotherhood by Marty Tschetter – presented at 2012 NOAC by Dr. David Briscoe. Courtesy of Dr. David Briscoe)