I finally ponied up for expanded access to Newspapers.com’s holdings and immediately tapped into a vein of articles about my Allen family in Newport News, Virginia. Expect a river of posts, starting with the earliest print references I have found to my great-grandfather John C. Allen Sr.
Richmond Planet, 7 March 1908.
Richmond Planet, 2 April 1910.
John Allen arrived in Newport News from Charles City County in 1899, an unlettered farm boy. Less than ten years later, he held high office in the Knights of Pythias of North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, an African-American fraternal organization founded in Richmond in 1869 after a black man was denied membership by the Pythians’ Supreme Lodge.
These notices, published in Richmond’s black newspaper, signaled to the public the fraternal organization’s trustworthiness and largesse and undoubtedly attracted new members and expanded its influence.