James

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Takodah Chapter of Owasippe

When Carroll A. Edson became a Field Executive in 1921 in Chicago Council it was only natural that he would bring Wimachtendienk with him. Chicago in 1921 had five geographic districts and a sixth “division” that was an overlay of the entire council. This division was the Douglas Division and it was for African American Scouts. No matter where in Chicago you lived, if you were Black then you were segregated into the Douglas Division.

First known African American Vigil Honor

On October 24th and 25th, 1936 the Owasippe Lodge held a Fellowship Conference. The conference is remarkable for two things. The first was that Owasippe invited other lodges to attend their fellowship. Ay-Ashe Lodge from Manitowoc, Wisconsin and Tomkita Chara Lodge from Wausau, Wisconsin attended. Later, after National Chief Joseph Brinton read of the Fellowship Conference he was eager to share the concept of multi-lodge events in the National Bulletin.

The second noteworthy event of the Fellowship weekend was Emerson James was elected and kept his Vigil the night of October 24 through the morning of October 25th. In so keeping, Emerson James became the earliest known and presumptively the first African American Vigil Honor member.

First Known African American Second Degree

In November of 1932, the Third Biennial Conference for Region 7 was held at Great Lakes Naval Training Station, Great Lakes, Illinois. 155 Arrowmen attended from five different lodges plus Grand Chieftain Robroy Price in attendance.

On the night of November 12, 1932 fifteen Arrowmen, selected by their lodge or chapter for initiation into the Second Degree, were introduced to the assembly of Arrowmen that included the Grand Chieftain. Among those fifteen were three members of Owasippe Lodge’s Takodah Chapter, the segregated chapter of Chicago. Those three men were Dr. William H. Benson, Emerson James and Horatio W. Isbell. These three men are the oldest known African American members of the Order to become Brotherhood Honor members. That night they received their initiation and sealed their membership in the Order.

Emerson James

Emerson James was presumptively the first African American Vigil Honor member. He was from Woodlawn, located on the South Side of the City of Chicago.

James E. West Chief Executive

On January 1, 1911, James E. West begins his tenure as the first executive secretary of the Boy Scouts of America and opens a new office in New York City on January 1, 1911.  The position would be renamed Chief Scout Executive, a position occupied by West until 1943.

James E. West Chief Scout Executive

James Edward West, born May 16, 1876, never knew his father. His mother died when Jimmy was six. He spent most of his youth in a Washington, D.C. orphanage, except for two years starting at age eight when he was in a hospital being treated for tuberculosis, which left one leg crippled, often strapped on his back.

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