Brotherhood and the Bottomline
The Mosaic Templars of America
The Mosaic Templars of America was an African American fraternal organization founded in Little Rock in 1882 and incorporated in 1883 by two former slaves, John E. Bush and Chester W. Keatts. The organization was established to provide important services such as burial insurance and life insurance to the African-American community. Like many fraternal organizations, the Mosaic Templars' burial insurance policies covered funeral expenses for members, both men and women, who maintained monthly dues.
By 1913, the burial insurance policy also included a Vermont marble marker. These markers are still found in cemeteries across Arkansas and other states. As membership grew, the Mosaic Templars expanded its operations to include a newspaper, hospital, and building and loan association. The organization attracted thousands of members and built a complex of three buildings at the corner of West Ninth Street and Broadway. In July 1930, the Mosaic Templars of America went into receivership. The organization struggled to regain its status, but by the end of the decade it had ceased operations in Arkansas.
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