“At the dawn of the twentieth century black men of distinction had long functioned in various leadership posts, especially in the churches and benevolent association movement. Some, notably Frederick Douglass among them, had even served in high government posts. But by and large they lived lives separate from those of the black masses and the white professionals. In 1904 a small group in Philadelphia set out to create an organization that would provide a vehicle for men of standing and like tastes to come together to know the best of one another.”

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