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Historical PreservationHancock Lodge No. 311 Donates $2,500 to the Richard Allen Cultural Center and Museum

Kansas Masonic Foundation Supports Local Kansas Masonic Lodge With Museum Donation

Leavenworth, Kansas (May 17, 2021)—The Kansas Masonic Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to benefiting Kansas communities, has partnered with Hancock Lodge No. 311 to donate $2,500 to the Richard Allen Cultural Center and Museum. Opened in 1992 in the former home of U.S. Army Captain William Bly, a Buffalo soldier during World War I, the cultural center aims to highlight African-American history in Leavenworth, Kansas.  

Founded in 1889, Hancock Lodge No. 311 is a Kansas Masonic lodge dedicated to Freemasonry, the oldest surviving fraternal organization in the world. The lodge has more than 285 members dedicated to serving the local community and supports numerous charities, including the Alliance Against Family Violence, the Eastern Kansas VA Domicile, the Leavenworth Community Shelter, and the Leavenworth Mission Community Store and Food Pantry. This year will mark the lodge’s first donation to the Richard Allen Cultural Center and Museum as it continues to help educate the public about the rich African-American history in Leavenworth and their historical contributions to every phase of American life. It will also help promote a greater awareness of African-American heritage to enhance interracial understanding. 

“The Richard Allen Cultural Center and Museum seeks to preserve specific pieces of Leavenworth history such as original photographic plate negatives known as the Black Dignity Photos, donated from the Everhard Photograph Collection,” said Hancock Lodge No. 311 member Herbert Merrick. “We hope to help preserve these artifacts so that this rich history of Leavenworth, Kansas, is not forgotten.” 

The Bly Family Buffalo Soldier Home was originally deeded to the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1991 and remains next to the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Leavenworth, Kansas. The center eventually became named for Richard Allen, who founded the first African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States and opened in 1992 before an addition was built onto the front of the home in 2002 to provide a classroom tutoring space. The house is currently decorated with traditional decor of the early 1900s, with historic artifacts ranging from antique photographs of African-American pioneers to military artifacts from African-American soldiers who served at Fort Leavenworth, including personal items from Colin Powell.

To continue the lodge’s efforts of assisting the local community and encouraging educational opportunities, the Brothers at Hancock Lodge No. 311 have partnered with the Kansas Masonic Foundation to provide a monetary donation of $2,500 to the Richard Allen Cultural Center and Museum. The funds raised by the Brothers at Hancock Lodge No. 311, combined with the matching funds from the Kansas Masonic Foundation, will help support regular museum operations and provide additional educational programs such as museum exhibits, tours, research opportunities, and traveling exhibits for the general public. The donation will also help fund the year-round tutoring program available to all students in need of additional services to improve their academic skills and ensure that this unique piece of Leavenworth’s history is not forgotten. 

About the Kansas Masonic Foundation:
As the philanthropic arm of Kansas Masons, the Kansas Masonic Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to benefiting Kansas communities and supporting fellow Masons and their families. Since its inception, the foundation has invested more than $50 million in Kansas communities and individuals through funding academic, scientific, and charitable endeavors. For additional information about the Kansas Masonic Foundation and to get involved, click here. 

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