Ethnic Heritage Museum Salutes Black Historical Fraternal Organizations

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The Ethnic Heritage Museum (EHM) invites you to join us for a two-day celebration of Black History Month on February 9th and 10th. This year’s celebration is a tribute to “Black Historical Fraternal Organizations” which include the Masons, Eastern Star and the Blackhawk Elks”. This exhibit will showcase how these service organizations of professional men and women impact our community in areas from youth development, education, scholarship, health awareness and social action.

To kick off this exciting two-day celebration, the African American Gallery is hosting an Italian Dinner buffet and “Divine 9” Step/Stroll Show exhibition at Burpee Center/Regent’s Hall at Rockford College on Saturday, February 9th starting at 6:00 PM. The “Divine 9” are the nine historic Greek lettered fraternities and sororities. The Step/Stroll show will feature both graduate and undergraduate members.

This event is sponsored by Chromelight II magazine, Rockford College and the African American Gallery of the Ethnic Heritage Museum. These organizations are partnering to provide support for the preservation of Rockford’s African American history.

Tickets for the Italian Dinner/Step Show celebration are $25 for adults and $15 for students. College student are require to present ID. To purchase a ticket for the dinner, contact members of the Black fraternities/sororities, or online at

On Sunday, February 10th from 2:00-5:00 PM, the “Salute to Black Historical Fraternal Organizations” exhibit will be unveiled at the Ethnic Heritage Museum located at 1129 South Main Street. A short program will begin at 2:30. Admission for the unveiling is free to the public but donations are appreciated. Light refreshment will be served.

How much do you know about the Black Mason? This exhibit will feature Welcome Star Lodge #36 PHA Free & Accepted Mason, Master Builders Masonic Lodge Prince Hall Origin F&AAYM, Princess Zoriah Chapter #20 PHA and IBPOE Blackhawk Elks Lodge.

In addition, the exhibit will pay a special tribute to Paul W. Caine, one of the founders of Kappa Alpha Psi, a one time resident of Rockford who is buried at Greenwood Cemetery. It will also celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the founding of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

EHM is unique in its blend of ethnic groups; African American, Italian, Lithuanian, Irish, Polish, and Hispanic. A visit to each of the six galleries will enlighten visitors of the cultural history of each of these groups and their contributions to life in Rockford. These exhibits are great for families. Group tours can be arranged by contacting the museum at 815/962-7402 or emailing The museum is handicap accessible.

The “Salute to Black Historical Fraternal Organizations” exhibit will be on display at the Ethnic Heritage Museum every Sunday from 2:00-4:00 from February 10th to April 7th. Admission after February 10th is $3 for children, $5 for adults and $10 for families.

For more information visit our website at

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