Based in Florida, the Lily White Security Benevolent Association was composed of African Americans, of both genders, who worked to provide better living conditions and opportunities to their members. On a flyer, printed in the mid-twentieth Century, they claim to be the largest benevolent society in the state of Florida. The flyer goes on to proclaim the strength of the organization:
EVIDENCE OF LILY WHITE STRENGTH AND PROGRESS
1. Over 650 units in Florida and Georgia, all of them built on Christian principles.
2. An educational fund to aid young preachers to secure theological training.
3. An educational fund to aid high school graduates to secure college training.
4. Our strong and solvent financial condition with an asset structure of nearly one million dollars.
5. Over 25,000 members in senior and junior departments.
6. Our three beautiful Temples worth over $80,000, one of which is by all odds the most commodious and largest owned by Negroes south of Jacksonville. They were bought for cash and never have been mortgaged.
7. Our well appointed 33-bed hospital is worth over $150,000. It was built for cash and never has been mortgaged 8. Our major officers under surety bond with a million dollar company. We are the only Negro Society in Florida able to make this claim.
9. Our financial assistance exceeding $60,000 to preachers and churches and charitable donations of more than $50,000 to sick and afflicted without regard to lodge affiliation.
10. We give full time employment to 100 Negro men and women as clerks, maids, nurses, cooks, laundresses, nurses aides and janitors.
11. The Lily Whites own $15,000 in War Bonds, five apartments on rent, and 31 vacant lots in the city limits of Tampa.
12. Lily White Hospital has been completely air-conditioned at a cost of $10,000 for the convenience and comfort of our members.
13. The Lily White Rest Haven was built and furnished for $60,000 and never has been mortgaged. It has 20 beds for Lily Whites who have come to advanced age or suffered an incurable accident. It is completely air-conditioned.
14. The Lily White Society is rich in love and charity and has no regrets for the past, no apologies for the present no fears for the future. The Lord is on our side.
The fez shown here appears to be a basic members fez. It was purchased at auction, along with a matching member’s ribbon. The fez probably dates from the high point of the order, in the mid-1960’s. At this time, it is unknown where chapter No. 204 met.
If you have anymore information about this fez or the organization, please contact us!