Feb 8, 2013 / 04:03 am
During Black History Month, the Knights of Columbus are noting the Catholic organization’s “forward-thinking” attitudes towards racial equality long before they were popular.
Andrew Walther, Vice President for Communications and Media at the Knights of Columbus, told CNA the Catholic fraternal organization “took stands for racial equality in ways that were really stunning, when you think of the 1920s or the 1910s.”
The Knights of Columbus’ first African-American member joined the Order in Massachusetts in the 1890s, less than two decades after its founding.
Walther attributed this openness to the organization’s understanding that everyone could contribute as “important members of society.”
“The policy in the Knights of Columbus from the top-down was always in favor of racial harmony and inclusion,” Walther said. “I think the Knights of Columbus was far ahead of its time.”
During World War I, the Knights of Columbus hosted racially integrated rest and recreation facilities for troops in Europe, when no other social service organizations were integrated.
“We were the only ones that were opening the doors to everybody,” Walther noted. “Thirty years before the army integrated, we were integrating the army.” …
Go here for the rest of the story.