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Early African American Boy Scout Troops

July 31, 1911 celebrates the founding of America’s first "Negro Boy Scout" troop. Initially started in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, opposition was encountered immediately, but troops continued to meet in increasing numbers.  In 1916, the first official Boy Scout Council-promoted Negro Troop 75 began in Louisville, KY.  By the next year, there were four official black troops in the area. By 1926, there were 248 all-black troops, with 4,923 black scouts and within ten years, there was only one Council in the entire South that refused to accept any Black troops.

Edgar Cunningham Sr.

Edgar Cunningham Sr is believed to be the first African American become an Eagle Scout (the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Scouts BSA program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Since its inception in 1911, only four percent of Scouts have earned this rank after a lengthy review process. in the Boy Scouts of America. Edgar Cunningham, Sr. was the young man, a member of Troop 12, Waterloo, Iowa, of the Wapsipinicon Area Council. Cunningham received a hand-written letter from President Coolidge for his accomplishment.

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