MTA -- Mosaic Templars of America
The Mosaic Templars of America (MTA) is an African American fraternal organization offering mutual aid to the black community.
founded in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1882 and incorporated in 1883 by two former slaves, John Edward Bush and Chester W. Keatts. Taking its name from the biblical character of Moses, the organization offered illness, death, and burial insurance to African Americans at a time when white insurers refused to treat black customers equally. The name metaphorically linked the organization’s services to African Americans and the oppressive conditions of the Jim Crow South to Moses’s leadership during the Israelites’ Exodus from slavery in Egypt and into the Promised Land. At its peak in the 1920s, the organization had an estimated membership of over 100,000 members and had chapters in twenty-six states, the Caribbean, and South and Central America. Headquartered in Little Rock throughout its existence, the MTA exemplified a successful black-owned business enterprise. It expanded its holdings to include the Mosaic National Building and Loan Association, the Mosaic State Hospital (which also supported a nursing school), and the Mosaic Guide (originally American Guide) newspaper.