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Henry J. and Florine D. Furlow papers

Identifier: aarl89-006

Scope and Content Note

The collection is 24 cubic ft. Much of the collection contains material from the "Heaven Bound" pageant performed each year at Big Bethel church, including programs; committee meeting notes; publicity; an original pageant script; and sheet music. The devil costume in which Mr. Furlow performed in the pageant is in the collection. Information about Big Bethel church and the Atlanta Public School system is present, including an 1872 annual report of the Atlanta School Board.

Approximately 3 cubic feet includes handbooks; correspondence; programs of sponsored events; and photographs of the Order of the Eastern Star. This information is restricted to members of the Eastern Star organization. Other information about Masonry in general is available including proceedings, reports, and newsletters.

Information on Sigma Gamma Rho sorority is present, including pictures from debutante balls in the mid 1960's; newsletters; and a scrapbook of the organization.

The collection contains over 200 pieces of sheet music of religious and secular music and photographs of events in which the Furlows participated.


  • 1938-1986


Restrictions on Use

Access to information on the Order of the Eastern Star and the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the Freemasons is restricted.

Historical Sketch

Henry J. Furlow (1902-1986) and Florine Dyer Furlow (1903-1987) were lifelong members of the Big Bethel A.M.E. Church of Atlanta, Georgia during the 1930's through the 1980's. Both were born and raised in Atlanta and completed their education there. They were married in 1938. They both had careers in the public school system of Atlanta.

Henry Furlow served as director of the pageant, "Heaven Bound" for many years and played the part of the Devil from 1944 until the late 1970's. This pageant was performed at Big Bethel A.M.E. Church. He was a social science teacher at Booker T. Washington and David T. Howard High Schools in Atlanta until the mid-1960's. He was also a founding member of the Atlanta Frontiers Club and a 33rd degree Mason. He was educated at Atlanta University and received a Master's degree from there in 1952. He was a coordinator of voter registration; assistant Boys secretary of the Butler St. YMCA; director of the Mason Glee Club of Big Bethel church; and Grand Chorister of Prince Hall Grand Lodge.

Florine Dyer Furlow was an educator and a former principal of South Atlanta and E.R. Carter Elementary Schools for many years. She was also Supervisor of Student Teachers at Morris Brown College. She was the organist for Choir #2 and the "Heaven Bound" pageant at Big Bethel A.M.E. church and was an active member of the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority and past Matron of the Ruth Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star.


15.5 Cubic feet




The collection consists of papers of Henry J. and Florine Dyer Furlow from 1938-1986. The papers include correspondence, photographs, printed material, scrapbooks, ephemera, and sheet music documenting the Furlows' activities as music leaders at Big Bethel A.M.E. Church (Atlanta, Ga.) and their involvement in educational and civic organizations in Georgia. Of particular interest are the programs, scripts, costumes, and publicity materials pertaining to the pageant "Heaven Bound." The collection also contains correspondence, minutes, reports, and photographs documenting Florine's involvement in the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority and handbooks, proceedings, newsletters, and photographs of the Ruth Chapter of the Order of Eastern Star and the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the Freemasons.


  1. I. [Family Papers], 1938-1983
  2. II. [Heaven Bound], 1941-1982.
  3. III. [Big Bethel A.M.E. Church], 1949-1985.
  4. IV. [Documents and photographs], 1971-1974.
  5. V. [Information on Order of the Eastern Star], 1951-1986.
  6. VI. [Freemasonry], 1948-1986
  7. VII. [Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority], 1937-1967
  8. VIII: [Records], 1939-1971
  9. IX: Sheet Music
  10. X. [Memorabilia], 1936-1985
Inventory of the Henry J. and Florine D. Furlow Papers aarl89-006 aarl89-006
Finding aid prepared by Finding aid prepared by Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History
2004 September 15
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African-American Culture and History Repository

101 Auburn Avenue NE
Atlanta GA 30303