Last month, Bryan on Scouting, a newsletter for the BSA’s adult leaders, declared Harry Cooper of Missouri was the first black Eagle Scout.
This month, however, Bryan Wendell, who writes the newsletter, amended his conclusion and declared Hamilton Bradley of Rome, N.Y., from the Utica-based Leatherstocking Council, which now includes Otsego County, has that honor.
Bradley’s Eagle Scout court of honor was held on Dec. 19, 1919, according to newspaper records from the time, indicating he was elevated to Eagle Scout at least nine months before Cooper.
Wendell gave credit for the discovery to Brendan Kelly, an Eagle Scout and Scouting volunteer in Utica, who was completing research for the 100th anniversary of one of his council’s camps when he saw a story about an African American Eagle Scout who earned the award in Scouting’s earliest days.
“I noted it in my mind but didn’t think it was extraordinary until reading your article,” he says.