Georgia: Not Such A Peachy Masonic State

“African-Americans continue to suffer from the consequences of slavery and Jim Crow laws – long after both systems were formally abolished – through enormous damage and loss, both tangible and intangible, including the loss of human dignity and liberty.”

Senate Resolution Apologizing For slavery  passed 6/18/09

Pretty near 50 years ago Martin Luther King marched in protest of the practices of segregation and racial discrimination. Forty-five years ago the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted.  These events all occurred when I was just a teenager.  Today I am a senior citizen and Mainstream Freemasonry has still not rid itself of racial discrimination.  Oh its been tried.  William H. Upton, Grand Master of Washington State recognized Prince Hall in 1898 but it didn’t stick.  In 1948 the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts tried again with the same result.

I have been writing about this problem in Mainstream Freemasonry for ten years. For ten years I have been pleading, begging Mainstream Freemasonry to get together to do something about living up to its ideals. And many Grand Lodges have recognized Prince Hall and have taken steps to insure racial equality, but the ones who do not, give the entire fraternity a black eye.

So much time has passed since some areas of the country have long since practiced any kind of massive racial discrimination that many Freemasons in these areas don’t believe the stories I have written about blackballing blacks and barring their admission at the Lodge room door. Canadian along with many Northern Freemasons just can’t fathom that these practices are still going on.  Some tell me I am passing on unsubstantiated stories which are just too horrible not to be far fetched imaginations of a revenge bent Brother. For ten years some entirely sympathetic Freemasons have demanded of me proof in black and white.

For ten years I have written commentary warning of what devastation would ensue the Craft if an enterprising reporter ever got hold of provable Masonic racial discrimination.  For ten years I have warned what havoc would result from a front-page Time or Newsweek story of Masonic racism.  For ten years I have written how important it is for Freemasonry to police itself. For ten years naysayers have said where’s your proof?

Well Judgment day has arrived. A smoking gun has been discovered in the hands of the Grand Lodge of Georgia ironically at the same time the US Senate has passed a resolution apologizing for slavery. We now have irrefutable proof in the Grand Lodge of Georgia’s own words that it has always been and still is illegal and Unmasonic for a Black man to gain its membership. And because this Georgia Masonic law was violated and a Black man was actually raised to Master Mason, the Georgia Worshipful Master who did so is being brought up on charges for a trial and expulsion.

charges 4

charges 4

The fox has come out of his den and been ensnared by its own cleverness or some would say stupidity. The unprovable but always known and whispered about is now boldly set before us in black and white. There is no way to refute or spin what has been done.  This offers no rational explanation that can remove the wretchedness of this dirty deed nor can there be any claim to quoting out of context.  The full set of documents is posted elsewhere on Freemason Information.

In addition to what has been presented here an anonymous Georgia source who will remain nameless for legal reasons tells me of some additional behind the scenes information.

First the charges were initiated by two Grand Lodge officers who recruited a Worshipful Master to actually file the charges.  It seems that when one Worshipful Master in Georgia files charges against another Worshipful Master the trial can be taken out of the local Lodge for its decision and be put in the hands of the Grand Master and his special tribunal. Thus this makes this whole matter a very calculated affair.

Second of all it seems that in Georgia when a candidate takes his obligation to not be at the making of a Mason of ……………………………..Georgia adds into the mix the word slave.  Now, according to my source, many Georgia Lodges have changed that word slave to the word Nigger. Whatever the custom may be when the charges refer to a violation of a moral obligation this is what is being referred to.

In addition I am told that a mother with her young daughter wishing to see what Rainbow was all about attended a public open Rainbow Installation in Georgia.  The mother and daughter were Black. The Installation stopped and everyone sat still and mute until the Black mother and daughter left.

The explanation for this racism in Mainstream Freemasonry is quite simple.  When the KKK went underground for the last time and in just a matter of years disappeared from public view many of them went right into Freemasonry.  Here abusing the power of the secret ballot they could black ball any “undesirables” and whiteball any Klansmen to gradually take over the composition of a Lodge legally following the rules and regulations of Freemasonry, a private society which would enhance their power and prestige in the community while at the same time enabling them to structure their environment to the white, Protestant, English speaking, politically conservative (no Liberals allowed) membership.

By allowing the diffusion of power into 50 individual Masonic fiefdoms and never correcting the abuses of the secret ballot, Mainstream Freemasonry permitted itself to be corrupted and abused. Freemasonry in California, Minnesota and Pennsylvania is so different from Freemasonry in West Virginia, Georgia and Florida that you are in realty talking about two different fraternities.  And you let it happen, you and I, because we refused to address any concerns of another jurisdiction following an age old non meddling tradition.

I am informed that a pretty big Associated Press story of this whole sordid affair will soon be splashed across the face of every local newspaper in this land.  You didn’t learn from West Virginia.  You didn’t take any steps to police yourselves.  Now you will pay the price.

It was just a few days ago I wrote “Don’t Be A Taliban Freemason.” In it I said that the young people of today will not join a racist organization among other things. If you think Mainstream Freemasonry is in a membership drought for whatever reason, just wait.  It’s going to get worse.  How worse?  Well it depends on who wants to do something about this mess.  Is Mainstream Freemasonry going to go in and clean up and correct rogue Grand Lodges?  Do other Mainstream Grand Lodges have the guts to pull recognition from American Grand Lodges who do not conform to basic Masonic principles?  I won’t hold my breath.  I got out three years ago and became a Prince Hall Mason where I am fully accepted and loved no matter how ugly I am.

What I will do is call upon some Mainstream Grand Lodges to pull recognition from Georgia immediately.  If enough individual Mainstream Brethren actually stood up and fought for Justice (one of the Four Cardinal Virtues) Grand Lodges might listen.  But I think they will do what they have been doing for years now.  They will just up and walk out. And Mainstream Freemasonry you have nobody to blame but yourselves.

“Truth is a divine attribute, and the foundation of every virtue.  To be good and true is the first lesson we are taught in Masonry.  On this theme we contemplate, and by its dictates endeavor to regulate our conduct.  Hence, while influenced by this principle, hypocrisy and deceit are unknown among us; sincerity and plain dealing distinguish us, and the heart and tongue join in promoting each other’s welfare and rejoicing in each other’s prosperity.”

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About Fred Milliken

Fred is a Past Master of Plymouth Lodge, Plymouth Massachusetts, and Past Master of Paul Revere Lodge, Brockton, Massachusetts. Presently, he is a member of Pride of Mt. Pisgah No. 135, Prince Hall Texas, where is he is also a Prince Hall Knight Templar . Fred is a Fellow of the Phylaxis Society and former Executive Director of the Phoenix Masonry website and museum.

Comments

  1. I would guess that this story is big enough to grab the attention of the mainstream media. I see John Stossel from 20-20 grabbing a hold of this and running with it. The question, why should this simply be the fodder of eMasonry blogs and message boards?

    Love & Light,
    Raum

  2. Bob Friend says:

    Chis, aren’t you from Indiana? I just happen to know that MANY masons in your state aren’t happy about PHA visiting. So, why don’t you clean up your own backyard first before you pick of Georgia. Seems like a war started 148 years ago because of meddling notherners.

    Bob

  3. Jeff Peace says:

    Back when I was a member of the Grand Lodge of Georgia I begged my brothers to listen to me about the racism. The Widows Son over at the Burning Taper wrote about it and the religious intolerance, but Masons from around the world denied that it was true.

    I guess the days of denial are over. The brothers who were expelled without charges or trial are at last vindicated. We followed out consciences and refused to submit to the racist edicts of the Grand Lodge of Georgia.

    Free at last… Free at last.

  4. David Cooksey says:

    and the truth shall set you free….

  5. I don’t know why these southern groups want to give Masonry such a bad name when they can just call their organizations exactly what they are … and it’s not Masonry. Masonry is Universal and ergo color-blind, so why does not the rest of the Masonic world stand up and challenge these usurpers for using the cover of the world’s greatest fraternity for their sinister motives? I doubt that if such hateful lessons are enshrined in the obligation, that the rest of their practices are inconsistent. Just because it is “regular” and covered in squares and compasses does not make it “Masonry.”

  6. Hey bros –

    It wasn’t until 1989 – that’s only 20 years ago – that the first mutual recognitions began in the US. Keep in mind that all GLs did not immediately descend into an orgy of love and brotherhood; it has taken 20 years to get 40 states to grant each other recognition, and believe me, the problems have not been all on the predominately white GLs to make this happen.

    Before we jump all over GA for being “racist”, let’s take a look at how long it took all of the US GLs to do what we’re asking of them. If you check the records, you’ll see that every year a couple of more states come around (interestingly, GLs practically fell over themselves to copy the
    the 1-day classes (Blue Lightning, or whatever they call them) from each other, but that’s another topic).

    We don’t have all the details about GA; hell, we barely have any details about GA, all we have are some internet reports and some innuendo. But the trial will be held soon, and until then, let’s remember our temperance, prudence, and all those other things that we hear about during those degree thingies that we took.

  7. I think we have a long record of racism in Georgia Masonry reported by many other Brethren. See this from 2007:

    http://burningtaper.blogspot.com/2007/10/would-you-sit-in-lodge-with-prince-hall.html

    And please remember that the GL of Georgia has made these accusations against a WM for raising a Black man. And it is they who brought the charges forth.

  8. Sorry but you are incorrect

    Two Grand Lodge officers recruited a Worshipful Master to file the charges. The charges then went through the Grand Masters hands for approval. A Worshipful Master was chosen because by Georgia law a Worshipful Master who charges another Worshipful Master removes the trial from the local Lodge and puts it before the Grand Master in his special tribunal. The trial is to be held in a small conference room so there will be no room for a lot of spectators or supporters for the accused. All the evidence points to a very calculated move to structure the trial in a certain manner.

    GRAND LODGE INITIATED THE CHARGES and is both the Prosecutor and the Judge at the same time.

    If you really believe that the Grand Lodge is not involved in this then you are very naive. Supposedly Georgia by-laws say there are no racial barriers to join in Georgia. If that is so then the Grand Master could have refused to hold a trial on the grounds that there is no basis for one. Instead he has vigorously supported one.

    In addition Gate City Lodge 2 has been consistently harassed for some time now. The Grand Lodge will move to pull its charter.

  9. And please remember that the GL of Georgia has made these accusations against a WM for raising a Black man. And it is they who brought the charges forth.

    Incorrect – the GL did not bring the charges, members of, including the WM of, another Lodge brought the charges.

    As we see from the letter of support from the GM about the raising of this brother, we know the GM doesn’t disapprove of making a black man a Mason in a mainstream Lodge in GA.

    By allowing this fractious charge to go forward, the GM is following protocol, and allowing the light of day to shine on the problem.

  10. Could someone please post the link to the letter of support for the Gate City Lodge Brother?

  11. Worshipful Master and Brothers of Gate City Lodge #2:

    I was forwarded some information about your current “situation” and found it so incredible that I checked your website.

    Please know at “all regular Masons” should stand with you in opposing any attempt to limit or hinder the membership in our Fraternity of ” men of age, professing a belief in God, who are of good report and well recommended”.

    As the 93rd Presiding Master of King Hiram’s Lodge, AF & AM, Chartered 12 Dec 1795 by MW Paul Revere, himself!. I express my outrage at the treatment surrrounding of your Bro. SS Victor Marshall. I congratulate him on appointment as an officer; may he serve with equal pleasure to himself and honor to the Fraternity.

    In Fraternal Affection.

    Ralph E. Desmond, WM

    Ralph. E. Desmond 508 487-1881
    Presiding Master
    King Hiram’s Lodge, AF & AM
    Provincetown MA
    Chartered – 12 Dec 1795 by M. W. Paul Revere
    http://www.KingHiramsLodge.org
    http://www.CapeCodMasons.org

  12. But Tom I do know that, I just can’t tell you who or how and perhaps you can appreciate the seriousness of revealing what you ask.

  13. Sorry but you are incorrect

    Two Grand Lodge officers recruited a Worshipful Master to file the charges. The charges then went through the Grand Masters hands for approval.

    Bro. Beehive, the problem is that we don’t know this at all. All we have is the PDF copy of the charges. Everything else is hearsay.

    Mark that: Until the trial takes place (and the facts are reported), or until somebody steps forward with documentation of the conspiracy – the alleged conspiracy, then all we have is hearsay.

    In the meantime, showing support for the members of Gate City #2 is appropriate, but accusing the entire GL of being racist Yahoos is probably not going to be very helpful.

  14. Oh, I believe that somebody told you something pertinent to the situation. But he needs to be vetted in order to admit those claims to this discussion, or else – and I repeat – it’s only hearsay.

    Bros, over the last few years, we’ve all seen some kind of outrageous action that other Masons have reported on blogs or forums. If there is any lesson that we all should have learned in the past few years it is that the truth is never what we’d like it to be. Seriously, we’re all looking for a chance to bash those racist SOBs down in [insert jurisdiction here], and while it may not be without some good reason, what we never seem to learn is that the situation is never how it appears at first.

    Note that I’m not advocating turning a blind eye. I’m saying that we need to exercise our critical thinking skills, and to subdue our passions until such time as the situation warrants. When is that time? When the facts – the facts, mind you – are known.

  15. Ummm the charges are there, in blacka nd white. They have been OK’d to continue.

    What am I missing?
    Love and Light,
    Raum

  16. If in fact the GL began this conspiracy by having to Gran Officers recruit another WM to bring up the charges and the GM was fully aware of this he should be empeached and permenantly removed from Masonry. The good ole boy crap should not be happening today.

  17. What you are saying Tom is that you don’t believe my word. So much for being a Mason.

    This business about everybody has to be vetted, everybody has to be proved, otherwise we accept no testimony is just very unrealistic.

    It is just totally out of reality, not in the way the world works, to get the true story from all sides. And if you are waiting for that then hell will freeze over before you get it.

    One has to make judgments and decisions on the best information available. If certain people refuse to spill their guts to the public so they can have their houses burned down and be fired from their jobs then I guess those that refuse to accept anything unless it is in black and white will always be disappointed.

    Northeast Masons have no idea what Southern Masons will do to protect themselves. They have no idea that in this particular case some Brother’s lives are at stake.

    I will not satisfy your curiosity nor prove what I have to say because you have to have it in black and white and subsequently be responsible for the death of a fellow Brother.

  18. The problem is that all will not be revealed. Only that which is forced to be revealed will be revealed. Only that which we demand and which we exert the maximum pressure on those involved will be revealed.

    Again there is the common mistake of moral equivalency here. Both positions are supposedly equally valid. We just have to wait for an impartial judgment.

    The problem is that this is just not true. The Prosecution and the Judge will be the same people. The decision will be whatever those in power think they can get away with without reproach.

    Our job is not to let them get away with it. That’s what the Third Estate does.

  19. Fred, all will be revealed, but not in an instance. It is logical that those reading this would want more information, or be in disbelief until their questions are satisfied.

    Its neither our place nor role to be make converts. The situation is a complex one and each of us do the math to understand it in our own way.

  20. I apologize for getting carried away.

    I do think that this will turn out well but really only because of all the publicity that has been generated. I don’t know what conclusions will be drawn when that happens but in the end if all turns out well I don’t really care.

  21. What you are saying Tom is that you don’t believe my word. So much for being a Mason.

    Oh, stop trying to give me the guilt trip. What I’m saying is that we can only deal with the facts in evidence. Your inside source could be wrong. Or mistaken. Or pushing his own agenda. Or he could be absolutely correct, but until the rest of us see the facts, then what good is it doing us?

    Again, I just want to repeat that we – those of us active on teh intertubez – need to learn not to react to the first reports; invariably, the situation never plays out the way it first appears.

  22. The Palmetto Bug says:

    “Northeast Masons have no idea what Southern Masons will do to protect themselves. They have no idea that in this particular case some Brother’s lives are at stake.”

    Yep, that was getting a bit carried away. Come visit here and I will show you really how it is in the South. It is probably just a little bit better than what you think. And please do not tell me that you live in the South – Texas does not count.

    By the way – I am serious about the invitation. You know how to get in touch with me if you want to come for a little visit and tour.

  23. Georgia Traveler says:

    As a PM of the lodge in Georgia where the charges originated, I can state the following:

    – We are not all in agreement with the charges nor are we all racist
    – The members of the lodge were unaware of these charges until we read them on this blog
    – All of Masonry, especially Georgia Masonry, WILL be dealt a severe blow
    – Georgia Masonry is not infiltrated by white supremacy any more than the Rotary, Lions club or the First Baptist Church. There is no organization exempt from ignorance and intolorance
    – The good brothers of Georgia are no different from the good brothers from any other jurisdiction
    – Based on first hand knowledge, I do not believe this to be a conspiracy, merely several convicted yet misguided brothers

    In the words of our great PGM, all Ga Brothers know to who I refer, Please God, “Let Brotherly Love Prevail!”

  24. Drapetomaniac says:

    Georgia Traveler,
    Will you be bringing Masonic Charges against the racist masons in your midst?

    “The good brothers of Georgia are no different from the good brothers from any other jurisdiction”

    I am Black and so far without controversy. Can good brothers say so in your jurisdiction without controversy and are all brothers in Georgia rising up on their behalf?

  25. BeeHive,
    While I feel your outrage is well founded, I must say that not all masons in Georgia are of the same opinion of the WM who prefered the charges against the WM of Gate City #2. I too am outraged.
    I have traveled for work for the last 20 years. I have visited many lodges in many states. I can tell you that on the surface they all appear to be the same and “brotherly love” prevails above all. I can also tell you that my own lodge openly appears the same as any other. Now, that said, I know for a fact that racism is a fact of life everywhere in this country. Not all masons in Georgia are racist. In fact I would bet that it is a very small minority, no more per capita than any other segment of our population. This doesn’t make it right by any means, but helps to put things into perspective.
    To accuse an entire state of masons of being racist is using the same prejudice against them that these narrow minded bigots have used in prefering charges against the WM of Gate City #2.
    I am hopeful that this issue will be resolved correctly, if not, many, many good men will leave the fraternity. I refuse to be associated with Freemasonry in Georgia if the Grand Lodge openly supports racism. I have proposed a resolution from my lodge in support of Gate City #2. If that resolution fails to be approved by my lodge, my departure from Freemasonry may be sooner than later.

  26. For the record I don’t condemn all Georgia Masons, never said I did. I am speaking about those who administer Georgia Mainstream Masonry.

    During the Cold War I always thought the Russian people were pretty nice human beings. But I was very critical of their government. Iran seems to have some pretty brave and outstanding citizens but I don’t think much of their leaders.

  27. C.W. "SKREEECH" Streeper says:

    Freemasonry at it’s core is a pure and noble organization comprised of men from all different back rounds. One of the things that makes the fraternity of Freemasons so great is it’s ability for it’s members to all meet together “on the level” free from the normal influences and constraints of society in general. Congressmen and enlisted men, musicians and movie stars, teachers and garbage men, postal workers and even members of the clergy all meet together with the single idea of becoming better men.

    The idea that all men were created equal was not just a notion thought up by the founders of the United States, but it was the core principal which made the Craft such a success in it’s modern form. Free from the bonds of religion, politics, and social status Masons were able to concentrate on becoming better men, better husbands, better fathers, and better citizens. That core ideal was the building block and foundation which our great fraternity has been built and is what aided in it’s spread though out the world making Freemasonry the largest fraternal organization in the world.

    This is a noble principal indeed but unfortunately it has been corrupted by individuals who seem to have forgotten that first lesson which was taught to us in Freemasonry as an Entered Apprentice. The creation and continued sustainment of the Prince Hall lodges is the prime example to which I allude. Prince Hall was essentially forced into creating his own lodge because of racist beliefs held by Freemasons in his area. In this I will be abundantly clear and let no mistake be made on my position, racism is a complete contradiction of Masonic principals and it has no place in the Craft.

    Dr. Martin Luther King in his “I Have a Dream” speech gave perhaps one of the most meaningful and pertinent statements ever made and it pertains directly to the first lesson taught to the new initiates into the lodge. He said “that a man should be judged by the content of his character and not by the color of his skin.” The word “skin” can be taken out of that statement and replaced by a variety of different terms and still be applied into the same contextual meaning.

    Men of character can come from all different places. You may find them covered in tattoos and riding motorcycles, you may find them working as a dishwasher or chef in a local restaurant, they might be a politician, or a teacher, or a carpenter. They are black, white, Asian, Indian, or Hispanic. They are Christian, they are Catholic, they are Muslim, they are Jewish, maybe even Buddhist or Wiccan.

    Some Grand Lodge jurisdictions are working to resolve some of these issues while some still are holding firm in their position of a segregated Masonry. Some Grand Lodges pretend to acknowledge the problem while individual lodges precipitate the same acts of discrimination harbored by the older generation.

    As 21st century Masons we must work to not only solve this problem but eliminate it entirely. We must lead by example and make our voices heard in our lodges and in our communities that if you are a man of character that you are welcome to petition any lodge you want. We not only dishonor our selves by inaction, but we do the Craft a dis-service by perpetuating the cycle of discrimination that can deprive the Fraternity of worthy and well qualified men.

  28. Michael R. Poll says:

    So, we are in the internet age. Anyone with a computer can be a “respected scholar” or “fighter for justice” (because they tell you so) and anyone with a website can be a grand body. We see those who do not have the stomach or smarts for the “long fight” drop by the way side to only throw indiscriminate rocks with no aim at all doing far more damage to the “side” they profess to champion than anything actually useful. The reporting of “facts” is defined by “something someone told in confidence.”

    You don’t change the mind of a bigot by telling him he is a bigot. You don’t change the policy of a GL by telling them that they are a bunch of bigots. Freemasonry is not a single GM or a single GL. It is a moral philosophy to which a GM or a GL can ascribe .. or they can ignore. This moral philosophy also does not give anyone magical powers where they can see into the hearts and thoughts of others. What in the world am I saying? I’m saying, enough with the second guessing, moral judgments (which could be way off) and passing of of rumor as facts. This is so, so sad.

  29. David Ontiveros says:

    Is this whole hullabaloo based on the pdf included in this blog? Has the authenticity of that document been confirmed? Where did it come from? I am no spelling expert, but it looks like there may be some(at least one) spelling errors in this document. In the last subsection of specification 2 the word “persuit” is used when I believe they mean “pursuant”. And I could be wrong, because in addition to not being a spelling expert I am also no Masonic legal jargon expert. However, I have never heard of or seen the word “persuit”. This is why my first thought was to question the authenticity of this document. Perhaps there are some agitators from within or possibly without the masonic community.

  30. Well here you go…it will only be a matter of time before AP and networks like Fox (which have run spots on southern Masonic racism) pick up the ball and run with this:

    http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/stories/2009/06/29/georgia_masons_sue_grand_lodge.html

  31. Want to see the latest orthodox theory?

    WARNING: Don’t be drinking or eating when you open this link. It may lead to chocking. :)

    http://goofuswatch.wordpress.com/

  32. The state’s Grand Master, the highest official in Masonry in Georgia, taking note of the controversy, issued a statement declaring that the new Mason “is a regular Mason and should be received as such,” according to the suit.

    So much for the arguments that it is a GL conspiracy to bring charges against Gate City.

  33. "Canadian Brother" says:

    Racisam is not just between colors white and black, it is also between nations or white oposite white.
    I’m white, born in Eastern Europe and Mason for so many years. Past Matser in many Masonic Bodies. I became W.M. through hard work and because of many circumstances in lodges. Mainly people dropping out from the chairs from internal fights, politics…
    Most members in Canadian lodges background is British (Scottish and Irish). When time came to be chosen for any hire office or to be propose for anything it is “normal” that they The Chosen One is eather Scotish or Irish. Depend who had majority in the lodge. It is not judge on Masonic activity,strenght,ability and community work…
    Usually, once The Chosen One Masonic term is over, you seldom see him agen in the lodge.
    I’m not alone, in many Masonic lodges in Canada I see the same discriminations and the same complaints from Brothern who are not of Anglo-Saxon decent.
    So, discriminations in Masonic Lodges are not only toward color members, it is also toward white who came from differant country!

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