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Mainstream Scottish Rite Recognizes Prince Hall Scottish Rite In All States

From Federal Lodge No 1  Washington, D.C.

“Exciting news today from Washington D.C.! The Supreme Council, 33º, of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, and Mother Supreme Council of the World, in session this week, announced that it is formally recognizing the Prince Hall Scottish Rite Supreme Council. Further, the Sovereign Grand Commander for the Northern Jurisdiction said that if the Southern Jurisdiction recognizes the Prince Hall Supreme Council, they would do it also.”

Those who watched the streaming session of the Supreme Council Southern Jurisdiction saw this announcement live. You can re-watch that HERE: This announcement was made Monday, August  26, 2013 by SGC Southern Jurisdiction  Ill. Ronald A. Seale, 33º and seconded by SGC Northern Jurisdiction  Ill. John William McNaughton, 33° and presented to Prince Hall SGC Ill Deary Vaughn, 33°.

Scottish Rite

Scottish Rite Sovereign Grand Commander of the Southern Jurisdiction, Ill Ronald A Seale

Finally the leadership at the top has responded. This has breakthrough ramifications for those Confederate states that still refuse to recognize Prince Hall. If the Scottish Rite Bodies in these states recognize each other how can the Blue Lodges not do the same? This breaks the back of objections to mutual recognition throughout the United States between Prince Hall Freemasonry and Mainstream Freemasonry. It clears the way for all Mainstream Grand Lodges in the United States to recognize all Prince Hall Grand Lodges with mutual visitation included.

A Prince Hall Perspective On The Universalism Of Freemasonry Through Religious Toleration

California-sealThe Beehive is proud to present an article from Brother Samuel L. Parker, Sr. of The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge Of California. Prince Hall Freemasonry is blossoming with thinkers, writers and reformers who want to bring to the Fraternity an intellectual involvement that can only bring about a new renaissance.

Brother Parker is addressing the concept of religious toleration within the Prince Hall family. He makes a strong point that Masonic Universalism is dependent on elimination of sectarian religious practices in the Fraternity. We would make the same case for partisan politics.

In “Ruling and Decision #3” the Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Florida, on November 28th, 2012, ruled and decided that Paganism, Wiccan and Odinism, Agnosticism, and Gnosticism beliefs and/or practices were NOT compatible with Freemasonry.[1]  Based on his conclusions, the Grand Master directed that … “any member of the Craft that professes to be a member of one of the groups mentioned above shall tender his resignation or suffer himself to a Trial Commission whose final outcome will be expulsion…  On May 28th, 2013, it is reported that the Grand Lodge of Florida voted to rescind the Grand Masters’ Ruling and Decision.

 After reading of the policy reversal in Florida, I began hopefully envisioning a room full of Prince Hall Masons exercising that same manly consciousness and mustering the fortitude to examine the religious understandings and policies of (even) a Grand Master, and say “No” to a policies and practices which are not consistent with morally correct Masonic values, laws, and traditions.  Each of us is, faithfully obliged in the dignity of the character of that celebrated artist, to faithfully discharge that duty to carefully preserve, never suffer the infringement of, nor countenance a deviation from, the Landmarks of our Order – by Grand Masters or anyone else.

 I am hopeful that, in light of the reversal of the Grand Master’s policy in Florida, that we members of Prince Hall Masonic bodies seize upon a learning opportunity and consider our policies and practices regarding sectarian religious perspectives and practices (including learning what sectarian practices are, and looking for ways to determine whether these practices exist in our lodges and grand lodge events).

 As one example, in PHA lodges and grand lodges, you will invariably (to my knowledge) find the Holy Bible on the altar of open lodges as an “indispensable part of the furniture of every Lodge.”  To be clear, I am suggesting that the Holy Bible is not on the altars of Prince Hall Lodges as “a representation of” or “an example” of “a” “Book of the Law.”  In practice and unofficial policy (even perhaps “official” in some jurisdictions), the Holy Bible sits on the altars of Prince Hall Lodges as “The” “Book of the Law.”  Accordingly, most (are taught and) would believe that the lodges are complying with the 21st Landmark of the Order, when, in fact, they are violating the Landmark.

 In a Masonic setting, viewing the Holy Bible as “The Book of the Law” fosters mis-education and mis-informing candidates and Masons that Masonry is a “Christian organization.”  When candidates and Masons understand that Landmark 21 requires “…that “a” “Book of the Law” shall constitute an indispensable part of the furniture of every Lodge…” they may then view the Holy Bible on the altar as “a” (one of many) representation(s) of a Book of the Law.  Policies and practices that insist on having “only the Holy Bible” open on the altars of working lodges creates the (easily correctable) appearance of hypocrisy between the Landmarks of the Order and the policies or practices of our Lodges and Grand Lodges.  The appearance can be easily corrected by displaying other examples of a “Book of the Law.”

 If you are having trouble thinking of a valid and appropriate example of a Masonically-correct Book of the Law, you are probably an example of a “victim” of the “Christian organization doctrine/perspective.”  There is relief available to you, thru Masonic education.  The Lodge is not a church.

 The significance of understanding that Masonry requires “a” Book of the Law on the altars of open lodges could present teaching moments when candidates and Masons find various Revealed Books of the Sacred Law on the altars of open lodges.  The practice of putting other Books of Law on the altar (as equal representatives of the principle of revealed texts), might hint to and suggest religious tolerance.  It might also remove a peg in the argument that Masonry is a Christian organization.  Perhaps it might even enable investigating committees to give favorable reports on candidates who are not religiously persuaded by the book that is “always” on the altar of the lodge.  In the long run, some may even discover that there is a distinction between Landmark 21’s “Book of the Law” and the Holy Bible.

 I am not averse to a Holy Bible being placed on the Masonic altar “as an example or representation” of “the” Volume of Sacred Law.  I am opposed to a Holy Bible being placed on the Masonic altar as “THE” (sole and exclusive) “Volume of Sacred Law.”  There is a great difference. 

 If you think it is a trivial matter and just a semantical equivocation, ask your Worshipful Master or Grand Master to place (and leave open) ANY other Volume of Sacred Law.  (Do not try this if you are not prepared for a backlash.)

 Masonic universality is the principle that should govern the practices in our lodges – not the values, practices, and incongruent interests of any particular church doctrines.  Masonry is not an extension of a single church doctrine.  Christian Lodges, Muslim Lodges, Catholic Lodges, etc. should be oxymorons – from a Masonic perspective.  The results of too many uncontested years of tolerating, permitting, and advocating a false perspective (that Masonry is founded on Christian principles and based on the Holy Bible) is divisive and has led to too many Masons and potential Masons being the victims of this mis-education and religious intolerance.

Relief is in sight….

Bro. Samuel L. Parker, Sr.

Rooftop Raising

rooftop raising - opening the lodgeSome days you don’t even feel like getting out of bed. Saturday, April 27, 2013 was one of those days and while I slept in I didn’t stay in. Oh no, no way. For there was a rooftop raising to go to and I was to be the Chaplain. So with a cold, muscular-skeletal issues, nevertheless, I persevered because this might be a once in a lifetime opportunity.


Arriving early I was able to take pictures as the rooftop space was being set up and in the light of day. We opened Lodge as the sun set and 6 Fellow Crafts were raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason in the night. We had two sidelights and the lighting of the three lesser lights around the altar. That was all.

This whole idea was the brainchild of Worshipful Jerome D. Lacy, Master of Metropolitan Lodge #146, DeSoto, Texas, a Lodge of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas. We gathered on the 5th floor rooftop of a building on the side of a hill in Dallas along I35 just south of downtown Dallas. From this vantage point one could see a beautiful view of the core city of Dallas.

The degree was performed by a degree team comprised of Brothers from many of the Lodges of the 11th Masonic District. All 11 Lodges of the district had representatives present to watch this degree. Both the Grand Master and Deputy Grand Master were present to lend their support.

What a sight it was to see 6 Brothers at the altar taking their obligation illuminated just by the three lesser lights and 75 Master Masons on the right and the left. The Master was on the East side of the altar under the wands and the Chaplain on the West side under the wands.

Only a little bit later these 6 Brothers were raised under the canopy of a true starry decked heaven, the one that God made. Afterward we all sat down for a meal under the stars and fellowshipped only as Master Masons can.

The night was a huge success and when anybody asks me about this “Masonic male bonding thing,” I always tell them you got to see it and experience it to believe it. This was one of many great instances where being a Freemason was proved to be something special!

Brothers Often Talked To, Never Seen

You correspond with Brothers for years. You get to know them really well. Or perhaps you go through a particularly trying time just once with a Brother long distance. That’s enough for a strong bond. But still there is something lacking, the joy of a face to face relationship.

Such was the case for me with the Brothers from Gate City Lodge No 2, Atlanta, Georgia.

That is until I finally made it to Atlanta.

In town for the 2013 Phylaxis Convention,  I got together with Brothers Beaux Pettys,  WM Victor Marshall, PM Mike Bjelajac and Carlos Peon all from the Mainstream Grand Lodge of Georgia.

Perhaps you remember the story of African American Brother Victor Marshall who the Grand Lodge of Georgia tried to expel because of the color of his skin.  And then after that battle was won when they refused to admit him to the Scottish Rite.

In case those stories got by you here are the original articles:

Georgia: Not Such A Peachy Masonic State

My brother’s keeper. Open Racism in Georgia Freemasonry.

Georgia Black Mainstream Mason Is Black Balled Again

 For The Second Time In His Masonic Journey

Mike Bjelajac was Master of the Lodge at the time and it is upon his shoulders that much of the heat was applied. Just a few minutes of conversation with Mike and you could tell why he handled it so well. He is a mild mannered, kind Brother, the non excitable type.

The Gate City Lodge Brothers decided to dine with me at the Phylaxis Society host hotel. This made for a good deal of interaction between Brothers from different Grand Lodges. You would never know that Georgia does not recognize Prince Hall by the way and manner in which brotherly love and affection was demonstrated this night.

Another chapter in life has been experienced and I am back home in Texas, now. But the joy of a time when we could break bread together, laugh and hug each other and get to know something of the inner man will live with me for many years hence. Truly there is no substitute for fraternity and fellowship in person.

The History of Prince Hall and Early American Freemasons

I was born and brought up in Lexington, Massachusetts the birthplace of the American Revolution where Paul Revere rode into town screaming “the British are coming, the British are coming” on April 19, 1775. I have always been a lover of history and an American Revolutionary War buff.

But I never learned this history when I was growing up.

Here is an address by Cambridge, MA, Mayor E. Denise Simmons before the Cambridge Historical Society on February 18th, 2009 at about the time of the celebration of the placement of a monument to Prince Hall on the Cambridge Common. The Mayor’s research was assisted by RW Grand Historian Raymond T. Coleman of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, Brother Red Mitchell, and the Senior Curator of Collections at the Scottish Rite National Heritage Museum, Lexington, MA and reviewed by the Prince Hall Grand Master of Massachusetts.

Prince Hall Monument Site Dedication

Prince Hall Monument Site Dedication

The History of Prince Hall and Early American Freemasons

E. Denise Simmons Mayor City of Cambridge Massachusetts February 18, 2009

Speech by Mayor Simmons
before The Cambridge Historical Society
159 Brattle St., Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02138

Not long ago, Sept. 12, 2006, as a city Councilor, I introduced before the City Council, a resolution to erect a monument, on or around the Cambridge Common, to a Black American Patriot and civil rights pioneer, Prince Hall. At that time, many were asking, “Who, what or where is Prince Hall”?

I am pleased that we have present this evening, the modern day Prince Hall, the 67th successor to Prince Hall, Most Worshipful Grand Master, Anthony I. Jakes, Sr. of The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and some of his officers. I am not a Mason, so whatever I say, if it is incorrect, I ask our esteemed and knowledgeable Masons to correct me. I only know how Prince Hall and the organization he founded affected my life, and it is my intention this evening to praise Prince Hall for his Great Vision of Freedom for our nation, and to congratulate these men you see here in black suits that have continued his legacy. Thanks to Aimee E. Newell, our previous speaker, Senior Curator of Collections at the National Heritage Museum, for providing such excellent information about these early Masons and how their lodges were formed.

The History of Prince Hall and Early American Freemasons, or Freemasonry in Massachusetts during the Founding Period of our Nation will be the theme of my remarks. A sub-title would be Freemasonry and the Vision of Prince Hall.

Prince Hall, Black Mason, Freemasonry as an organization for black men in America begins with Prince Hall who was the first black man made a Mason in America, March 6, 1775. There were black Masons here, mariners and others, who were made masons elsewhere. There were two types of Masons in early America, one white and one black. Slavery was a legal institution. Separation of the races was the norm and there was little if any social intermingling between them. Both began before our nation was born. One grew out of the need to socialize and extend charity. The other came from the need to organize and to advocate for social justice. Freemasonry is supposed to be Universal and regard all men as brothers. It is interesting to see how this principle affected the activity of these two diverse groups during the formative years of our nation. Remember, from remarks made by our previous speaker, there were two sets of white Masons, the Moderns and the Ancients, They did not unite until after the war.

 The story of how Prince Hall was refused admission into Masonic lodges among the Colonist, and then turned to an Irish Military Lodge of the British Army, where he and 14 other black men were made Masons on Castle William Island, is an irony. It speaks of the difficult choices Prince Hall had to make in pursuing his vision of freeing his people. When the Military lodge he belonged to moved away during the war, he and his other members were left without a lodge. They were given a “permit” to operate, which is like a Lodge under dispensation. It allowed them to walk on St Johns day and bury their dead, but could do no other Masonic work. They named the lodge African Lodge #1. After several years, Prince Hall, by chance, applied to the original source of Freemasonry, the Grand Lodge of England. He was granted a charter and was appointed Master of the lodge. The charter, dated the 29th day of September, 1784, designated African Lodge, number #459 on the register of the Grand Lodge of England, made its members a Regular Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons.

Lodges or Grand Lodges in America, after the war, broke away from the Grand Lodge of England. The two white groups in Massachusetts joined together forming the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and declared themselves independent of England. They did not include African Lodge whose charter came directly from England. My understanding of the term “The Universality of Freemasonry” is a concept where all masons are one family, without regard to nations. This was interpreted to mean the lodges in America had no reason to separate from the Grand Lodge of England, but they did. Think of the implications this presented to Prince Hall and his Lodge. It made them the only lodge, or Provincial Grand Lodge, belonging to the Grand Lodge of England in America. Did this make or constitute Prince Hall a Provincial Grand Master? Remember, in 1733, Henry Price had formed the first Lodge, and Provincial Grand Lodge in Massachusetts, simultaneously, from 18 men.

The Masonic Prince Hall

The press release announcing the subject of tonight’s presentation said “It is believed that he was one of six African American men named Prince Hall who fought in the American Revolution, some of whom fought at Bunker Hill.” Six? During my research for this paper and in questioning some of my Masonic Friends, they reminded me that there is a lot of confusion about the different Prince Halls and misinformation about the Masonic Prince Hall. In some recent books by noted Historic writers, some of this misinformation is repeated. It seems that a Masonic writer named William H. Grimshaw, a Grand Master of Black Masons in the District of Columbia, created much of the myths and misinformation. He wrote a book in 1903 called “The Official History of Freemasonry among the Colored People in North America. The term “Official” caused it to be taken as such, and many other writers and researchers copied what he said. It has been shown that there is no evidence or documentation to support many of his claims related to Prince Hall. I am told that much of the wrong information surrounds Prince Hall’s birth. White Masons were trying to disclaim the legitimacy of Black Masons because Masonic ritual says a man must be born free. Grimshaw gave Prince Hall a White father and a free Mulatto mother to qualify him as a Mason. He stated he was born in 1748 in Bridgetown Barbados and was sent to Boston to apprentice. There is no definitive record of Prince Hall prior to his association with a William Hall, who gave him his manumission papers. Please consult the book by Charles H. Wesley, Prince Hall Life and Legacy, for a thorough understanding.

Prince Hall and the City of Cambridge

Our city of Cambridge is noted for its diversity and liberalism. On our city jewel known as the Cambridge Common, tribute is paid to many different ethnic groups for their patriotic contributions to our city and our nation. There was no mention of the contributions of its African American citizens. “Not quite true”, some one said. You just have to know your history and how it works. They’re just standing in the background or in the shadows. See that Memorial over there to General Thaddeus Kosciusko? He was so impressed by his personal servant, Agrippa Hull, a Massachusetts freeman that served him through the war, that he gave his fortune to Thomas Jefferson to buy the freedom of as many slaves as he could, including Jefferson’s own slaves. There is just no mention of Agrippa Hull on the stone. Look at the big stone with the brass relief of George Washington taking command of the Continental army. If you look close you can see the artist tried to insert a black face to represent the many black militiamen that had fought at Concord and Bunker Hill and was ready to take part in the Revolution. William “Billy” Lee, General Washington’s constant companion and body servant, in war and peace, must have been there somewhere, They just didn’t mention his name either.

Our new President, Barack Obama, seemingly emerged out of the shadows of many prominent Democrats, into the forefront, in the manner of a popular television show. The Idol. He was being praised for his keynote address at the Democratic Convention, July 2004 and his election to the US Senate from Ill, January 3, 2005. But his primary occupation was that of a

Community Organizer.

Today’s Man of Honor, Prince Hall, offers us another opportunity to introduce to the present generation, not the best known or most popular, but perhaps the most influential man of color, cumulatively, that ever lived in America. We say cumulatively since he lived during the Founding period of our Nation and his influence continues to this day. He is the founder of African American Freemasonry, the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and a worldwide affiliation of Lodges and Grand Lodges, sometimes called Prince Hall Masonry.

Sidney Kaplan, a founding member of the Department of African-American Studies at U. Mass Amherst, in his book “The Black Presence in the Era of the American Revolution 1770-1800” describes him this way. “Prince Hall, Boston’s most prominent black leader of the era of the Revolution, was not a poet, or an artist, nor was he a preacher or a scientist. He was the founder of the world’s first lodge of Black Masons. But more than that, he was, in a sense, the first black organizer in American history. His gift was to show some of his people, in the new climate of independence, how they might get together in defense of their social, political, and economic rights.” I wonder if our President knows about our first black community organizer?

For many, the image of a civil rights leader is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and rightly so. But he, and others associated with the civil rights movement, stand on the shoulders of Prince Hall. He was among the first black civil rights leaders. Not only were there black codes that prevented blacks gathering in groups, but bounty hunters ready to kidnap and return to slavery any upstart or outspoken “Troublemaker”. He faced hostile crowds while advocating for schools for children and speaking out for equal rights and preparing petitions to abolish slavery and presenting them before the Great and General Court.

Along with Prince Hall’s activities as a Community Organizer and civil right’s leader, he was also a businessman. He was a tanner or leather dresser, a trade he learned as an apprentice from his Master, William Hall. It’s interesting that Dr. Jeremy Belknap, American Clergyman noted for his History of New Hampshire and one of the Founders of the Massachusetts Historical Society, wrote glowingly about the character of Prince Hall. Belknap’s father was also a tanner, this may account for his affinity for Prince Hall. Prince Hall’s business was located not far from the Boston Common and was called “The Golden Fleece”. He was also the foremost caterer, a sort of Wolfgang Puck or Emeril Lagasse of his day. There is a story called the “Turtle Feast” in a book, that you can get from your library, called Minutemen and Mariners, True tales of New England by Charles F. Haywood. The story is based on information from the Diaries of William Bentley, Harvard Professor and Pastor of the East Church of Salem. In this book is this description of Prince Hall, “As for a turtle feast, there was one outstanding expert: Prince Hall. A tall, lean Negro of great dignity, he always carried himself with the air of one who ruled many. Indeed he did, for whenever a well to do person wished the best catering job in Eastern Massachusetts, he sent word to Prince Hall in Boston, and when the time came he appeared with a dozen of his black men, or two dozen if the banquet was a large one”. This story tells of the character of Prince Hall and how he provided work for perhaps members of his lodge and other free blacks. The information also comes from the one man who probably knew Prince Hall better than most, the Rev. Dr. William Bentley, whose diaries we earlier mentioned. Prince Hall submitted his charges, or his lectures to Dr. Bentley before delivering them to the African Lodge. Dr. Bentley himself was a noted Masonic scholar and gave Masonic lectures and sermons to the lodges in Boston and Marblehead.

Question! When did Prince Hall find time to practice Masonry? I’m told this can take up quite a bit of your time.

Where history shows Freemasonry came to Massachusetts in 1733, many of the Masons associated with the American Revolution knew, or were aware of each other. John Hancock, Joseph Warren and Paul Revere, and Prince Hall, Lemuel Haynes and Pompey Edes, played special roles. John Hancock, Joseph Warren and Paul Revere were members of a Lodge called St. Andrews. It is said that members of this Lodge visited the African Lodge. That John Hancock knew Prince Hall and was a customer is testified by a receipt for services of nine pounds and 64 pence in the Massachusetts Historical Society and it was John Hancock’s brother-in Law, Captain James Scott of the ship Neptune, that delivered the Charter from England, to Prince Hall. Lemuel Haynes fought at Lexington and Bunker Hill, and was with General Benedict Arnold, before the General became a traitor, in the battle at Ticonderoga where the cannon were seized and brought back and placed on Dorchester Heights. That operation caused the British to evacuate Boston without a single shot being fired. Pompey Edes originally fought in the French and Indian Wars and then at Bunker Hill. Both later became members of The African Lodge with Pompey Edes as it’s Tyler.

When George Washington came to Cambridge to take command of the Continental Army, on our Cambridge Common, black men were standing there in the ranks ready to receive him. They had already proved their desire and right to be involved and to be free. Let me read this little passage from one of the books, mentioned before, used in preparing my speech and which I recommend to you. It’s called “The Black Presence in the Era of the American Revolution.1770- 1800)”By Sidney Kaplan. “When Patriots in arms gathered at Lexington and Concord on the nineteenth of April 1775 to confront the redcoats from Boston, Black Minutemen with flintlocks were among them. Early on the ground was the Lexington slave “Prince Esterbrooks, A Negro man”, as he is described in the list of the wounded, who had enlisted in Captain John Parker’s company, the first to get into the fight. He would serve in almost every major campaign of the war. From Framingham, the town that Crispus Attucks had fled-came another slave, Peter Salem, private in Captain Simon Edgel’s company; from Braintree, Pompy, private in Captain Seth Turner’s company; from Brookline, Prince, slave of Joshua Boylston, in Captain Thomas White’s company; and from parts unknown, one Pomp Blackman, later in the Continental Line. Cato Stedman and Cato Boardman had joined Captain Samuel Thatcher’s company in Cambridge. Young Cuff Whitmore and Cato Wood, both in Captain Benjamin Locke’s company from Arlington, had signed on as soldiers in the Massachusetts Service for the Preservation of the liberties of America”; etc. Some of these names are found on the membership rolls of the African Lodge shown in the book, Prince Hall Life and Legacy, by Charles H. Wesley, which I also recommend you, read. Black Volunteers and contingents from towns and villages all over Massachusetts go on and on. Some Black units were created by Legislative acts, such as The New Jersey Militia act of May 1777, and the New Hampshire act, 1777. Then there was the all black 2nd Company 4th Connecticut Regiment, and The 1st Rhode Island Regiment, and of course the Massachusetts Bucks of America. There were run-a-ways and those serving in place of their Masters, all wanting to be free. The more than 5,000 Black Patriots, who fought in the war, and the many other black Patriots, compel us to include them in the memorial to Prince Hall. They are forever linked together in the Founding of our Nation. A note! The announcement of this event said six black men named Prince Hall fought in the American Revolution. Six. I can’t get over that. I was never taught that any black men fought. Six. All named Prince Hall?

I would be remiss if I did not take this moment to mention the sacrifices and contributions of Women, Black and White. Wives and other women often followed the troops, cooking, washing clothes and other menial jobs. I remember hearing about Molly Pitcher who carried water for her husband and other men, and helped load cannon at the battle of Monmouth. Wars are not just fought by those who shoulder rifles. Others, men and women, dug trenches, hauled supplies, built fortifications and were not allowed to have weapons. They too contributed greatly in determining what our nation would be, or become, during its “Founding Period”,

The First Great Emancipation or The Vision of Prince Hall to Free His People

The History of Prince Hall and early American Freemasons, is not about Prince Hall the Mason, or about the Fraternity of Freemasons. But each of us, and this nation as a whole, are beneficiaries of Prince Hall’s Vision of Freedom and the efforts of his followers to achieve it. They have given us a legacy, a legacy that began from the time of Prince Hall’s manumission in 1770, till his death in 1807. This period encompasses the Founding period of our nation and what I wish to call the period of The first Great Emancipation when Black people freed themselves.

The British had long thought that if the Colonist rebelled, they might offer freedom to the slaves, as additional manpower. When hostilities began, the British offer came. Thousands of blacks in the south defected to them. That was their only choice. They wanted to be free. George Washington had no intention of using any Black men until he faced great difficulty in raising and maintaining an army. Only then did Washington recant and accept black men, in numbers, into his ranks.

In the North, especially in Massachusetts, the story of Taxation without representation was well known. Abolitionists pleaded their case to free the slaves. The Suffolk Resolves, written by Joseph Warren, that sounded like the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence combined; was distributed all over Massachusetts. And the speeches of Tom Paine and statements by Ben Franklin were well known by Blacks and repeated by them. So with their leader Prince Hall, there was a choice to make, the promise of freedom from a tyrant, or the Vision of Freedom in a new Nation. Prince Hall unswervingly followed his vision.

The Revolutionary war ended in 1783. By then, in 1780, Massachusetts had adopted a freedom clause to its constitution effectually ending Slavery in Massachusetts. In 1784, Connecticut and Rhode Island passed gradual emancipation laws. These actions were greatly influenced by Prince Hall and his followers. An example, as Kaplan writes, “Two years later, on January 13, 1777, eight blacks of Boston and nearby signed a petition to the general court “humbly” demanding the abolition of slavery. The first four signers, heading the list -Lancaster Hill, Peter Bess, Brister Slenser, and Prince Hall-were Masons”. It said, “Abolish slavery and restore “the Natural Right of all men”. A Prince Hall Quote. “Sure this was not our conduct in the late war, for then they marched shoulder to shoulder, brother soldier and brother soldier, to the field of battle”.

Many slaves in the South, who sought freedom by fighting for the British, met tragic ends. Though some were taken to England and some shipped to Nova Scotia, the majority was returned to Slavery. For many years the Black community was reluctant to discuss the fact that Blacks fought on both sides. We now know that blacks also fought in the South for the Colonies. When States like Virginia could not fill their quotas, slave-owners found a way to send slaves in their stead, but were reluctant to arm them. It might be explained this way. So George Washington gives Billy Lee, his constant body servant, one of his pistols and says, “Billy, take this pistol and watch my back. Just remember it has only one shot. So in case you get any big ideas, you better make it good”. Yet the vision for freedom resides in every breast and men are ready to pay any price to obtain it.

My friend Red Mitchell says, “The Revolutionary war could not have been won without the Black Patriots”. My other friend Ray Coleman says, “It was the French Navy and General Lafayette that made the difference”. They both agree that Lafayette had James Armistead, who served as a spy in the British headquarters, in his shadow, and a contingent of black men from Haiti called Chasseurs.

Some may still question why the City of Cambridge proclaimed Prince Hall a Founding Father of our Nation.

We know the story of the North’s reason for going to war, Taxation without Representation. We never hear much about the South’s reason. The South had no interest in fighting until in 1772, a court case called the Mansfield case, outlawed slavery in England. The Southern Colonist realizing they were British subjects felt threatened by the prospect they too were vulnerable to loosing their grip on owning slaves. Now there was reason to join with the North. How anxious was the average man to break ties with England, the Mother Country? We wonder. How much tax is there on a cup of tea? Now a shipload, that’s something else. If the number of slaves you own determines your wealth, to outlaw slavery would certainly send the market crashing. I see the political signs now. Taxes No/Slavery Yes.

The decision of Prince Hall to side with the Colonists was not easy. You know of the rejection he received from the American Masons. The South joining with the North with George Washington as the Commander in Chief and a major slave owner practically assured if the Americans won the war, slavery would continue. Great Briton had outlawed slavery and the British army was the greatest military power in the world. There were many Tories or British loyalist opposed to the war. Ben Franklin’s son, William Franklin, was the Governor of New Jersey and a Tory. He spent two years of the Revolution in jail. But the Vision of Prince Hall for a new Nation, where all men would be equal, was more real than a dream. For he was sure that the principles of Freemasonry, grounded in religion and the great philosophies, would some day be a reality, where the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man would prevail.

When we look at the lists of traditional Founding Fathers, we see their names on the Declaration of Independence, but we don’t see them on the army muster rolls. Now the name Prince Hall, Listed six times. All of them black men? We also don’t see General Joseph Warren listed as a Founding Father. He was killed at Bunker Hill. I didn’t see Paul Revere’s name either, except when I was told to look at a web page of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. He (is) listed there as Founding Father, but no place else.

When we looked for someone to represent the contributions African Americans made to our City and to our Nation, the name Prince Hall immediately surfaced, except no one, except Masons and older Black Americans, knew anything about him. The name Prince Hall when I was a child was better known. My Grandfather and other men of my family were Prince Hall Masons. When I went to England some years ago and brought back some information about Prince Hall I had gotten from the Grand Lodge of England, I contacted an old, ole; friend of mine who I knew was a Mason. We had spoken about Prince Hall before. He was shocked when I showed him what I had. How did I, a woman, get this stuff from the Grand Lodge of England? My reply was, ”I didn’t know any better”. I just knew that members of my family were Masons and my interest in History told me to just go in and ask for it. There was also a Prince Hall lodge in Cambridge, Mt Moriah Lodge. Many prominent citizens of Cambridge were members of the Prince Hall Fraternity of Freemasons. Some were Grand Masters of Masons, like William E. Reed, 1900-1902, Benjamin Hazel, 1911-1913, and our well-known Andrew I, Spears, 1980.

We began our own research program. A National Parks Executive and friend, Bernadette Williams, aided us. She knew a Historian and fellow Cantabridgeon, Dr. Marty Blatt, that had been on a team of researchers funded by the Massachusetts Historical Society. They studied why men who were Prince Hall Masons were the principal leaders in the civil rights movement from the beginning of our recorded history to the present day. It was discovered that no one group was more influential in effecting social change than men who were known as Prince Hall Masons. When they looked at the Founding Period of our nation, the number one “Organizer” and the most influential Black man of that time, especially in Massachusetts and New England, was Prince Hall. When we began to compare what the Vision of America was destined to be, and those who best exemplified those virtues, Prince Hall stood out like a beacon. We realized that we did not just have a Black representative to symbolize the Black experience, but a true Patriot and every thing you wished in a Founding Father.

Prince Hall Quote, (Menotomy) Cambridge, June 24, 1797, “Give the right hand of affection and fellowship to whom it justly belongs; let their color and complexion be what it will, let their nation be what it may, for they are your brethren, and it is your indispensable duty so to do”. Did Prince Hall envision a colorblind nation?

The Memorial

The unveiling of the Memorial to Prince Hall on the Cambridge Common is scheduled Saturday, September 12, 2009 It is designed so you may walk into his presence and see a reflection of yourselves. There will be quotes from him and responses by those that have been influenced and inspired by him. Black Patriots of the Revolutionary period, men and women, will be duly recognized and honored. A re-enactment is planned of George Washington taking command of the Continental Army. Only this time, he is accepting all comers. The highpoint of the ceremony is delegations from far and near proclaiming Prince Hall a Founding Father, the reading of the Cambridge Proclamation with the present day Prince Hall, the Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, giving a response.

More Masonic History.


Kaplan, Sidney, The Black Presence in the Era of the American Revolution 1770-1800, Published by the New York Graphic Society LTD in association with the Smithsonian Press

Wesley, Charles H., Prince Hall Life and Legacy S,econd Edition 1983 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 76-53127

Piersen, William D., Black Yankees The Development of an Afro-American Subculture in Eighteenth-Century New England, The University of Massachusetts Press 1988

Sesay, Jr Chernoh M., “We have no City, No Country” Black Cosmopolitanism and the Birth of Black Freemasonry, 1770-1800 Northwestern University

Coleman, Raymond T., Massachusetts Prince Hall Information Guide Books I and II, Published by Prince Hall Press 81 M Mill Park Springfield, MA

Nash, Gary B.,  The Forgotten Fifth, Harvard University Press Cambridge Massachusetts and London England 2006

Selig Robert A., The Revolution’s Black Soldiers,  American

Coil, Henry Wilson, Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia, Revised Edition 1985 Sections on Massachusetts and Black Freemasonry.

Florida Masonic Scandal

The Other Half Of The Florida Masonic Scandal Tells All

The Beehive presents an interview with Duke Bass Fortesque. This is being presented as opinions of Fortesque and The Beehive, not as fact. Names of the Lodge and any other Florida Masons have been deliberately omitted. Freemason Information welcomes a rebuttal from either the Master of the Lodge or the Grand Master or both and will publish them if submitted.


Florida Masonic ScandalThose who have been following the Florida Masonic story have read the problem through the eyes of Corey Bryson. But Bryson was only coming to the aid of his friend going through the degrees with him, Duke Bass Fortesque. Bryson kept a low profile and nobody really knew what his faith was until he spoke up in Lodge to correct misinformation in an interrogation of Fortesque. It was then that Bryson revealed that he was a Pagan/Deist and therefore could speak with authority on the subject that he got into trouble.

Fortesque, meanwhile was in trouble already. Fortesque had already come out as an Odinist and he had gone through lengthy questioning of his religious beliefs by the Investigating Committee and others in the Lodge.

The whole religious turmoil was set off by Fortesque’s first degree instructor. He had a problem with Fortesque because he had a personal problem with Pagan religions. “The instructor screamed at me,” said Fortesque. “He disparaged my religion and my wife and her religion (Wiccan).”

“It’s people like you that are responsible for the breakup of my marriage,” yelled the instructor pointing his finger in Fortesque’s face. “Good luck becoming a Master Mason.”

“He was like a Rottweiler who broke his chain,” noted Fortesque.

Fortesque reported the incident up the chain of command leading to a number of phone conversations with the Master of the Lodge, some of them lasting from midnight to 3:00 AM. Fortesque kept asking for a solution to the outburst, while the Master kept grilling him on his beliefs.

“I just asked for an apology,” he said. That’s all he wanted, nothing more, nothing less. To think this whole mess could have been solved by a timely, simple apology from the instructor.

Meanwhile the instructor did call Fortesque and apologize personally but not publicly.

Finally in one of the last marathon phone calls with the Master, the Master offered to bring Fortesque into open Lodge to explain that the whole situation had been resolved, that he was mistaken and it never really happened.

“You want me to diminish my reputation to save this instructor,” asked Fortesque?

“Yes,” replied the Master

That was not unheard of in the Masonic world. When an old timer steps out of line with a brand new Mason, the Lodge will often support the seasoned Masonic veteran. Not that it is right, but it’s done. But Fortesque was not going to knuckle under.

A friend connected him to the Grand Master via the Grand Secretary.

Fortesque explained to the Grand Master the situation that had occurred. The Grand Master, acting as if he already knew the whole story, told Fortesque – OK complaint lodged. But then he said something very bizarre.

“You have a comic book religion,” the Grand Master told Fortesque. “You don’t have to get there (Master Mason).  Masonry is a Slurpee, you can get it at 7-11, “ continued the Grand Master.

The Grand Master then proceeded to interrogate Fortesque. He asked him where his soul goes. Then he told him, “You don’t have a Holy Book. The Great Light is the Holy Bible, that’s why we are Christian only.”We just try, he said, “to be tolerant of other faiths.”

Fortesque retorted, “Why do you have to ask me about my religion. I have survived the petition process, multiple interviews, five background checks, home studies and a ton of questions. I’m not here to change anybody. I’m here to be one of you.”

The Grand Master flatly said “We don’t allow comic book religions. Technically you qualify for Masonry but you should consider resigning and finding another place to get your fraternal kicks, somewhere else better suiting your kind of people.”

Now here is demonstrated for all to see the little mind of the Christian Fundamentalist Freemason. The Brother has a COMIC BOOK RELIGION says the little mind. GET YOUR FRATERNAL KICKS SOMEWHERE ELSE BETTER SUITING YOUR KIND OF PEOPLE.  Now isn’t that the embodiment of Masonic tolerance? Doesn’t that just demonstrate how universal Freemasonry is?

MASONRY IS A SLURPEE says the little mind again. Now how’s that for the essence of Masonic knowledge and esoteric thought?

But that’s not all folks! Here comes the kicker.

That religious edict released by the Grand Master of Florida was not the only edict to come from him. Some months back he issued an edict that stated that if you associated with Prince Hall Masons, if you had a picnic or BBQ with them or attended any function outside the Lodge with them, if you even talked to them, then you would be automatically expelled. This goes way beyond Masonic Communication and Masonic Discourse which is already prohibited. Already on the books in Florida, says Fortesque, is the ruling that if you attend a Lodge out of state where they recognize Prince Hall and if there is a Prince Hall Mason in attendance you must get up and leave immediately or be expelled. And if there is a Prince Hall Mason there and you don’t know it you also will be expelled.

This comes on the heels of information from Georgia where four Mainstream Masons were secretly expelled for talking to Prince Hall Masons – talking like, “How’s the weather?” See the source here.

Fortesque was going to go ahead and remain anyway but somewhere between “technically you qualify” and a couple of days afterwards the Grand Master decided to rule  that all Pagan religions were banned.

The Junior Warden, a lawyer, drew up an official letter of resignation where it was stated that he did not meet one of the perquisites to be a Freemason. Yet the Lodge refused to give Fortesque his money back.

Fortesque was only 5 days away from a Master Mason. He pleaded with the Lodge to let him be raised as a Master Mason and that if he did he would resign right afterward. But the answer was no, resign now or be expelled automatically.

Fortesque had a dream, a dream where he was going through the steps of his Grandfather’s rise to 32nd degree Freemason and that along each step of the way he connected to his beloved Grandfather. If he could be raised to the degree of Master Mason and be allowed to resign perhaps he could apply to another state for acceptance and thus continue his dream.

“The Grand Master prejudicated my expulsion, “says Fortesque. “He wanted to be sure I could not petition elsewhere in Freemasonry.”

And here we have the essence of the little minded Fundamentalist Freemason. For you see its one thing to prohibit a certain belief system in your Grand Lodge but it’s another to stick it to the one you do not want to make sure he cannot apply anywhere else. It’s one thing not to recognize another Grand Lodge and prohibit your members to sit in a tyled Communication with them. It’s another to expel them for saying hello in the grocery store.

This vindictiveness, this thought that I have to bury you, shun you, spit on you, curse you and hurt you because you do not agree with me is something that is tearing this country apart. And it is something that not only doesn’t belong in Freemasonry, it is something that Freemasonry is supposed to be above, to have solved, to have created a society where men of different religions, politics, creeds, cultures and economic status can coexist peacefully in a Lodge under the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.

Fortesque, an admitted Odinist & Tribalist, is now getting linked to White Supremacy. That’s a way for his detractors to spread hurtful rumors about him.  “I am about family and community,” answers Fortesque as he rejects any connection with any kind of discrimination, especially White Supremacy.  Anybody that knows him realizes that this is just a cheap shot.

VENGENCE IS MINE says the Grand Master. And vengeance he got for Corey Bryson and Duke Fortesque resigned from Freemasonry together.

After resigning they held court on the front steps of their Lodge for 3 ½ hours. “No one could refute what we had to say,” reports Fortesque. “We made our case every time.”

But none would stand up for them, either. “I have to believe what I am told,” said many a Brother of the Lodge. “I have to follow my Grand Master.”

Fortesques says of that, “They are all in self preservation.” And he doesn’t feel any anger towards the Brothers who are staying and knuckling under. He just wishes another jurisdiction would offer to take him in. He just longs to continue his dream.

There remains but a couple of observations to be made about this whole nasty business.

First, those who filled the comments section on the previous articles with tsk, tsk corrections that the Grand Master of Florida had nothing racial to say so how dare I attribute such characteristics to him, I don’t want to hear it. As I have reported previously in Confederate Masonry anti Black and Christian only go hand in hand. The Grand Master of Florida demonstrates this quite readily. But he is not the only one. Talk to the Mainstream Grand Masters of Georgia, West Virginia and Arkansas among others and you will get the same spiel. Yet doesn’t it seem very incongruous that the Black Christian God and the White Christian God aren’t the same in the eyes of these Grand Masters?

Too many Brothers have been armchair quarterbacks, interpreting each individual incident rather than connecting the dots of all the developments. As The Beehive has said before, we need to learn the lessons of Mike McCabe, Gate City Lodge No 2, Frank Haas and Derek Gordon. We need to see the big picture and stop running around with blinders on.

Secondly we need to reiterate once more that Grand Lodges are out of control and that Masons caught in the throes of rogue regimes are powerless to halt the tyrannical use of Grand Lodge power. Grand Lodges today are no longer even bothering to obey their Constitutions and By-Laws.

American Mainstream Masonry must find a way to discipline itself or wither and die on the vine because today’s younger generation and today’s seekers looking for peace and harmony in a righteous setting, a purpose for living and a way to look at life that is uplifting and meaningful, will not join an organization with racial and religious discrimination. It’s as simple as that. Think about it.

Eighty Two

The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas held its Mid Winter Grand Session Friday night 11/9/12 and all day Saturday 11/10/12. Friday night’s tradition is a mass raising of Fellow Crafts from around the state. This is not a one day class. The candidates have received their first and second degrees in their home Lodges. And the raising is done pretty much the same as a raising in the local Lodge. The main difference would be that candidates go through the gates about eight at a time.

This year we had 82 Fellow Crafts to be raised. Total time from beginning to end was about 3 ½ hours. It is quite a sight to see 82 Brothers circumambulating around the Lodge. It requires about a dozen “mangers” to make it work.

I do the “On Yonder Book” charge after the degree which I have adapted for audience participation at the end.

This year I wrote a prelude to the charge, a new way to introduce it and foretell what was to come. Here is what I told the newly raised Master Masons:

Congratulations on being raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason. It now becomes my duty to remind you of the promises you have made. Do you know what I am talking about?

Here’s what I want you to do. When you get back home I want you to attend the next meeting of your Lodge and participate in or observe an opening.

There you will find that after the Master tyles the Lodge and receives the password form the Brethren he starts the opening ceremony by asking the Senior Warden, “Are You a Master Mason?”

The Senior Warden replies, “I am.”

Then The Master asks the Senior Warden, “What induced you to become a Master Mason?”

The Senior Warden answers.

The Master then asks, “What makes you a Master Mason?”

Everybody in the room, What makes you a Master Mason?

That’s what we are talking about.

These promises were not made to your Lodge, your Worshipful Master or even to the Grand Master. These promises were made to God and they are with you for the rest of your life.

You must realize what all the other Master Masons in this room know and respect and live up to – that everything you say, do and represent from this moment forward is a direct reflection on this group, your Brothers, and the thousands of members who have come before you. Everything you put out to the world is a direct reflection on this fraternity. Every decision, every achievement, every mistake you make happens to all of us from this point forward (thanks to RW Bro. Hugh Goldie).

As a Master Mason it is incumbent on you, then, not to dishonor Freemasonry, nor embarrass your Lodge or Grand Lodge nor bring shame on yourselves.

I will not let you out of this building tonight without first impressing on your minds in the strongest manner how solemn and how important those Obligations that you have taken are.

So let us now begin.

And that’s what it was for these 82 new Master Masons, a new beginning.

GM Joseph Warren Offered A Masonic Warrant To Prince Hall

The Plumbline

The Plumbline

A recent story in the Scottish Rite Research bulletin newsletter, “The Plumbline,” titled “A Scottish Lodge in the Grand Jurisdiction of Massachusetts” intrigued me.  Written by old friend Michael Kaulback and Richard Van Doren it chronicles the early growth of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts with a heavy concentration on Saint Andrews Lodge. Saint Andrews Lodge became the first Lodge of the “antients” working in the colonies, as the authors tell us, chartered by the Grand Lodge of Scotland. There already was a Provincial Grand Lodge of “moderns,” most often referred to as St. John’s Grand Lodge, operating in Massachusetts Bay Colony since 1733. Soon after Saint Andrews partnered with three military antient Lodges attached to the British Army, No 58 English stationed with the 14th regiment, No 106 Scottish stationed with the 64th regiment and No 322 Irish stationed with the 29th regiment, to form a Grand Lodge.

In 1768 Saint Andrews petitioned the Grand Lodge of Scotland to have Joseph Warren as their Grand Master. He was so appointed and served until he was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1775. The battle between the antients and the moderns was more than just about ritual and the regularity of practice. It was just as much about the makeup of the two Grand Lodges. St. Johns Grand Lodge was made up largely of wealthy merchants, traders and landed gentry. Saint Andrews Grand Lodge was made up of what we would today call “blue collar” working men, men who worked with their hands. Kaulback and Van Doren give us an example of some of the Saint Andrews members.

  • George Bray – Baker
  • William Burbeck – Carver
  • James Graham – Chair maker
  • Samuel Peck – Glazier
  • Thomas Milliken – Bricklayer
  • John Jenkins – Baker
  • Moses Deshon – Auctioneer
  • Joseph Webb, Jr. – Ship Chandler
  • Samuel Barrett – Sail maker
  • Paul Revere – Silversmith
  • Joseph Warren – Doctor

Two very interesting stories come from this article. The first is that on August 28, 1769 William Davis was made the first Knight Templar in the United States at Saint Andrews Lodge. Paul Revere followed on December 11, 1769 and Joseph Warren on May 14, 1770. Davis and Warren distinguished themselves at the Battle of Bunker Hill, Warren not surviving the ordeal. This means that before the United States became an independent nation we had Knights Templar on our soil. That is an important development in the history of Freemasonry because at that time the degrees were so new. But the conferring of the degrees  Excellent, Super Excellent, Royal Arch and Knight Templar laid the foundation for what would become the “American Rite.”

Joseph Warren

Joseph Warren

Paul Revere became the second Grand Master of the union of antients and moderns into the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts that occurred in 1792. Saint Andrews Lodge held out until 1807 when they reached a final agreement with the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. Kaulback told me personally when I spoke to him by phone that the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts is much more reflective of the antients because the antients won. The union with the moderns was on their terms and the practice of Freemasonry in Massachusetts henceforth was really a practice of antient Freemasonry.

The other interesting story to come from this article is that Grand Master Joseph Warren met with Prince Hall who wanted to form a Masonic Lodge and he agreed to give Hall a warrant to open his Lodge. Before he could execute that decision Warren was killed in the Battle of Bunker Hill. This decision is recorded in the minutes of Saint Andrew’s Grand Lodge minutes. MONUMENTAL! What a game changer that would have been. Of course Prince Hall found another avenue to obtain his warrant.

Perhaps Hall went quickly to another source because Warren told him that while he wanted to give him a warrant the majority of his members would never approve it. Perhaps Hall chose a British antient military Lodge because Saint Andrews had formed itself into a Grand Lodge by association with the same and he was told that. THAT’S ALL SPECULATION. But one has to wonder if Prince Hall had waited and bided his time to approach Warren’s successor, what American Freemasonry would have looked like over the next 200 years.

Prince Hall

Prince Hall

What we can say is fact that is that Massachusetts was the leader of the nation in the abolitionist movement, that in the 1750s and 1760s Massachusetts had a number of freed Blacks, more than any other state, and that according to the minutes of Saint Andrews Lodge it had 7 Black members in the 1780s and 1790s.

People change and times change and an opportunity lost is sometimes lost forever and sometimes lost for just a long, long time. Sometimes the opportunity lost changes the course of history. GM Joseph Warren was killed in battle so he did not get to give Prince Hall his warrant. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and a bitter and acrimonious post Civil War Reconstruction followed that never would have happened under him. JFK was also gunned down and Lyndon Johnson hurtled us headlong into the Vietnam War, a move JFK would never have made. Men who rise to the occasion sometimes get shot down and we are all the poorer for it.

But dream with me a minute. Let’s change the clock of history and go back, back, back to 1775. GM Warren doesn’t die in the Battle of Bunker Hill and he does right away grant Prince Hall his warrant to form a Masonic Lodge. That would have set a precedent for every other Grand Lodge in the United States. You have got to think that New York and Pennsylvania and other northern states would have followed suit. Oh, maybe the South wouldn’t have gone along. But then again post Civil War they too might have admitted Black men into their Lodges. Freemasonry could have changed the whole history of this nation and maybe, just maybe the 60s wouldn’t have been the bloody 60s of Civil Rights battles. And maybe Martin Luther King, another assassination that changed history, would still be with us.

Dreaming is fun but it’s not reality. Yet I have to believe that Freemasonry still has a major role to play in the world because it changes the hearts of men. The current world conflict between Muslims, Jews and Christians could be ameliorated by Freemasonry and peace could be made by a Freemason who rose to the occasion. If one does let’s take protective measures to assure that he does not die before his mission has been completed.

Across the Atlantic Masonic History In The Making

Opening the PHA Grand Session

Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas

Something that doesn’t happen every day of the week, no something that doesn’t happen every year, no something that doesn’t happen every decade…let’s put it this way. When was the last time you heard of a Grand Master traveling thousands of miles to another Continent to establish a Lodge under its jurisdiction (excluding military Lodges)? Well that is exactly what the Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas, the Honorable Wilbert M. Curtis has done.

An invitation was extended to Grand Master Curtis from a group of Masons, lead by Brother Louis Metan, from Cote d’Ivoire, Africa to organize and consecrate a Lodge there in the Prince Hall family under the jurisdiction of The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas.

On February, 7, 2012 Grand Master Curtis with a delegation of Prince Hall Texas Grand Officers arrived in Cote d’Ivoire to perform this mission.

The Texas Prince Hall Junior Grand Warden and Grand Historian, Frank Jackson, who was among the Brothers that made this historic trip tells us:

“Cote d‘Ivoire is a West African country with a surface area of 322,462 km, bordered on the northern part by Mali and Burkina, on the west by

gift, tablecloth, presentation

The Gift of Table Cloth

Liberia and Guinea, neighbored to the east by Ghana and on the south by the Atlantic Ocean. The population of Cote d‘Ivoire is estimated at 21,058,798 inhabitants in 2011. The political and administrative capital of Cote d‘Ivoire is Yamoussoukro (the economic capital is Abidjan), the official language is French and the currency is the franc CFA. The country is also a member of the Economic Community of West African States (E.C.O.W.A.S.).”

Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas Grand Session 2012

The Brothers of Cote d’Ivoire selected as the name of their Lodge Roots Lodge UD.

Again Jackson informs us:

The Brothers of Cote d‘Ivoire chose the name Roots Lodge to symbolize the indomitable connectivity between Africans on the continent and Africans in the Diaspora.

Bro. Metan said, “The name Roots, is taken from Alex Haley‘s famous book, and is representative of men of African descent all over the world. Roots is a rallying name in which they all recognize themselves. Its powerful symbolism is sacred and spans time and space in answer to the distant call from our forefathers, who used similar symbolism with the adoption of the name African Lodge. The adoption of the name, African Lodge, in that time, was a call to Mother Africa from where they expected blessings to flow for the success of their ambitions. Likewise, the Brothers of Roots Lodge U.D. believe that the bond of union is established from now on between Africans worldwide and across centuries, provided that they use the Square and the Compass and are righteous.”

“This name also reflects the beginning of our Work, its roots. We pray that the originators and those that follow increase in the wisdom of the Sacred Law. The roots are also symbolic of a very strong African tree, the Iroko, under which we, like our ancestors pray for so many spiritual intercessions. On the banner the Iroko is white, to express the ingenuousness of our ambition and its capacity to progress forward in a perpetual cycle of accomplishment that never stops. The Master Mason‘s work never stops. The Iroko tree, super-imposed against the sun represents the dawn of a new day and more light. So this is how one must read our banner: the wisdom resides at our work, supported by Strength and adorned in Beauty. May we always express the fact of this boundless dream,” said Bro. Metan.

Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge Texas line, 2012, Roots Lodge

Grand Master Curtis with the Roots Lodge Brothers

Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas Opening

Roots Brothers at the Installation

Before leaving, Grand Master Curtis extended an invitation to Worshipful Master Metan and the Brothers of Roots Lodge to attend the summer Grand Session of The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas, June 21-24, 2012 and to perform the opening ritual for the Grand Session which they accepted.

On Friday June 22, 2012,  Roots W.M. Louis Metan and his officers opened the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas’ 137th Grand Communication performing the ritual in the French language. As Arkansas Prince Hall Grand Master Cleveland Wilson was later to say, “I didn’t understand a word they said but I could follow exactly what they were doing.” The largest attendance of a Texas Prince Hall Grand Session in many a year gave the Roots Brothers a standing ovation that seemed as if it would never end.

Throughout the four day Grand Session the Brothers from Roots attended all the functions of the Grand Lodge, its business, elections and all the social functions, the festivals and banquets.  Whether at breakfast at the host hotel or during a break at Grand Session one by one Texas Brothers would engage them in conversation and exchange a token of brotherly love and affection. The language barrier didn’t exist for we all spoke the Masonic language, that understanding that only Brothers of the Craft can share.

Gift of Dacshiki

Grand Master Curtis in his Allocution announced that Roots lodge UD was no more. Grand Lodge had voted to charter the Lodge as a full working Lodge. Now it was Roots Lodge #656 of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas. And he announced that Roots Lodge would be taking back with them a dispensation to open a second Lodge in Cote d’Ivoire. Soon he said there would be a third Lodge consecrated. This all follows a master plan. Three Lodges can come together to form a Grand Lodge. Someday in the near future there will be a Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Cote d’Ivoire.

candle presentation

Presenting a special candle at the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas Opening 2012

The last day of the four day Grand Session was the Tri Installation of officers of The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas, The Heroines of Jericho and Eastern Star. At the very end W.M. Louis Metan made a special presentation to Grand Master Curtis. First of all he thanked all the Brethren for the great hospitality of the Grand Lodge. Having immersed themselves in the brotherly love and affection of all the Texas Brethren he said that he and his delegation were leaving with much joy and inspiration. He said that they all had listened, watched and learned from this experience and that they had received helpful information that they would take back to Cote d’Ivoire to use in Roots Lodge.  Lastly he presented Grand Master Curtis with gifts of the flag of Cote d’Ivoire, a special candle, a Dashiki and a tablecloth for Mrs. Curtis.

There remained nothing left to say but “au revoir mon frère.”

En français:

Continent au continent Histoire maçonnique dans la fabrication

Quelque chose qui ne se produit pas chaque jour de la semaine, aucune quelque chose qui ne se produit pas chaque année, aucune quelque chose qui ne se produit pas chaque décennie… nous a laissés la mettre de cette façon. Quand la dernière heure vous avait-elle lieu des milliers de déplacement entendus parler d’un maître grand de milles à un autre continent d’établir une loge sous sa juridiction (à l’exclusion des loges militaires) ? Jaillissez est exactement qui ce que le maître grand de Prince le plus adorable Hall Grand Lodge du Texas, Wilbert M. Curtis honorable a fait.
Une invitation a été prolongée au maître grand Curtis d’un groupe de maçons, avance par le frère Louis Metan, le d’Ivoire de Cote, d’Afrique pour organiser et consacrer une loge là dans la famille de prince Hall sous la juridiction de Prince le plus adorable Hall Grand Lodge du Texas.  En février, 7, 2012 le maître grand Curtis avec une délégation de prince Hall Texas Grand Officers sont arrivés dans le d’Ivoire de Cote pour exécuter cette mission.

Le gardien de Texas Prince Hall Junior Grand et l’historien grand, Frank Jackson, qui était parmi les frères qui ont fait ce voyage historique nous dit :

Le Ivoire de Cote d est un pays d’Afrique occidentale avec une superficie de 322.462 kilomètres, encadrée à la partie nord par le Mali et Burkina, à l’ouest par le Libéria et la Guinée, neighbored à l’est par le Ghana et aux sud par l’Océan Atlantique. La population du ` Ivoire de Cote d est estimée à 21.058.798 habitants en 2011. La capitale politique et administrative du ` Ivoire de Cote d est Yamoussoukro (le capital économique est Abidjan), la langue officielle est française et la devise est le franc CFA. Le pays est également un membre de la communauté économique des états d’Afrique occidentale (E.C.O.W.A.S.).

Les frères du d’Ivoire de Cote choisis comme nom de leurs racines de loge logent UD. Encore Jackson nous informe :

Les frères du ` Ivoire de Cote d ont choisi les racines de nom logent pour symboliser la connectivité invincible entre les Africains sur le continent et les Africains dans les Diaspora. Bro. Metan a dit, « les racines de nom, est pris du famousbook du ` s d’Alex Haley, et est représentant des hommes de l’origine africaine partout dans le monde. Les racines est un nom de rassemblement dans lequel elles toutes s’identifient. Son symbolisme puissant est sacré et enjambe le temps et espace en réponse à l’appel éloigné de nos ancêtres, le symbolisme semblable whoused avec l’adoption de l’adoption africaine du nom Lodge.The du nom, loge africaine, dans ce temps, était un appel pour enfanter l’Afrique d’où ils se sont attendus à ce que les bénédictions coulent pour le succès de leurs ambitions.

De même, la loge U.D. de racines de Brothersof croient que le lien de l’union est établi dorénavant entre les Africains dans le monde entier et à travers des siècles, à condition que elles utilisent la place et la boussole et soient justes. » « Ce nom reflète également le début de notre travail, ses racines. Nous prions que les créateurs et ceux qui suivent l’augmentation de la sagesse de la loi sacrée. Les racines sont également symboliques d’un arbre africain très fort, l’Iroko, sous lequel nous, comme nos ancêtres prions pour tant d’interventions spirituelles. Sur la bannière l’Iroko est blanc, pour exprimer l’ingénuité de notre ambition et de sa capacité de progresser en avant dans un cycle perpétuel de l’accomplissement qui ne s’arrête jamais. Le travail principal du ` s de maçon ne s’arrête jamais. L’arbre d’Iroko, superposé contre le soleil représente l’aube d’un nouveau jour et de plus de lumière. Ainsi c’est comment on doit lire notre bannière : la sagesse réside à notre travail, soutenu par force et orné dans la beauté. Pouvons nous exprimons toujours le fait de ce rêve illimité, » a dit Bro. Metan.

Avant de laisser le maître grand Curtis a prolongé une invitation à Master Metan adorable et les frères des racines logent pour assister à la session grande d’été de Prince le plus adorable Hall Grand Lodge du Texas, 21-24 juin 2012 et pour effectuer le rituel d’ouverture pour la session grande qu’ils ont acceptée.

Vendredi 22 juin. 2012 racines W.M. Louis Metan et ses dirigeants ont ouvert le prince Hall Grand Lodge de communication grande du Texas la 137th effectuant le rituel dans la langue française. Car prince Hall Grand Master Cleveland Wilson de l’Arkansas était plus tard pour dire, « je n’ai pas compris un mot qu’ils ont dit mais je pourrais suivre exactement ce qu’elles faisaient. » Le plus grand assistance de Texas Prince Hall Grand Session pendant de nombreux année a donné aux racines des frères une ovation debout qui a semblé comme si elle ne finirait jamais.

Dans toute la session grande de quatre jours les frères des racines ont assisté à toutes les fonctions de la loge grande, ses affaires, élections et toutes les fonctions de social, festivals et des banquets. Si au petit déjeuner à l’hôtel de centre serveur ou pendant une coupure à la session grande un Texas Brothers les engagerait dans la conversation et échangerait une marque de l’amour fraternel et de l’affection. La barrière linguistique n’a pas existé pour nous tout le rai la langue maçonnique, cette compréhension que seulement les frères du métier peuvent partager.

Le maître grand Curtis dans son allocution a annoncé que la loge UD de racines n’était pas plus. La loge grande avait voté pour affréter la loge comme pleine loge fonctionnante. Maintenant c’était la loge #656 de racines de Prince le plus adorable Hall Grand Lodge du Texas. Et il a annoncé que la loge de racines rapporterait avec elles une dispense pour ouvrir une deuxième loge dans le d’Ivoire de Cote. Bientôt il a dit qu’il y aurait une troisième loge consacrée. Ce tout suit un programme-cadre. Trois loges peuvent venir ensemble pour former une loge grande. Un jour dans un avenir proche il y aura Prince le plus adorable Hall Grand Lodge d’Ivoire de Cote.

Le dernier jour de la session grande de quatre jours était la tri installation des dirigeants de Prince le plus adorable Hall Grand Lodge du Texas, les héroïnes de Jéricho et étoile orientale. À la fin W.M. Louis Metan a fait une présentation spéciale au maître grand Curtis. D’abord de tous il a remercié tous les frères de la grande hospitalité de la loge grande. Après s’être immergé dans l’amour fraternel et l’affection de tout le Texas Brethren il a dit que lui et sa délégation partaient avec beaucoup de joie et d’inspiration. Il a dit qu’ils tout avaient écouté, observé et appris de cette expérience et qu’ils avaient reçu l’information utile qu’ils prendraient de nouveau à Cote le d’Ivoire pour employer dans la loge de racines. Pour finir il a présenté le maître grand Curtis avec le drapeau de Cote d ” Ivoire, des cadeaux d’une bougie spéciale, d’un Dashiki et d’une nappe pour Mme Curtis. Enfin, il a présenté le Grand Maître Curtis avec des cadeaux du drapeau de la Côte d’Ivoire, une bougie spéciale, un Dashiki et une nappe de Mme Curtis.

Là non resté rien laissé pour dire mais « frère de lundi de revoir d’Au.