GL's of NC sign a resolution recognizing each other as brother Masons.

Discussion in 'Prince Hall Freemasonry' started by Blake Bowden, Nov 24, 2009.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Richard Stradling, Staff Writer

    RALEIGH - Members of the state's two Masonic organizations -- one black, one white -- ended 138 years of mutual disregard Friday by signing a resolution recognizing each other as brother Masons.

    The resolution, signed near the end of a nearly two-hour ceremony full of formality and speeches, ended a vestige of the segregation era, during which the two groups -- one white, the other black -- spent decades following the ancient tenets and teachings of freemasonry while each pretended the other didn't exist.

    "Today's a historic day, because we're here to say we're brothers again," said David Cash, a Methodist minister from Kannapolis and grand master of the white group, the Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina.

    Cash and his counterpart, Milton "Toby" Fitch Jr. of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina and Its Jurisdictions, signed the document in the old House chambers of the State Capitol. They sat at a table where North Carolina's resolution to secede from the Union was signed 148 years ago.

    Both Prince Hall and AF&AM Masonic groups carry on the traditions of a fraternity founded by building craftsmen in medieval Europe. The state's AF&AM organization was founded in 1787, though some of the individual lodges date back earlier. The state's Prince Hall group was founded in 1870.

    Despite shared roots and goals, their members did not officially recognize each other as Masons until Friday.

    "We are of the same family," said Dan Blue Jr., a Prince Hall Mason and state legislator from Raleigh. "This is an opportunity to complete a circle."

    The ceremony, which had the feel of a peace treaty signing, was years in the making.

    Members of the Prince Hall Masons unanimously passed a resolution recognizing their white counterparts as true Masons at their annual meeting in 2004. But a similar resolution failed several years in a row at AF&AM meetings, despite impassioned pleas from the group's leaders.

    This year, in September, it passed 642-328, leading to Friday's gathering, which filled not only the old House chamber but also the old Senate, where the overflow watched on a big-screen TV.

    Membership in the larger, white lodge has fallen from 73,000 at its peak in 1981 to less than 50,000, even as the state's population has soared. But Friday's ceremony was a reminder of the devotion of many Masons to the organization and the influential people it attracts. U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge led the pledge of allegiance, and former state Supreme Court justices Henry Frye and James Exum Jr. also spoke.

    The resolution signed Friday does not merge the groups in any way, but it should lead to cooperation between them.

    Cash, the AF&AM grand master, said representatives of the two groups are meeting to work out visitation issues and protocol. For example, he noted, Prince Hall Masons have a dress code, while the AF&AM does not.

    "They are a little bit more formal," he said.

    That formality was on display Friday, as Prince Hall members in particular wore colorful aprons around their waists and medallions around their necks. A color guard of Prince Hall Masons with epaulets on their shoulders, two rows of buttons down their chests and hats covered with white feathers lined the aisle of the old House chamber with raised swords as officers from the two organizations filed in.

    Earlier this fall, Fitch and the Prince Hall Masons made Cash an honorary member. Friday, Cash returned the gesture, reading a framed resolution with a preacher's shout in his voice before the two men embraced before a shower of flashbulbs and a standing ovation.

    richard.stradling@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4739
     
  2. TCShelton

    TCShelton Founding Member Premium Member

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    Only a matter of time now.
     
  3. LRG

    LRG Premium Member

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    two big tumbs up for our brethren
     
  4. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    You got that right!
     
  5. RedTemplar

    RedTemplar Johnny Joe Combs Premium Member

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    It is coming to Kentucky as well.
     
  6. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    It is coming to Texas also! :11:
     
  7. Gerald.Harris

    Gerald.Harris Premium Member Premium Member

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    There is no doubt in my mind. It is in fact LONG overdue. I have waited for many years to see Brothers act like Brothers. I applaude those of you who continue to work towards this goal. In the meantime, I want to caution each of you to remember that we are not battling against bad men , we are battling against brothers with bad ideas, or brothers who have been taught to be the way that they are since thier youth. As many of you have stated, education is the way , we must remember that ignorance is the mother of prejudice.
     
  8. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    This was a hard lesson for me to learn, one I AlmosT thought was not worth learning. I think my boxing smiley gave the wrong impression.:001_unsure: When a few of us did give up "fighting" the "old guys" we realized we loved them more so than we ever thought poss. They have now been our biggest supporters, which they having a lot of pull in the Fraternity in our area has helped our lodge out tremendously and we could not thank them enough. We kinda felt stupid in the end for even butting heads with them in the first place. I mean we get enough bickering at home right! We have had to make a few adjustments and swallow our pride a few times which we found only served us and lodge better. That said I do feel that the resolution for full visitation will be a fun GL session. :biggrin:
     
  9. JEbeling

    JEbeling Guest

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    some days I am not sure we can discuss topic.. ?

    Like the political correctness that run amok in the army that overlook people who should not have been there... !

    not sure political correctness has not run amok in masonary.. ! so many brothern are running around with the big "R" stamp to put on somebody who doesn't agree with them...? makes for a close minded discussion..?

    just like the post about the "old guys" ... ! same discussion.. ! lets just put them in a box.. ! make it "Old Guys" who are not willing to change.. ! and not everyone happy.. !

    don't have a good answer.. ! not sure this is a pressing problem.. ? other among a few who want to be policital correct...?
     
  10. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    I would like an example of political correctness in Masonry much less running amok. Further more who do you know that has been labeled a racist or even had a finger pointed their way as maybe being racist? The reason the discussion seems closed minded is because there is no discussion going on. This is what we are trying to say, racism only plays a part of the problem but that same argument of they have theirs and we have ours is out dated and we want to discuss it further. If someone has a good reason why we should not fight racism and protect ourselves as a GL than I am all ears.
     
  11. JEbeling

    JEbeling Guest

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    I have no clue how to fight racism... ! anywhere.. !

    And I know that the Grand Master should not put up with anyone who displays un-masonic conduct.. ! of any kind.. !

    As I said before.. there are always some people who dislike others because of their religion, race or if they are Tea Sips.. ! but I have been in lodges with black members.. black Worshipful master.. was at a Scotish Rite banquet in Galveston last week-end.. ! and I have never seen anybody pay any attention if a brother was black.. !

    But the Prince Hall is a whole different discussion.. ! just don't have an clue how that discussion would go.. ! don't see any great problem with it.. but there are a LOT of other lodges out there made of diffent so-call masons.. ! in Mexico there are big Grand Lodges of every kind..? just don't have a good answer..?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 29, 2009
  12. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Is there ANY Brother who can provide a valid reason why we shouldn't meet upon the level with a Prince Hall Mason? Anyone? Please don't give the excuse "well they may not want to either".

    Here's what we need to do:

    First we need to pass (ENFORCEABLE) legislation that will penalize ANY so called "Mason" OR Lodge if they discriminate against a Brother because of his race or religion. We have to clean house BEFORE we talk about extending Prince Hall recognition. I want so called "Brothers" and racist Lodges to be held accountable. I've heard of Lodges refusing to accept a Brother simply because of his race. That is UNMASONIC! I don't mean to imply that "mainstream" lodges are racist, but we need effective tools to combat racism if it occurs.

    Personally, I would like to see FULL recognition and the ability to hold dual membership with our Prince Hall Brethren. HOW ON EARTH could this be a bad thing? I would LOVE to learn the PH work and/or support their causes and events. It's not about choosing sides, but gaining additional light that each of our Masonic bodies offer! Just imagine if you had Prince Hall Masons showing up to support your fundraisers or vice versa?

    Sorry Brothers, but this is a topic that I'm very passionate about and I will do everything in my power to see that full recognition will take place.
     
  13. Gerald.Harris

    Gerald.Harris Premium Member Premium Member

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    My Brother, Politics and or being politicaly correct do not come into my Masonry. I am one of the OLD GUYS and I assure you I have met many brothers down through the last several years who have openly made statements regarding their dislike of men with a different color of skin then their own. They have stated that they would never sit in a lodge with a black man. That is their choice and their right to do so, but eventually I see them sitting at home and not enjoying the fellowship of a Masonic Lodge.
     
  14. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    So Mote it be, Bro. Gerald.
     
  15. JEbeling

    JEbeling Guest

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    your right this issue is passionate to a lot of people.. ! all I can say is I have not seen the "Racism" in any lodge I have been in...? not sure if you have a specific time your talking about...? but I have not seen it in any of the Grand Lodge officers.. ! I am not sure we need any new law.. ! think it clear if you do un-masonic things in lodge you should be gone.. ! as far as brethren not sitting in lodge with someone else for what ever reason.. then just sit at home and send in his dues is fine with me.. !

    The PH Masonary is a different subject and should not be painted with one big brush of race.. ! this involved other lodges.. other grand lodges.. not sure this is the way to go.. ! think recolonization is fine.. ! but I think they should be treated like any other Elks Lodge.. etc.. ! just because they call them self masons and dress in the same aprons.. doesn't make them part of our Grand Lodge.. ! If brothers want to join both.. don't see a problem.. !
     
  16. TCShelton

    TCShelton Founding Member Premium Member

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    Wow, you sure are extremely lucky to be a member of a lodge that doesn't have race issues. Too bad the rest of us can't say the same thing. So, please don't interfere with "the rest of us" when we try to get something done to fix our problems, that you have apparently never seen.
     
  17. ChrisJones

    ChrisJones Registered User

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    It seems to me that we are moving that direction, I understand that in Texas we have signed a Compact. I would be interested in knowing if they had a compact in place before the resolution.

    CJ
     
  18. Bro_Vick

    Bro_Vick Moderator Premium Member

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    The reason that you will get (vaild or not) is a fear of either organization attempting to "steal" members from the other, that is what I am being told all the time when I bring it up. Also, there are a lot of brothers that don't see PHA as a legitimate Masonic organization.

    I think that the current recognition we have with them is almost worse than no recognition. Yes we recognize your right to exist, but not for you to sit in lodge with us, or have anything to do with us period.

    -Bro Vick
     

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