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Masons give nod to black brethren.
Richard Stradling, Staff Writer
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Members of the state's predominantly white Masonic organization struck down a vestige of the segregation era Friday when they voted to recognize members of the black organization as brother Masons.
The vote -- at the annual convention of the Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina in Winston-Salem -- follows years of frustration among the group's leadership, which each year had introduced a resolution to recognize the black group.
"Old ways, old cultures and old traditions die hard," said the group's grand master, David Cash, a Methodist minister from Kannapolis. "And that's why this is so monumental."
The black organization, the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina, officially recognized its white counterpart in 2004. Prince Hall Grand Master Milton "Toby" Fitch Jr. said that Leonard Safrit Jr., a former grand master of the white group who has become a close friend, called him moments after Friday's vote, as he has each year since 2004.