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Racism in American Masonry

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posted on Apr, 27 2004 @ 03:40 AM
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Hi,

My ex-father-in-law was a Mason in the Greater Philadelphia area. He once told me that, while he would be welcome at a mixed lodge in the Bahamas, a person of color would not be welcome at his lodge and would be directed to a lodge of the appropriate race.

He was an officer of his lodge, but not the Master. I believe he was telling me the truth.

Is this common in American Masonry? I think his lodge was related to the Scottish branch of Masonry; does that have anything to do with it?

Could a Freemason enlighten me on this?

thanks!

[Edited on 27-4-2004 by glee]




posted on Apr, 27 2004 @ 03:52 AM
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Interesting thread. I want to hear more about this one..



posted on Apr, 27 2004 @ 06:00 AM
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i suppose this would be common in america before the civil rights era and a few years afterward. i suppose people had to wait till a certain generation died of, and a newer generation became the majority. but i don't think this also happened in america, i believed it happen in all parts of the world that has/had racial tension in it's history.



posted on Apr, 27 2004 @ 08:17 AM
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Originally posted by IKnowNothing
i suppose this would be common in america before the civil rights era and a few years afterward. i suppose people had to wait till a certain generation died of, and a newer generation became the majority. but i don't think this also happened in america, i believed it happen in all parts of the world that has/had racial tension in it's history.


I would have to agree. The ignorance of racism had penetrated practically every organization in the west. Even Freemasonry, with its ideals of equality and brotherhood, was not immune.
Luckily for everyone, racism in the U.S. is declining. It certainly still exists, but the progress weve made since the 1950s is nothing short of miraculous. 50 years ago, it was illegal in many states for black people to drink from the same water fountains as whites. Today, we dont give it a second thought. Children of all ethnic backgrounds now gather together in our schools, without the slightest thought of segregation, while those who attained adulthood (and prejudice) in a segregated culture are becoming extinct.
Today, Freemasonry, like most other organizations, is multicultural and multiethnic.

Fiat Lvx.



posted on Apr, 27 2004 @ 10:52 AM
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Originally posted by Masonic Light

Originally posted by IKnowNothing
i suppose this would be common in america before the civil rights era and a few years afterward. i suppose people had to wait till a certain generation died of, and a newer generation became the majority. but i don't think this also happened in america, i believed it happen in all parts of the world that has/had racial tension in it's history.


I would have to agree. The ignorance of racism had penetrated practically every organization in the west. Even Freemasonry, with its ideals of equality and brotherhood, was not immune.
Luckily for everyone, racism in the U.S. is declining. It certainly still exists, but the progress weve made since the 1950s is nothing short of miraculous. 50 years ago, it was illegal in many states for black people to drink from the same water fountains as whites. Today, we dont give it a second thought. Children of all ethnic backgrounds now gather together in our schools, without the slightest thought of segregation, while those who attained adulthood (and prejudice) in a segregated culture are becoming extinct.
Today, Freemasonry, like most other organizations, is multicultural and multiethnic.

Fiat Lvx.


Thanks for the replies. He told me this in the late 1980s, so it must have been common in that area at that time.



posted on Apr, 27 2004 @ 12:23 PM
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so masons hate the blacks too!? does that mean they hang out with thet kkkk!?



posted on Apr, 27 2004 @ 01:11 PM
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Never mind.





[Edited on 2-5-2004 by Tamahu]



posted on Apr, 27 2004 @ 01:23 PM
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NM

[Edited on 2-5-2004 by Tamahu]



posted on May, 2 2004 @ 02:15 AM
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I am Black, and so was my husband. His AUNT was a "Lady Mason"...Golden Star, I think they called it. It was an ALL-BLACK organization. That was as recent as the 1980s.
They MAY segregate themselves. I never asked. I know the ELKS in my home town segregated themselves...even after the law had told the "White" Elks to let them in.
Blacks still segregate themselves in churches, too. Personally, I go to a "White" (integrated) church. I find it more normal.



posted on May, 2 2004 @ 02:23 AM
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Originally posted by Masonic Light


I would have to agree. The ignorance of racism had penetrated practically every organization in the west. Even Freemasonry, with its ideals of equality and brotherhood, was not immune.
Luckily for everyone, racism in the U.S. is declining. It certainly still exists, but the progress weve made since the 1950s is nothing short of miraculous. 50 years ago, it was illegal in many states for black people to drink from the same water fountains as whites. Today, we dont give it a second thought. Children of all ethnic backgrounds now gather together in our schools, without the slightest thought of segregation, while those who attained adulthood (and prejudice) in a segregated culture are becoming extinct.
Today, Freemasonry, like most other organizations, is multicultural and multiethnic.

Fiat Lvx.


so just out of interest ,what does the ethnic profile of your lodge look like ?
has your lodge ever considered affirmative action ? or maybe conducting your rituals in spanish occasionally [america's secound language] ?
in the interests of those ideals of equality and brotherhood you mentioned


[Edited on 2-5-2004 by dahei]

[Edited on 2-5-2004 by dahei]



posted on May, 2 2004 @ 02:30 AM
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Thanks, Imzadi. When I lived in North Carolina in the late 70s, early 80s, most every institution that was not a government institution was still segregated. Especially churches.

Was it your experience that it was a mutually desired segregation?

I will never forget my ex-father-in-law discussing the Masons and this racist stuff. As far as I'm concerned, his excuses for segregation were all stuff and nonsense.

He was a devoted Mason, though. And he never discussed any of the secrets he was supposed to keep.



posted on May, 2 2004 @ 02:30 AM
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Careful with the big quotes people... EDIT- If you have something to say about this request, please u2u, don't post in this thread.

[Edited on 2-5-2004 by ktprktpr]



posted on May, 2 2004 @ 02:52 AM
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Prince Hall Freemasonry is relevant to the discussion here, and it has an interesting history. It can be searched for and found at ATS and elsewhere.

I know Freemasons of all colors and creeds and I have never met anyone refused admission to a Lodge on the basis of their race anywhere.

I guess like attracts like, and at times people who are characteristically from a different community would not be attracted to join a bunch of grumpy white old men, but there could be no preclusion from them doing so. For philosophical reasons of fellowship and fraternity I expect that racism would be far less prevalent in Freemasonry anywhere than in a lot of other organizations.



posted on May, 2 2004 @ 03:40 AM
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I have to insist that in the case of my ex-father-in-law's lodge in the Philadelphia area, they did discriminate against people of color as late as 1989. I don't doubt my ex-father-in-law's word for a minute.

I only wondered if it were common and/or officially-sanctioned freemason behavior. It sounds to me as if that is not the case.



posted on May, 2 2004 @ 03:58 AM
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My involvement is all post-1989, and outside Philadelphia. I would concur that if such trends existed, they would be private to sadly racist committee members and never officially sanctioned.

Here's an interesting piece on Prince Hall masonry:

www.mindspring.com...

Prince Hall is recognized as the Father of Black Masonry in the United States. Historically, he made it possible for Negroes to be recognized and enjoy all privileges of free and accepted masonry.

Many rumors of the birth of Prince Hall have arisen. A few records and papers have been found of him in Barbados where it was rumored that he was born in 1748, but no record of birth by church or by state, has been found there, and none in Boston. All 11 countries were searched and churches with baptismal records were examined without finding the name of Prince Hall.

One widely circulated rumor states that "Prince Hall was free born in British West Indies. His father, Thomas Prince Hall, was an Englishman and his mother a free colored woman of French extraction. In 1765 he worked his passage on a ship to Boston, where he worked as a leather worker, a trade learned from his father. During this time he married Sarah Ritchery. Shortly after their marriage, she died at the age of 24. Eight years later he had acquired real estate and was qualified to vote. Prince Hall also pressed John Hancock to be allowed to join the Continental Army and was one of a few blacks who fought at the battle of Bunker Hill. Religiously inclined, he later became a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church with a charge in Cambridge and fought for the abolition of slavery." Some accounts are paraphrased from the generally discredited Grimshaw book of 1903.

Free Masonry among Black men began during the War of Independence, when Prince Hall and fourteen other free black men were initiated into Lodge # 441, Irish Constitution, attached to the 38th Regiment of Foot, British Army Garrisoned at Castle Williams (now Fort Independence) Boston Harbor on March 6, 1775.

(continues...)



posted on May, 2 2004 @ 05:04 AM
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I remember seeing somewhere, though, that it is only relatively recently that Prince Hall masonry has been accepted by the regular Masons. Is that correct?



posted on May, 2 2004 @ 09:40 AM
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Originally posted by dahei
so just out of interest ,what does the ethnic profile of your lodge look like ?


The membership of my Lodge is mostly Caucasian, with a couple of Hispanic members. There are no African-Americans on our rolls, but not because we would refuse to admit them. Traditionally, the Prince Hall Lodges have been all black, and most African Americans in my community who wish to become Masons apply to Prince Hall.
However, there are other mainstream Lodges that have African-American Brethren on the rolls, and some Prince Hall Lodges have white members.


has your lodge ever considered affirmative action ? or maybe conducting your rituals in spanish occasionally [america's secound language] ?
in the interests of those ideals of equality and brotherhood you mentioned


Our Lodges in the U.S. will only meet in English, and all men who apply for membership must be able to read and write English. Since most American Masons do not speak Spanish, it is unlikely you could find a Lodge in the U.S. that would meetings in the language. Of course, if you visited Lodges in Mexico or South America, the opposite would be true, and Lodges would meet only in Spanish.
Last year, a Brother from Peru who was in town visiting his daughter, attended our Lodge twice. He knew no English, and the only Spanish I remember barely allowed me to communicate with him. Yet, despite the language barrier, he returned for a second meeting to enjoy Masonic fellowship, which truly transcends the artificial barriers of race, language, and creed.

Fiat Lvx.



posted on May, 5 2004 @ 01:11 AM
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Masonry itself is blind to race and religion; however an individual lodge or the Grand Lodge of a state may invoke edicts, rules, or regulations. Within my own lodge we have members of ALL races, and most major religions including non Judeo-Christian ones. The Grand Lodge of my state has a formal edict of reciprocation with the Prince Hall Lodges and our Shrine has joint recognition with the Black Shrine. I travel quite a bit and have been to states where there is complete separation of these bodies... it is embarrassing to me as a Mason, and to the Fraternity. The more frustrating aspect is while traveling a Mason is governed by the Grand Lodge of his current location not of his home; dissent is silent. I have also encountered a few Prince Hall Masons who would not recognize me while traveling; an occurrence I can only attribute to past experience with less "enlightened" brothers. The short answer is Masonry is only as racist as the individual member; it is as prevalent as the rest of society...no better, no worse.



posted on May, 5 2004 @ 01:20 AM
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yup, so they hang out with the kkk and burn all our dang crosses!? get muh shotgun mah!



posted on May, 5 2004 @ 01:55 AM
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I shouldn't, but I will... A Mason is far less likely to "hang out with the KKK or any other racist/hate organization than someone from the general population. A group that embraces religious tolerance is not likely to have crossover membership to the KKK/White Supremacist. As to the distasteful cross burning reference, the KKK burns their own crosses not someone else's (Further symbolizing religious intolerance). Masonic lore stems from the Old Testament (King Solomons Temple), the mountains of Zion is not the first place I would expect a bigot to hold dear.



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