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Racism in American Masonry

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posted on May, 5 2004 @ 06:37 AM
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MirthfulMe,

Sounds like you are saying racism is alive and well in present day Masonry. How very sad. And although you say that Masonry is blind as to race, it seems to me that it is blind as to racism. Not a brotherly thing, in my book.




posted on May, 5 2004 @ 07:53 AM
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I would have to go against the assumption of Racism.

Yes, there are Prince Hall mason affiliates and they are all made of black members. the Prince Halls all started when racism was in the upswing in America, as black masons that were made master masons outside of america came and were not taken in. So, they started their own lodges.

I am in japan and here is a unique place. This is one of the few places that have lodges from all over the world. I have been invited to go to the Prince Hall lodge over here before. I have not had the time right now as it is not close to my home, but hope to go some time.

I personally belong to the Grand Lodge of Scotland and have always accepted masons of any race. Take a look at this picture from 1904. www.grandlodgescotland.com... I know some from Englad as well and there seems to have been no racism there.

I think that if racism exists in masonry, it is probably mostly in America. In my lodge our members are from all over the world being that we are mostly coming to Japan from somewhere else, so race is not a problem or even a thought. Also the members in my lodge have many different faiths, I guess due to the same reaons.

If a mason is racist, then that is going against masonry all together.



posted on May, 5 2004 @ 11:17 AM
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Originally posted by glee
MirthfulMe,

Sounds like you are saying racism is alive and well in present day Masonry. How very sad. And although you say that Masonry is blind as to race, it seems to me that it is blind as to racism. Not a brotherly thing, in my book.



No, I am not implying that Masonry is racist, only that there are racist people within it (this includes Prince Hall, ATS, and every other possible demographic!) and can have INDIVIDUAL racist tendencies. To proclaim that some utopian expectation of this or any group demonstrates a naivet that astounds me. To portray any group that is veiled through ignorance as having only malfeasance as its code is truly mind boggling. Visit a Shriners Hospital, and tell me that there is a more noble philanthropy. Within every community there are Masonic supported charities, none of which could be racist.



posted on May, 5 2004 @ 11:24 AM
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Originally posted by Mirthful Me

No, I am not implying that Masonry is racist, only that there are racist people within it (this includes Prince Hall, ATS, and every other possible demographic!) and can have INDIVIDUAL racist tendencies. To proclaim that some utopian expectation of this or any group demonstrates a naivet that astounds me. To portray any group that is veiled through ignorance as having only malfeasance as its code is truly mind boggling. Visit a Shriners Hospital, and tell me that there is a more noble philanthropy. Within every community there are Masonic supported charities, none of which could be racist.


I believe you and jon and masonic light when you say not all Masons are racist. But your organization recognizes racist lodges. From the outside that sure makes it look like it turns a blind eye to racism.



posted on May, 5 2004 @ 11:49 AM
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I believe you and jon and masonic light when you say not all Masons are racist. But your organization recognizes racist lodges. From the outside that sure makes it look like it turns a blind eye to racism.

Once again, there is a distinction between an individual (and their personal views) and an organization (stated charter). There are no "racist" lodges merely racist individuals within a given lodge; as there are racists within any organization.



posted on May, 5 2004 @ 01:19 PM
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Ah, but my ex-father-in-law's lodge was racist. At least it sure sounds that way to me.



posted on May, 6 2004 @ 07:38 AM
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Originally posted by glee
Ah, but my ex-father-in-law's lodge was racist. At least it sure sounds that way to me.



If they were racist, then they go against the basic beliefs of masonry. I would have to agree that they organization itself is not racist, but possibly some members are. I am not saying that they are, as I dfo not know any personally that are, but of course cannot rule it out. Now, Prince Hall Lodges were created during the racist times predominately in America. But, any race is allowed to join Prince Hall Lodges. Here www.mwphglnc.com... is a link for the Prince Hall Lodge of north Carolina. If you will notice, it does say that it is primarily made up of African Americans, but any race is invited to join. As many join lodges their families belonged to, this would account for it being mostly made of African America members. I hope that this helped clear some misconceptions.



posted on May, 6 2004 @ 07:53 AM
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Yes, it's true (I know this from some Masons.) Integration of the lodges only took place within the last 30 years and was slower to catch on in the South. It has indeed changed, as has our society.


Originally posted by glee
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.

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]


[Edited on 6-5-2004 by Byrd]



posted on May, 6 2004 @ 03:52 PM
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Originally posted by Byrd
Yes, it's true (I know this from some Masons.) Integration of the lodges only took place within the last 30 years and was slower to catch on in the South. It has indeed changed, as has our society.
[Edited on 6-5-2004 by Byrd]


Does Masonry have a stated policy concerning racism? By Masonry, I mean the recognized, boys-only type of Freemasonry. Would the authorities actively deny recognition to a lodge that publicly avowed segregation? What would happen if a white mason went to a black lodge and was turned away? Could that person complain to the main organization and get something done? What if an asian was turned away from my ex-father-in-law's lodge? Could they complain and expect some kind of action?



posted on May, 6 2004 @ 04:11 PM
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We see here that Prince Hall masonry was in fact a complete reversal of Racial Prejudice by an Irsih Lodge who initiated the first black Freemasons.

www.mindspring.com...
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. The Master of the Lodge was Sergeant John Batt. Along with Prince Hall, the other newly made masons were Cyrus Johnson, Bueston Slinger, Prince Rees, John Canton, Peter Freeman, Benjamin Tiler, Duff Ruform, Thomas Santerson, Prince Rayden, Cato Spain, Boston Smith, Peter Best, Forten Howard and Richard Titley.

A giant step for mankind.



posted on May, 6 2004 @ 04:26 PM
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Originally posted by glee
[quote
Does Masonry have a stated policy concerning racism? By Masonry, I mean the recognized, boys-only type of Freemasonry. Would the authorities actively deny recognition to a lodge that publicly avowed segregation? What would happen if a white mason went to a black lodge and was turned away? Could that person complain to the main organization and get something done? What if an asian was turned away from my ex-father-in-law's lodge? Could they complain and expect some kind of action?


A quick primer on jurisdiction of Masonic bodies (This is like trying to figure out which General is in charge of a Third World country) All Masons and appendant/concordant bodies are ultimately governed by the Grand Lodge of their state (U.S.) or country (Rest of the world) there are of course some unique situations such as the Grand Lodge of England vs. the Grand Lodge of York. The appendant /concordant body may have either a state or national governing body but must defer to the Grand Lodge of Jurisdiction (This is a chicken and the egg deal, but if your Grand Lodge lays down an edict; thats it, end of story). This was best demonstrated by the Grand Lodge of Missouri vs. the Imperial Shrine of North America (a ridiculous spat over a Mason owning a business that served alcohol) Each Grand Lodge is going to reflect its respective country/cultures values (I.E. a GL in a progressive area may be more tolerant of diversity than in others) I'm not saying this is right, just the way it is. Ultimately it once again rests with an individual, I would rather enjoy the fellowship of a tolerant Mason from an intolerant Grand Lodge than a hypocritical bigot who toes the line because of a progressive Grand Lodge policy. This tirade gives only a brief overview of the topic and cannot be construed as a official document or used as a reference in any legal or Masonic proceeding. My lawyer made me type that.


[Edited on 6-5-2004 by Mirthful Me]



posted on May, 6 2004 @ 04:53 PM
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Does Masonry have a stated policy concerning racism? By Masonry, I mean the recognized, boys-only type of Freemasonry. Would the authorities actively deny recognition to a lodge that publicly avowed segregation? What would happen if a white mason went to a black lodge and was turned away? Could that person complain to the main organization and get something done? What if an asian was turned away from my ex-father-in-law's lodge? Could they complain and expect some kind of action?


Part of the problem here is that I think you are not understanding what MirthfulMe is trying to say... there is no "Main Organization." Quite simply, every Grand Lodge takes care of its own business, and the only recourse another Grand Lodge has is to refuse recognition.

That being said, I should note an anecdote a German friend recently told me. A lodge in Germany soon after the war was refusing to admit Jews. The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) threatened to cease recognising the appropriate Grand Lodge in Germany (I believe there are three in Germany), and action was taken (I believe the offending lodge had its charter revoked. This is how things work in Masonry. If an individual is behaving badly, the only recourse we have is to remove that individual. If a lodge is behaving badly, the Grand Lodge can eliminate that lodge (e.g. the P2 lodge in Italy, which had its charter removed when it was discovered that it was taking extremely non-masonic actions). If a whole Grand Lodge is behaving badly, the only option other Grand Lodges have is to threaten ceasing recognition, or to cease recognition. Plain and simple.

Finally, no, Masonry does not accept racism, as far as I'm concerned. If your father-in-law's lodge was practicing racism, then someone somewhere messed up. The members of the lodge failed to see their own error, the Grand Lodge failed to notice the error, and other Grand Lodges failed to notice it. The problem is, if no-one complained, how were the Grand Lodge or other Grand Lodges to know about it?



posted on May, 6 2004 @ 06:30 PM
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Wow! Video luxem.

Sorry if I seemed dense, but the details of organization were unclear to me. I thought that the United Grand Lodges in the British Isles were the ultimate authority. It seems, by what you are saying, that they are not the ultimate authority, but that their recognition, or refusal thereof, gives them great influence. Is that correct?

So now it sounds to me as if the definition of Freemasonry changes depending on the local customs of a lodge. For instance, in the lodges my respondents belong to, brotherhood means "universal brotherhood". In other lodges, it might mean "brotherhood with those who are of xxx race" or "brotherhood with everyone except those of xxx race". These lodges would, of course, be in danger of having recognition rescinded by the UGL's if there were a complaint. But if no complaint occurred, then no problem. Is this correct?

A question for all of you as Masons. If a member from a different lodge told you that their lodge discriminated against a particular race, would you raise a complaint?

Also, this makes me wonder about Masonry in Hindu countries. Do members of all castes, including "untouchables", attend the same lodges? (mere idle curiosity on my part, I admit)

I totally agree with the argument that it is better to associate with a tolerant person from an intolerant society, than an intolerant person from a tolerant society.

This is fascinating. Freemasonry is often perceived from the outside as a monolithic body, but that is obviously not the case.



posted on May, 6 2004 @ 06:46 PM
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I am not questioning your version of the history of Prince Hall Associated Freemasonry, however I heard a slightly different story. In the version I heard, Prince Hall wasn't accepted by any "other lodge", and it was while in the military he petitioned to the Grand Lodge for his own unique charter. That is how PHA was originated, not as an ofshoot of some previously established lodge (save the grand lodge). Also, I know from discussions I had with PHA masons, that if they greet a "white" mason, whom they know to be so by certain signs and symbols, they are often ignored. As if to say, they aren't recognized as brothers. From what I understand, Lodges have been integrating over the past few years, but some "old Timers" are still holding on to "tradition"!



posted on May, 6 2004 @ 07:00 PM
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Originally posted by glee
A question for all of you as Masons. If a member from a different lodge told you that their lodge discriminated against a particular race, would you raise a complaint?


Never struck it, wouldn't complain, nor would I visit.



posted on May, 6 2004 @ 07:14 PM
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Originally posted by glee
Wow! Video luxem.

Sorry if I seemed dense, but the details of organization were unclear to me. I thought that the United Grand Lodges in the British Isles were the ultimate authority. It seems, by what you are saying, that they are not the ultimate authority, but that their recognition, or refusal thereof, gives them great influence. Is that correct?


My first day here and I got a "video luxem!" I'm so happy. (on reading back, I discover this "video luxem" was for Mirthful Me, not I... ah, well
) I could suggest that you could see even more lux if you joined a local Lodge, but that would be a little too close to recruitment, which we don't allow in Canada


You have summed up my point admirably. The UGLE's only authority comes from its recognition or lack thereof. The UGLE itself carries some weight only because it was the first publicly recognised Grand Lodge, but in actuality if it came right down to a choice, (which it never has as far as I'm aware) it would probably be better to be recognised by nearby GLs than the UGLE.



So now it sounds to me as if the definition of Freemasonry changes depending on the local customs of a lodge.


Change "local customs of a Lodge" to "Provincial customs of a Grand Lodge," and you'd be exactly right. In fact, in my jurisdiction (Alberta, Canada), the constitution explicitly says that the Grand Lodge of Alberta is the final arbiter of what is and what is not Masonic for our jurisdiction.



For instance, in the lodges my respondents belong to, brotherhood means "universal brotherhood". In other lodges, it might mean "brotherhood with those who are of xxx race" or "brotherhood with everyone except those of xxx race". These lodges would, of course, be in danger of having recognition rescinded by the UGL's if there were a complaint. But if no complaint occurred, then no problem. Is this correct?


Well, there'd still be a problem, as far as I'm concerned, because the lodge would be doing something that is wrong. Make no bones about it... whether a Grand Lodge says so or not, every thinking human being knows that racism is wrong. But other than that small caveat, your description is entirely correct.



A question for all of you as Masons. If a member from a different lodge told you that their lodge discriminated against a particular race, would you raise a complaint?


I am in the unfortunate position of being able to tell you that I would in fact make such a complaint, because I have made such a complaint. In this case, it was not even an entire lodge, but a few members of the lodge, and the issue was not race but sexual orientation. I complained to the appropriate GL authority, and the matter was dealt with. I'm sure that you understand that I do not wish to get into the issue any further.



Also, this makes me wonder about Masonry in Hindu countries. Do members of all castes, including "untouchables", attend the same lodges? (mere idle curiosity on my part, I admit)


You bring up an excellent point, and one that should be of concern to all Masons. A cursory look at the Grand Lodge of India membership page doesn't say anything specific about Hindu castes, but it does contain the suggestive remark that "...[a candidate for Masonry] should be someone who does, or wants to learn to, enjoy the company of other men from all different social classes, faiths, backgrounds, races, countries, etc. Masonry is universal in its ideals." (underlining mine)

[Edited on 6-5-2004 by AlexKennedy]

[Edited on 6-5-2004 by AlexKennedy]



posted on May, 6 2004 @ 07:20 PM
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The light is shining on the purveyors of subterfuge now, let's see the twists and turns of hearsay and innuendo to drag the Craft into the muck and mire of ignorance.



posted on May, 6 2004 @ 07:52 PM
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Originally posted by Mirthful Me
The light is shining on the purveyors of subterfuge now, let's see the twists and turns of hearsay and innuendo to drag the Craft into the muck and mire of ignorance.


Excuse me, Mirthful Me, but I hope you weren't referring to me? I certainly am not trying to drag anything through the mud. The only way to cure ignorance is to ask questions. Reading Masonic Light's posts, with his "Fiat Lvx" reassured me that enlightenment was a Masonic virtue.

Racism is a common ethical fault in long-standing organizations. It doesn't stink any less if it is kept from the light. It is to the credit of Freemasonry that every Masonic response to my query has been against racism.



posted on May, 6 2004 @ 07:59 PM
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No glee,

An honest inquiry into an unknown subject on your part does not constitute subterfuge. The people with an agenda are easily identified by the convoluted diatribes, sophomoric vitriols, and constant "references" to rabidly slanted websites. Your acceptance of the various contributors has been sincere as far as I am concerned.



posted on May, 6 2004 @ 07:59 PM
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Originally posted by AlexKennedy

My first day here and I got a "video luxem!" I'm so happy. (on reading back, I discover this "video luxem" was for Mirthful Me, not I... ah, well
) I could suggest that you could see even more lux if you joined a local Lodge, but that would be a little too close to recruitment, which we don't allow in Canada

[Edited on 6-5-2004 by AlexKennedy]


Alex, I can't join a lodge, because I don't qualify. I'm a woman. As someone else has pointed out, Freemasonry is about brotherhood, not, er, siblinghood. And since this is a thread about racism, it seems unfair to ambush people with gender discrimination at this point. But I certainly appreciate your invitation.

In fact, both posters added a lot to my understanding. It's easy to see how things like Prince Hall and co-masonry got started.

Nice link to the indian web site. Reassuring bit of verbage. Good for them.




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