Bro. David Cooksey, Grand Secretary of the United Grand Lodge of America, moments ago finished up an eye-opening interview with David Person of WEUP-AM in Huntsville, Ala. I listened online at the radio station's website http://www.weupam.com.
During the fifteen minute interview Bro. Cooksey told how the United Grand Lodge of America came into existence, after brothers in Georgia were "erased" from their blue lodges by the Grand Lodge of Georgia. He explained that the UGLA accepts all worthy brothers as Masons, without concern for skin color, unlike the Grand Lodge of Alabama.
He told of his 13 years as an Alabama Mason, before he resigned his blue lodge and the Scottish Rite and joined the UGLA, relating incidents of racism and character assassination that led to his resignation. He related a story about an Alabama Deputy District officer who was overheard telling another Mason that he "just can't imagine that black people can go to Heaven... because they have no souls."
Bro. Cooksey said that most Masons in Alabama interpret, or are told to interpret, the traditional requirement that a candidate for Freemasonry be "freeborn" to mean that no black man can be a Freemason. When he then exclaimed, "There aren't any black slaves anymore!", the interviewer and another man in the studio, both of whom are black, replied with "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"
The interviewer took Bro. Cooksey's concerns to heart, asking at one point "What century do they [Antient Alabama Masons] think they are living in?"
When asked if Gov. Riley and other prominent Alabama politicians could be members of a racist organization without knowing it, Bro. Cooksey said that yes, when you first join a Masonic lodge you may not realize it's a whites-only group, but that after 20 or 30 or 40 years of never seeing a "person of color" in a lodge meeting, it should become obvious. He also told about the Alabama Shrine Potentate Larry Simms who reneged on allowing a concert at a Shrine building in Montgomery when he learned that the concert-goers were primarily Latinos.
Radio host David Person invited Bro. Cooksey back to talk more about racism in Alabama Freemasonry. Bro. Cooksey has been mentioned many times before on the Burning Taper. Use the Blogger search engine [above] or the Technorati search engine [right] to find other Burning Taper articles about him.
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