A recent story in the Dallas (Texas) Star-Telegram baffles me. Not because it's about anything deep and meaningful, not really, but it involves Masons, racism and more political correctness than I can stomach.
Star-Telegram writer Bud Kennedy tells us there's going to be a "victory party" on Monday, Jan. 15 (the Martin Luther King, Jr., federal holiday), at the old Masonic children's home and school in Fort Worth. A victory party!
What are they celebrating?
Sue Regian, widow of Joe Regian, who served as the school board's president and who was instrumental in getting the Masons to allow black children to live at the home and attend the school, recently recalled some of the hate mail her husband received.
"Some Masons didn't want black people there," she said. "A lot of letters were really, really hateful. They said, 'Masonic Home is going to the niggers.'"
In 2000, after 101 years of operation, the school and home accepted its first black child. By 2005, the school and home had closed, in part because the donations from white Masons dropped off tremendously, and in part because the Masonic home settled a $6.9 million lawsuit from the 1990's alleging abuse of children.
On Monday, black leaders are meeting in the chapel of the now-closed school to celebrate "victory." Was this Martin Luther King's legacy? Who is victorious here? The white orphans who once lived there? Or who were abused there? The black orphans who moved in in 2000? Are the Masons who stopped donating to the home the winners here? Are the black leaders who are using the chapel on Monday to whoop it up over a nearby highway being renamed for King the victors?
Nope. The real winner here is Michael Mallick, head of local real estate development company The Mallick Group, who bought the 200-acre college-style campus last year.
The developer plans to build more than 500 homes around the historic 1920's school and dormitories and the beautiful, cut-stone 1958 chapel.
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