Friday, October 12, 2007

Would you sit in lodge with a Prince Hall Mason?

Last month I had the pleasure of attending an Entered Apprentice degree at St. John's Lodge No. 2, in Middletown, Connecticut. I was warmly accepted as a brother, and had a great time.

The Grand Lodge of Connecticut recognizes the Connecticut Prince Hall lodges, and accepts their members as true and lawful brothers. A Prince Hall lodge shares the facilities with the "regular" lodge.

The Grand Lodge of Georgia, under whose jurisdiction my lodge works, does not recognize Prince Hall members as being legitimate brothers, and in fact, considers Prince Hall lodges to be clandestine.

Personally, I find the Grand Lodge of Georgia's refusal to recognize Prince Hall Masons abhorrent. Well over a year ago on this blog, I openly called for the Grand Lodge of Georgia to immediately recognize Prince Hall Masonry. Not recognizing brothers as Masons because of the color of their skin strikes me as utterly unmasonic. How hypocritical can we be, saying one of our tenets is "brotherly love" while refusing to recognize our brothers?

In fact, I find the forced segregation goes against the duties I owe to my God, my country, my neighbors and most especially myself. I am not a racist, and cannot understand it in another human nor, especially, in an organization that promotes itself as the champion of universal brotherhood.

But here I am, a Georgia Mason, apparently carrying the stink of my Grand Lodge's institutionalized racism with me when I sojourn afar.

Prefacing his question with "you don't have to answer this," after conducting my examination to assure I was a Mason, the Grand Marshal of Connecticut asked me what I would do if that night a Prince Hall Mason had been in attendance at St. John's Lodge.

Since I didn't have to answer, and there was no Prince Hall Mason visiting, I didn't answer, but have thought about it since. In an article about my visit to St. John's, I later said that I would have gone in, and welcomed the opportunity to sit with a Prince Hall Mason, believing that at that time I was in the jurisdiction of the Connecticut grand lodge, not the Georgia grand lodge.

As I've said before, I'm not a legal scholar, civil or Masonic. And further, being a racist or giving a damn what racists think just doesn't work for me.

The whole recognition thing is a smokescreen for racism, pure and simple. If I were to invite to my lodge an African-American brother, raised in a "regular" lodge of another state, or in a military lodge under the jurisdiction of another state that accepted blacks, I'd bet dollars to donuts he wouldn't be allowed in, even if I vouched for him.

But the rules and obligations? Was I under the jurisdiction of Connecticut, or Georgia, when I was visiting in Connecticut? If they recognize Prince Hall, can or should I sit with a Prince Hall Mason, or am I bound to the antiquated Georgia racist rules with which I emphatically disagree?

Brother Ashok from Hong Kong wrote to me the following, explaining how the United Grand Lodge of England, under whose jurisdiction his lodge operates, perceives brethren visiting outside their home lodge:
Hongkong Friday 12 October 2007

Dear Sir & Brother,

I try to read your interesting and informative blog on a weekly basis but I don't always succeed.

In "That which was found" you wrote: "A sojourning Mason temporarily falls under the jurisdiction of a regular Grand Lodge of the state in which he is visiting. Since I was in Connecticut, the rules and recognitions of that Grand Lodge are supreme."

Understandably, as a visiting or sojourning brother, I would try to conform to the requirements of the host GL, although the customs of my Mother Lodge or GL may sometimes vary and/or take precedent.

UGLE advises its members: In visiting a jurisdiction which, quite legitimately so far as it is concerned, accepts visitors from GLs which are not recognised by UGLE, brethren are reminded that it is part of their duty as members of UGLE not to associate masonically with members of such unrecognised GLs, and should such a situation arise, they should tactfully withdraw, even through their visit may have been formally or officially arranged....
I appreciate Bro. Ashok's email, and the message he brings me from the UGLE.

I remember well the night I was raised. After the formalities were over, but still in tyled lodge, a brother approached the altar to explain some of the things I'd just been through and the obligations. When he got to the part about "clandestine" lodges, he said, "...the only clandestine lodges we know of are the black lodges."

Immediately the thought hit me like a truckful of bricks: "Oh, s#!t... have I joined the Klan?"

Had I realized at the time how racist the Grand Lodge of Georgia and my local brethren were, I would never have become a Mason.

(To those who feel the need to comment, "Then quit if you don't like our rules," I say, "Nope. Too late. I'm a Mason and I'm going to stay that way, and work towards positive changes for the fraternity.")

What would you have done, in my place, a non-racist Mason from a racist Grand Lodge, if you visited a non-racist lodge in another jurisdiction and a Prince Hall Mason was also visiting? And why? Please elaborate.



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90 comments:

  1. I'm not a Mason, so I don't know the answer...but could you demit your current lodge and join, say, St. John's lodge?

    That would mean that you're 'visiting' every time you attend your local lodge, but then wouldn't you fall under Connecticut's jurisdiction and therefore be able to freely associate with Prince Hall lodges. Or am I mistaken?

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    1. He has to join a Lodge in the Jurisdiction he resides in. If he lives in Georgia and wants to be a mainstream Mason, he is under the GL of GA and their rules.

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  2. I would most certainly sit in lodge with a Prince Hall Mason. I have invited PHMs to High Twelve [over the objections of many] and have several friends who are PHM.

    s/California F&AM Mason

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  3. Unfortunately, in South Carolina, we are instructed that because PHM's are not "regular", we are not to associate with them as Masons. We can discuss Masonry with them, just not the accepted secrets. We are not to attend their lodges, nor can they attend ours.

    As a "yankee" living in the South, the practice does seem odd and outdated, but I respect local culture. I may not agree with it, but I respect it.

    So in answer to the question, no, I would not sit in lodge with a Prince Hall Mason because that was the instruction of the Worshipful Master of our lodge. I am duty-bound not to.

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  4. He can't join St. John's because he's not a Conn resident. We have a one year residency requirement. If he traveled most of the year, we could make an exception based on approximate residence, but unfortunately, WS is not eligible to join St. John's.

    As to sitting in lodge with PH Masons? Surely you jest? In Conn it's a frequent occurrence for those of us in lodges near the cities. I've sat with present and past GMs. I've participated in a degree in which both I and a PH Past DD have presented ritual. I've even had a PH PM at the last MM degree I did as WM in 2006.

    BTW, I don't make a big deal over this because, well, in Conn we've been in Amity with PH since 1989 or 1990.

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  5. I was informed that my obligation would not interfere with my duties to God, my country, my neighbors or myself.

    Telling me I cannot sit in lodge with a good man simply because he's black interferes in the most egregious way with my duty to myself, and as far as I'm concerned with my duty to God.

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  6. As a mason only raised two months ago, I don't know many of the politics that have gone on before. I honestly don't know if Prince Hall lodges are considered clandestine or regular by the Grand Lodge of Texas or not, or if Prince Hall lodges are even active in Texas. It's not something I've researched.

    That said, when I joined my lodge the Worshipful Master was black. He's now served his term, and the currently sitting Junior and Senior Wardens are both black. If we were to refuse communication with a Prince Hall lodge, it certainly wouldnt be because of race, but only because of ritual differences or lack or recognition of ritual and symbolic equality. (Again, I know nothing of Prince Hall ritual, so I can't speak to any similarities or differences that may arise.)

    I took an oath not to have masonic communication with clandestine lodges, but no such list of lodges has been given to me, so my only clue to what organizations may be kosher is the readily acknowledged list of concordant bodies on the GLoT website. If they're not on that list, I don't honestly know...

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  7. "Don't ask; don't tell." If you're visiting a Lodge and a black brother walks into the door...do you immediately walk up and ask him if he's a member of Prince Hall?

    I've sat in Lodge with a couple of black brothers...none of whom belonged to a Prince Hall Lodge. Being from Indiana I've also sat in Lodge with one or two Prince Hall brothers.

    So, if I were put in that situation (because technically any Georgia Prince Hall Mason is clandestine as we don't recognize them) I would simply make sure I didn't find out if he was Prince Hall from that jurisdiction.

    In situations like this, what you don't know can't hurt you especially as your obligation is "knowingly or wittingly" if you don't know you can't do much about it.

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  8. Here is another way to look at it:
    Prince Hall GL is recognized by UGLE
    UGLE recognizes GL of GA
    GL of GA recognizes GL of CT
    GL of CT recognizes Prince Hall GL of CT and UGLE
    Therefore Prince Hall GL of CT is not clandestine.
    I have checked the UGLE site here is a copy and paste of grand lodges on the USA that are recognized by UGLE:dges in
    Grand Lodge of Alabama
    Grand Lodge of Alaska
    Grand Lodge of Arizona
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Arizona
    Grand Lodge of Arkansas
    Grand Lodge of California
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge of California
    Grand Lodge of Colorado
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Colorado
    Grand Lodge of Connecticut
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Connecticut
    Grand Lodge of Delaware
    Grand Lodge of District of Columbia (Washington DC)
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge of District of Columbia (Washington DC)
    Grand Lodge of Florida
    Grand Lodge of Georgia
    Grand Lodge of Hawaii
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Hawaii
    Grand Lodge of Idaho
    Grand Lodge of Illinois
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the State of Illinois
    Grand Lodge of Indiana
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Indiana
    Grand Lodge of Iowa
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Iowa
    Grand Lodge of Kansas
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Kansas
    Grand Lodge of Kentucky
    Grand Lodge of Louisiana
    Grand Lodge of Maine
    Grand Lodge of Maryland
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Maryland
    Grand Lodge of Massachusetts
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts
    Grand Lodge of Michigan
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Michigan
    Grand Lodge of Minnesota
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Jurisdiction of Minnesota
    Grand Lodge of Mississippi
    Grand Lodge of Missouri
    Grand Lodge of Montana
    Grand Lodge of Nebraska
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Nebraska
    Grand Lodge of Nevada
    Grand Lodge of New Hampshire
    Grand Lodge of New Jersey
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge of New Jersey
    Grand Lodge of New Mexico
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge of New Mexico
    Grand Lodge of the State of New York
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge of New York
    Grand Lodge of North Carolina
    Grand Lodge of North Dakota
    Grand Lodge of Ohio
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Ohio
    Grand Lodge of Oklahoma
    Grand Lodge of Oregon
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Oregon
    Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania
    Grand Lodge of Rhode Island
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Rhode Island
    Grand Lodge of South Carolina
    Grand Lodge of South Dakota
    Grand Lodge of Tennessee
    Grand Lodge of Texas
    Grand Lodge of Utah
    Grand Lodge of Vermont
    Grand Lodge of Virginia
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Virginia
    Grand Lodge of Washington
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Washington
    Grand Lodge of West Virginia
    Grand Lodge of Wisconsin
    Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Wisconsin
    Grand Lodge of Wyoming

    Of note there is no Prince Hall GL of GA listed.

    Dewi

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    1. I am a PHA Mason in the state of GA. Our history is quite different in terms of our charter. But rest assured that PHA masons in GA are not, and never have been clandestine. The reason you will not see us on the UGLE site is because we were birth out of competent jurisdictions of PH GL of MA and PH GL of PA. Being that those GLs have already been recognized by UGLE, dispensations were granted to establish PHA lodges in a state that did not have any PHA lodges (2 from MA and 1 from PA) being that there were now 3 established PHA lodges in the state of GA, a GL could now be formed and was formed. The first lodge established after the formation of our GL (MWPHGL of GA) was ST. James #4 which is still incredibly active. I hope this clears up any confusion or questions about our charter. THAT IS HOW AND WHY PHA MASONS ARE REGULAR. Our history is on our website www.mwphglga.org

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  9. Hear, Hear Widows Son!
    Keep this subject in the light because until we redress this wrong, universally as a fraternity, we can never truly say that we are the brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of god.
    The Grand Lodges of Alaska, Arizona, California,
    Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois,
    Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas,
    Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming have all lived up to their sacred obligation of brotherhood and the true spirit of Freemasonry.
    The Prince Hall Masons have a greater history and tradition than
    most of the Grand Lodge's in the great nation of the United States and are in possession of the oldest surviving original charter in this country. I have and will always proudly sit with and call these men my brother.

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  10. And once again I'm going to toss out my two cents by saying that recognition - or lack thereof - may not be attributed simply to race. There are political considerations between Grand Lodges that make some recognition problematic.

    For example, in Conn there is only one Prince Hall GL. However, some states seem to have two or more. PHA, which seems to be the one recognized by more of the mainstream GLs; and PHO, which claims to be the legitimate PH in several states. Furthermore, some states have other orders that have split off from the original PH GLs, making recognition a bit messy.

    Another point is that we - mainstreamers - act as if all of the PH GLs are waiting in the lobby, just begging to be recognized. This is most assuredly not the case; recognition, especially in the early stages, involves a lot of diplomacy, and back-and -forth visits and negotiations. Some PH GLs have not applied for recognition status to the AF&AM GLs.

    Some PH GLS have concerns that AF&AM lodges will swallow up the small population of PH Masons - or possibly attract those who might otherwise apply to a PH lodge. In many states (I believe that Conn is one) PH lodges do not allow affiliation outside the jurisdiction, i.e., a PH Mason can not join an AF&AM lodge as an affiliate member.

    Here's another consideration: Generally, the newer GL applies to the older one for recognition. The GL of Grand Fenwick (for example) would apply to the UGLE, not the other way around. Don't ask me, it's just the way it's done. However, some PH GLS claim to be older than the GL of the US state in which they're located, by virtue of the fact that PH predates most of the states, having been chartered in the 1700s. AF&AM GLs, however, won't apply to a PH because they see the PH as being "newer".

    Yes, it's stupid, but that's diplomacy for you.

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  11. What happens to F&AM lodges in the next ten years if PH lodges aren't recognized?

    PH lodges charge more for admission ($1000 first time and large annual membership fees), appear to screen applicants far more closely than F&AM lodges and have GROWING membership. The dues alone make F&AM dues look like chump change.

    Some lessons could be learned from PH by F&AM lodges whether we choose to sit with them or not. Future recognition may be necessary to preserve Masonry. Period.

    BTW, as much as I disagree with segregation, I am bound by oath not to sit in lodge with PH Mason at this time. This is much like the ecumenical movement and Communion among protestants and Catholics.

    Fraternally yours,
    The Libertarian

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  12. As a Virginian Mason, recognition is not a concern. However, after reflection I believe that if an obligation is solemn and sincere and we have taken similar obligations we therefore are brothers. How can man break a solemn oath?

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  13. W.S.-

    As you have alluded, the real issue here is whether it's ok to break (technically speaking) your Grand Lodges orders or to do what you know to be right in your heart as a Mason. For too long Freemasonry has not completely lived up it's ideals of Brotherly love, just as our great nation has not. What better way for us to set an example for the rest of the nation than to show that in our small, limited way, we actually practice true brotherly equality? Freemasonry is, in many ways,based on the principles of natural law, and when a grand lodge attempts to tell brothers not to listen to the "still, small voice within" as Gahndi put it, a true mason has a responsibility to fight for right. I don't know where to draw the line between obeying the Grand Lodge and listening to ones voice, but clearly we as masons need to decide where that lies.

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  14. Texas recently did vote to recognize Prince Hall. North Carolina where I am from recently voted (within the last 3 weeks) not to recognize Prince Hall.

    A little back story though: In North Carolina for over 100 years it only took a 50% vote during the Grand Lodge to recognize another Grand Lodge. In 2003 knowing that the Prince Hall issue was coming up some brothers decided to put forward a resolution that it would require a 2/3rds vote to recognize a Grand Lodge. That passed and has been in place ever since.

    Though Prince Hall failed this year it was very close. A resolution was put forward to change the vote for recognition back to 50%. It passed overwhelmingly. Mostly because the guys from down east who showed up to vote down Prince Hall got up and left after the vote was over. They failed to realize or just ignored the fact that the 50% resolution would be on the floor 15 minutes later. I guess that is what they get for showing up, (disrupting the meeting) voting and walking out without looking over the agenda. It was the craziest thing.

    Prince Hall will pass next year in North Carolina as a result.

    When I joined I too realized after the fact that Prince Hall was an issue. I was from up north and just assumed that African Americans were members. I decided to stay because I thought how can things change if people like me are not on the inside casting the ballot. In Texas even though they just passed the Prince Hall recognition I have sat in a regular lodge in Houston where African Americans were members. There are also African Americans taking the degrees in Charlotte, NC in my district in a regular lodge.(non PH)

    Things are changing.

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  15. Colorado is working on a system in which a PH brother would not need to go back through the degrees if he were want to affiliate with AF/AM in this state. Right now the PH GL has said that it would not recommend such a move as they would not extend this priviledge. I think it is more a desire not to have men jumping between to the two in Colorado with AF/AM being "less expensive" in most lodges, I think there is a fear that a men will pay for the degrees in AF/AM and then make the jump to PH when he is done type of thing.

    I am believe, at a minimum, we will have plural membership someday. Right now we do a lot of joint stuff together and I am proud to be a Colorado Mason.

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  16. I am a Mason in a regular Lodge in Germany. I regularly visit Lodges from other Ritual systems which are members of the VGLvD - which means AF&AM, GLL, 3WK, the British and the Americans. We do not have a separation according to colour or race and I have visited many Lodges where 'foreigners' (of which I, as an Englishman, am one), Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Protestants and others come together.

    Our Grand Lodge follows the rules laid down in London that only regular Lodges may be visited: that is, Lodges which have been approved by London. So, I do not visit Women's Lodges, nor mixed Lodges as these, according to the rules, are Irregular.

    To the best of my knowledge, the Prince Hall Lodges are recognised by London, and it would be as much a pleasure for me, as a Mason, to visit one of these Lodges as it would be for me, and my Brr.: to welcome their Brr.: in my Lodge.

    In European circles it is generally not understood how a Grand Lodge in a land which claims universal sufferage, democracy and equality can claim exclusivity of race and exclude Brr.: from their Lodges when those Lodges have been recognised by London.

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  17. Br. Widow's SOn:

    I hadn't looked at your blog in a couple of days, and today, I was amazed to find we were on the same wavelength. On my blog, I posted an article about how to deal with Grand Lodges that refuse to recognize the legitimacy of Prince Hall Masonry.

    See: Whats Wrong With This Picture at http://beaconofmasoniclight.blogspot.com/2007/10/whats-wrong-with-this-picture.html

    One problem is, legally, if you visit another jurisdiction, you are still under the rules of your own grand lodge, and could be charged masonically for visiting a lodge with a Prince Hall mason present... of course, your question is no less valid for that...

    I don't know what I would do, because my GL recognizes all regular PH Grand Lodges that are recognized as regular by the MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge of California, Inc. I think I would obey the rule of my grand lodge, while working to see it changed.

    Failing that, I would join a grand lodge near where I lived, and dimit from the grand lodge that did not recognize Prince Hall Masons. Hit the grand lodge in the pocketbook as it were.

    The reality is, if the majority of the brethren in any grand lodge disagreed, vocally, with the grand lodge, they would have to change. They can't eject everyone for disagreeing with them, or soon they would not have a membership.

    I do not thing the majority in your jurisdiction, yet, have reached the tipping point, or your GL would be making changes. Time will tell.

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  18. Bravo, B:. Warwick, you said exactly what I was thinking, only much better.

    I'm not sure how it is for you guys, but we take our oaths at the end of the initiation ceremony. By that time the candidate is disoriented and weak in the knees. We assure them that the oaths they will take do not contradict the laws of the land, etc. Who would balk at that moment, and say "can I read those over and get back to you?" None that I've ever heard.

    But what would the candidate say if they were told outright that by taking this oath they'd lose their freedom of association?

    Who benefits from this significant loss of freedom? Who is protected by it? What greater purpose does it serve?

    (Just to clarify, I am speaking of a Mason's right to "travel" where he is welcome-- not about forcing lodges to open their doors to those they don't recognize.)

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  19. Only time and inner work can awaken our Brethern's consciences.

    In my lodge there are three blacks, who were admitted with no problem but with much of joy.

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  20. I just wanted to give the readers of this blog some idea of the relationship between Prince Hall Masonry and what PGM Fowler call "George Washington" Masonry here in Connecticut. (PGM Fowler thought it would be more descriptive to call each by their most eminent member, since both are really "mainstream" according to his thinking. - That should tell you something right there.)

    My Lodge shares the lodge building with Crawford Lodge #21 F&AM PHA. When you go upstairs to the Lodge room, you will find portraits of the Past Masters of Crawford Lodge right in the vestibule of the lodge room.

    The night I was raised, a Past Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Connecticut was present in full regalia. At the conclusion of the ceremonies, the Worshipful Master introduced him with all appropriate honors and courtesy.

    He had made it a point to sit right behind me and the other two Brothers who were made Master Masons that night, and was the first after our own Worshipful Master and visiting Grand Lodge dignitaries to congratulate us and welcome us to full membership in Masonry. Since that time I have had the pleasure of working with him on a couple of issues that came up concerning the building.

    There have been a number of occaisions where my Lodge will be rehearsing a degree, and the Brothers of Crawford Lodge have had a non-tiled meeting. We greet each other as Brothers, and I have never met a Brother of that Lodge that he did not extend his hand in greeting.

    I have met other Prince Hall Brethren away from the lodge building, and it has ever been thus.

    One night, I was dressed in a black suit and tie to attend another Masonic function, and the Brethren of Crawford Lodge had thought I had come to attend their meeting. (That attire, I believe is required for their stated communications.) More than one of thier Brethren expressed mild disappointment that I was not.

    On October 27th in Connecticut, our Grand Master has planned that all Lodges should have an open house, and where practicable, do so in conjunction with our Prince Hall Brethren.

    The last Grand Lodge Communication I attended, dignitaries from The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Connecticut attended and were received with due ceremony.

    So, from my limited experience, "George Washington" Masons in Connecticut not only talk the talk, they walk the walk. (As do our Prince Hall Brethren.) Connecticut was the first Grand Jurisdiction to recognize Prince Hall Masonry as regular in 1986; and we continue to dwell together in amity.

    Be Well All,

    TM

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  21. My state (Alabama) does not recognize PH masonry and has no black members. This is a result of shameful and unmasonic racism, pure and simple. There is no excuse for it, and I have no respect for it whatever. I would sit in lodge with a PH mason and I don't care one bit what my Grand Lodge thinks about it.

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  22. It's all about race, and has nothing to do with obligations. That is a huge cop out!
    I have been involved in many Prince hall raisings. I have escorted men around the gates. I have seen some of the best ritual work ever in a Prince Hall Lodge.
    A core of officers attended and helped in our Lodges raising the other night. The class and dignity in which these Brothers carry themselves is second to none.

    I prefer practicing masonry with the prince Halls over the racists in my jurisdiction. Our lodge was one of the first to bring in men of color, and still do, and we were called names for it.

    It is an embarrassment to all of us that only "southern" states refuse recognition.

    Why must these southern GL's continue to embarrass the craft like this?
    Why won't GL's take a stand, like they did against the GL of Min?

    Why do we allow racism in our frat?

    Bro Tom Coste
    Halcyon 498
    Ohio

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  23. I don't want to get too fussy... but aren't there any of the 50 Grand Lodges that allow black members? That would be the ideal, yes?

    Fraternally,

    George

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  24. Tom Coste

    I am no Masonic scholar, but I am a student of life. This issue goes much farther than the acceptance of Prince Hall Masons.

    I was raised in the deep South of Louisiana. Racism was a fact of life, one even as a child I found very hard to accept.

    I remember when I was only 8 or 9, my mother had a black man come to help her with her yard work. He worked very hard all morning and when lunch time came, my mother fixed plate of food for him and he went behind our pump house to eat, as if to hide. When he was done, my mother collected his plate and eating utensils. Then to my astonishment, she threw them away rather than wash and reuse them, as if they were somehow tanted!!!

    I was so young but I thought to myself, "atrocious, atrocious" how can you treat another person in such a way? That was nearly 40 yrs ago and things have changed, but at a snail's pace.

    What will it take to enlighten the Southern Jurisdictions? I can only guess another couple of hundred years!

    As for me, I try to continually sweep around my own front door....

    Humbly

    SQ

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  25. As a PH Mason from S.Cal we dont have that problem so you know I think you shouldn't have problems sitting in Lodge W\a Brother. Because he happens be a Black Man or in my case a White man measn nothing. Maybe you should Demit to a Lodge that is like minded? The GL of Georgia is a RACES body period!

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  26. agreed SQ...
    it is all about race.
    obligation BS is a cop out.
    which our racist brothers have been hiding behind for decades
    Bro TC

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  27. I'm very glad that the Grand Lodge of Ohio recognizes the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Ohio. The immediate Past Grand Master of the PHGL was supposed to attend my Fellow Craft degree, and I was most disappointed to learn he could not make it.

    - Ben R.

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  28. Here is where the rubber meets the road.

    Have you sponsored Masonic legislation to have your Grand Lodge recognize the Prince Hall Lodges as regular? If so, how did it go? If not, why not?

    Many Grand Lodges have deadlines in December or earlier for the submission of such legislation. You may need to move quickly to submit something.

    The only way this is going to change is through submission of Masonic legislation. And, if necessary, resubmission. And, if necessary, resubmission. And, if necessary, resubmission. And, if necessary, resubmission. And, if necessary, resubmission. Until it passes, brethren.

    It was long ago said by a historian of science that "science advances with every obituary." Sometimes the same may be said of Masonic politics. Keep a pitching in.

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  29. Prior to becoming a Mason, I thought all Masons recognized each other, regardless of race, religion or social status. As a Prince Hall Mason raised in a southern jurisdiction and recently demited to the Ohio jurisdiction, I can say from my experiences, Prince Hall Masons are deeply proud to be Masons and are very protective of our history and future. We take pride in our ritualistic work, before a candidate can move forward or sit in a Lodge of Master Mason he must first show proficiency by committing each degree to complete. Additionally, Prince Hall Masons are well versed in the history, significance and importance of our charter issued by the Grand Lodge of England empowering it to work. My travels around the world has shown me that on every continent of every country - Prince Hall Masons are recognized as a legitimate Masons. Its only at home where there seems to be an issue. My Lodges (Va & Oh) Prince Hall Lodges memberships includes anyone who is WAWQ, black, white, hispanic, other, etc., Its disheartening to know that some personal predjudices - has expressed in this blog - can mar our great Fraternity. I've been blessed to meet many Masons who treated me like a Brother whether they are white, middle eastern, african, european etc., I've participated in "joint" raisings, visitations and other events. The MWPHGL of Ohio and Grand Lodge of Ohio have shared many ventures. I'm sure its been embraced and scorned (by both sides) as some on these post have alluded. My question to everyone - isn't so much would you sit in a Lodge of Master Masons with PHA, but rather if a Prince Hall Master Mason was in distress or need, would you assist him, if its within the length of your cable tow? We are taught to do so, and I would for you.

    P.S. Bro Coste thanks for the doughnuts, how was Florida?

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  30. To Bro. Geo:

    In Connecticut, I have been to several "George Washington" Lodges with African American, Asian, and Latino Brothers.

    To me, the amount of melanin in the skin or the presence of epicanthic folds is of no consequence. It is the character that counts.

    TM

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  31. It's easy for me to answer "attend," because here in Hicksville, Fly-Over, Red State, Kansas, we Nascar-Loving Redneck, predominently Christian, Masons recognized PHA in the 1990s. There have passed since then nearly 12 years of convivial, comradely good times, and I think both bodies realize that the reason PHA still exists here has everything to do with maintaining old traditions important to black culture, than to any dislike or mistrust between us. I have sat in PHA lodges, and have sat with PHA Bros in my lodge. They are just as bored as I am during the interminable Reading o' the Minutes, and just as engaged as I am when listening to fine ritual work. There are, as you are keenly aware, no differences between us.

    BUT - and this is a very big BUT - were that not the case, and were Kansas as backward on this issue as Georgia appears to be, I would be obliged to adhere to the vow I took. I think the UGLE rationale is a good one: attend, but withdraw if the occassion demands.

    Vows are not, IMHO, things that we may discard when the notion strikes us, throwing them off like an old coat when the no longer suit the season. They are the foundations of our order: important, living, commitments that bind us to the one another by hoops of steel. Would I agitate for change if Kansas were in Georgia? Certainly, and vociferously, too. But in good conscience, I could not simply blow off a solemn obligation. And yes, that means even one which I thought was misplaced.

    My only option if change would not be forthcoming would be to withdraw, and I suppose, if I felt lonely, bang on the door of the Eagle's lodge.

    I hope change in Georgia comes soon.

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  32. Well said wafaring man!

    Br. Arthur Peterson

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  33. If we can't discard obligations like clothes,
    why would the compasses, as a Great Light, be able to move in and out? Does that mean my passions may waver with the width of the compassesi fthey happen to move in and out?

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  34. the OB doesnt mention Black masons being clandestine; if it does, its been altered, so using the OB is a bad excuse...also, realize that all Black Masons are NOT Prince Hall Affiliated, which is the body that most MS GLs are recognizing. within Black Masonry, as someone earlier mentioned, expelled PHA members have started ACTUAL CLANDESTINE lodges and GLs; they are denominated by AF&AM as opposed to PHA which is F&AM (3 letter as we call it). funny thing is, many Black Masons mistakenly think they're in the MS GL if they are "4 letter" like most MS GLs; they dont realize that they are outside of the acceptance of both MS & PHA GLs, not due to race, but due to the way they were started by expelled members.

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  35. Why do southern masons hate Prince Halls so much?

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  36. As the The Prince Hall Brother stated in his post, they are proud of their heritage, excellence in ritual proficiency and Brotherhood which exists amongst the other bodies and which they have shown myself and my brothers who have intervisited many times.
    This Prince Hall Brother is a stand up man and contributor to society who will have my allegiance over southern obligitory racists!
    Any day, any time!

    PS my PHA Brother,. your welcome for the donuts and Florida is always enlightening for the soul!
    See you soon in Lodge!
    Bro Tom Coste
    Halcyon 498
    http://www.halcyontemple.org/

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  37. Bro. Will: No, the obligations don't specifically mention "the black lodges." It does mention "clandestine lodges." Immediately after taking the obligations I was told, "officially," that clandestine lodges meant "the black lodges."

    It's a classic bait-and-switch. Had the obligations used the phrase "black lodges," I may well have stood up then and walked out; I don't know. Had I known going in about the rampant racism in Georgia lodges of "brotherly love," I probably would have never joined.

    — W.S.

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  38. I agree absolutely with WS's comments above, which also reflect my experience. It took years for me to really understand the problem, which has its roots in the demographic makeup of the current membership. Old, blue-collar, white men in these states tend to have about race that I cannot support or condone and still satisfy my obligations to God and my fellow human beings. I didn't sign up for that and wouldn't have done so had I understood the reality at the time I joined. If that makes me a bad Mason, so be it.

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  39. Tubulcain

    I speak for myself from personal experience.

    In the south, many of us from the time we are infants are fed the bitter fruits of racism and bigotry right along with the Coke a Cola in our baby bottles!

    I was ONE out of SIX siblings that didn't fall in line to be a good little bigot!!!

    Oh but in turn, I have raised my children to respect all races and religions, and they do.

    From what I am learning about Masonry, it has a bases in good sound principles that teach you to be a better person.

    To effect change in the Southern Jurisdictions I would say it is going to take brave souls willing to stand up to their WM, GM or any other master it takes to say "This is wrong, it goes against basic principles of human decency!".

    This is a very passonate issue for me that reaches far outside the scope on Masonry. But for any orgainzation that has it's base in these higher principles of honnor and integerity, surely change can happen.

    Tom Coste said, "it has nothing to do with obligations...". He is right, it has to do with what is right and good in this world!

    SQ

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  40. In response to the "Yankee" Friday, October 12, 2007 12:11:00 PM...

    I am a Prince Hall Mason and yes, there is ONLY 1 true Prince Hall that was issued a charter by England in 1784 granting African Lodge #459 in Boston legal constitution to form our first Grand Lodge under the name of our Founder - Prince Hall.

    I respectfully challenge the "respect" you have for what you call local culture by not holding Masonic Intercourse with your Prince Hall bretheren. Does that mean you will inquire as to whether or not all due signs and summons (grand hailing and such) are coming from what is to be a Mason from your recognized grand lodge before aiding and assisting the one so giving? I find that to be rather funny as the one giving such may be from an AF&AM, MF&AM, AAYRM or any other Accepted Mason not of your origination. Secondly, if your Lodge, Grand Lodge, Local Municipality, State or Country determined that you aren't to affiliate with people of color, would you also respect that as well?

    My Brother, as an EA, you were given Working Tools that you obviously have not learned to use and it is unfortunate to see that your Ashlar is still and will continue to be extremely rough. The original blogger of this post is truly a Brother and I proud to regard him as such!

    So Mote It Be...

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  41. Tom Accuosti said,

    "For example, in Conn there is only one Prince Hall GL. However, some states seem to have two or more. PHA, which seems to be the one recognized by more of the mainstream GLs; and PHO, which claims to be the legitimate PH in several states. Furthermore, some states have other orders that have split off from the original PH GLs, making recognition a bit messy."

    This is simply not true. Prince Hall Masons and the Phylaxis Society would have a heart attack if they knew that someone was equating them with PHO, Compact or John G. Jones lineage groups. Prince Hall Affiliated is the only regular and recognized jurisdiction of Prince Hall Masons anywhere...from Germany and Korea (military lodges) to NJ and California and back.

    http://phylaxis.org/bogusmasonry/

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  42. The Mason and Racism

    My Question is when these so called brothers go visiting other countries, what happen when the see African American ,Hispanic or other race?
    America was built on the blood of each and everyone of us(Our fathers,Mothers,Sisters,Sons) we should all stand together as one, being a Mason is One thing the question is are they close to God and treat everyone as Brothers? If your answer is Yes, really it is not, You CANNOT be a Mason if you see race, as your neighbor my be of other race, how are you keeping your oath of office if you cannot abide be the laws of our fathers?
    Bottom line I am from England I now reside in Florida, I have seen it done but still I regard them as my brother even though they make me sick, I respect their view but dislike the fact that UGLE is allowing this mess to go on for this long, I believe we all need to petition UGLE on this matter and if possible ask for Grand Lodges to be closed on grands of being a racist lodge.
    They regard PHA and other Lodges as Clandestine, how will they feel if the table is turned around?


    Michael O
    PHO F&AM

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  43. Fortunately, it has been the decision of the last several Grand Masters of my Jurisdiction to follow this advice:

    "When in Rome, do as the Romans."

    Pratically: I hail from GL A, recognizing GL B, but not GL C. If GL B recognizes GL A and GL C and I visit GL B, for the duration that I find myself within their Jurisdiction, and therefore subject to their Law, I am in no fault in Masonically interacting with a member of GL C.

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  44. Prince hall masonry is clandestined now and forever. ya'll are not brethren

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  45. Widow's Son

    You've started a chain of events that will ultimately lead to the truth. I believe it's all about what's in your heart and what you hold dear. WHAT MATTERS MOST TO YOU? Your word to GOD or your getting along with your "brothers" who have chosen to remain in darkness because they think the brightness of their skin and their eyes is what causes them to shine. I've been plenty of places where a "white" brother has made me feel more comfortable and appreciative and honored to be a MASON when my "black" brothers could care less enough to give me the time of day. They've even shook my hand and embraced me in public and didn't act as if my color was going to rub off on them. I personally think it is a DAMN shame that "travellers" hide behind words because they're afraid to stand up for what is right. Our obligations also state that we shouldn't be innovative either but yet in still we have websites and blogs like this and fancy ways of signing potential members up and grand webmasters and the like that have brought us into the new century. Why is it that we can't move on and move forward toward the common good of what we all have obligated ourselves to do? AND THAT'S SPREAD THE CEMENT OF BROTHERLY LOVE WORKING TO BUILD THE FOUNDATION THE LEADS US TO THE TEMPLE THAT WAS NOT BUILT WITH HUMAN HANDS!

    PS. In my jurisdiction F&AM are PRINCE HALL MASONS (State of Illinois)and we've never turned away any brother who visits from any regular lodge.
    Travel Light!

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  46. I am a Prince Hall Mason in Southern California. We have a great relationship with our Brothers from the CA. MS lodges. Seriously, what is the issue down south??

    To my knowledge, all of the current leading Masonic scholars, researchers and historians have said that Prince Hall Masonry is regular Masonry. If it’s regular, it should be recognized!

    Remember, we’re just talking about recognition here. Mutual acknowledgement that we are both true and lawful Brother Masons. That’s it! Some of these out dated and ignorant (forgive my bluntness bro’s) attitudes about Masonry is the very cancer that’s killing the craft!

    We as brothers should not remain at a perpetual distance. In fact, the Brother (PH or MS) who denies himself fraternal fellowship with any TRUE Brother does himself a disservice, and misses out on much of the W, S, & B that our brotherhood has to offer. Like our operative brothers of old, we are supposed to be builders.

    So it’s about time that we as men and masons begin to build together.

    Until that time,

    OTS

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  47. Wow! I'm am blown away by alot of these comments. I was just raised June 07 and still to this day feel like joining the mason's was one of the greatest things ever. After reading some comments I'm just baffled.I live in Virgina now but was born and raised in Georgia.It just seems like to me the rituals meant nothing to alot of the bretherns.I had to deal with racism all my life and just to hear it in masonry,WOW!Oh,by the way I am a Prince Hall mason and I hang out with a REGULAR Mason all the time.He was explaining to me the acceptance but commented how stupid it was.He also has admitted to never have attended a Prince Hall lodge.It's 2007!When will we grow up and just live life.I'm proud to be a mason whether some or all of you ACCEPT me,and if I was traveling and one of my brethens needed help,I'm there!No hesitation!

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  48. Prince hall masonry is a fraternity of it's own. They are not the same as the mainstream lodges.

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  49. Prince hall masonry is a fraternity of it's own. They are not the same as the mainstream lodges.

    Prince Hall is "mainstream" up in Connecticut.

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  50. Anonymous said-
    “Prince hall masonry is a fraternity of its own. They are not the same as the mainstream”.

    Hey Anonymous,
    The United Grand Lodge of England says otherwise. C’mon Brother, you don’t get off that easy. You have to be able to defend your position.

    Have you done the research? Have you spoke with any Prince Hall Brothers? Have you spoke with any MS Brothers who sit in lodge with Prince Hall Brothers. Please explain yourself.

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  51. Anonymous said-
    “Prince hall masonry is a fraternity of its own. They are not the same as the mainstream”.

    Hey Anonymous,
    The United Grand Lodge of England says otherwise. C’mon Brother, you don’t get off that easy. You have to be able to defend your position.

    Have you done the research? Have you spoke with any Prince Hall Brothers? Have you spoke with any MS Brothers who sit in lodge with Prince Hall Brothers. Please explain yourself.

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  52. Anonymous says:

    "Have you done the research?"


    When talking about the legitimacy of Prince Hall Masonry, the real question is whether or not any Grand Lodge has a right to charter subordinate Lodges in the jurisdiction of other Grand Lodges. If the answer is no, then Prince Hall Masonry didn't start out being legitimate, and all PHA Lodges are ultimately the fruit of the poisoned tree.

    A Prince Hall Mason above mentioned that Prince Hall was granted a charter in 1784 by the Grand Lodge of England to open a Lodge in Boston. The Grand Lodge of England didn't have any authority at that time to charter Lodges in Boston, or anywhere else in the United States. The only reason they did it was to piss off the Americans, because British Lodges of the time didn't accept blacks either.

    If Grand Lodges can grant legal charters in the territory of other Grand Lodges, then the way to cure racism in Southern Lodges is real easy. Grand Lodges that do recognize Prince Hall can grant charters for new lodges in states that don't, and people who prefer integrated lodges will be free to attend the lodge of their choice.

    The key issue is whether or not any Grand Lodge has authority to charter subordinate Lodges in the territory of other Grand Lodges. If so, then issue of recognizing PHA can be fixed by chartering new lodges, but if not, then Prince Hall Masonry was never legitimate in the first place, and it is an error to consider it legitimate today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You stated "The only reason they did it was to piss off the Americans, because British Lodges of the time didn't accept blacks either". Maybe you have never heard of John Pine. If John Pine (born 1690, died 1756) was not the first Negro made a mason in England he was not far behind. He was a member of the lodge at Globe Tavern, Morgate in 1725 where his name was spelled ‘Pyne’. He was an engraver and a close friend of the painter Hogarth. He became famous in his day by being the engraver who produced the beautiful frontis-piece to Dr. James Anderson’s Constitutions of 1723. The same engraving was used again in the 1738 edition of Anderson’s Constitutions.

      Delete
    2. and if you dare say that the GLE had no authority to grant legal charters in the territory of other GL's then there are many MSGL that are just as clandestine, b/c Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22, then called Alexandria Lodge and located in Virginia, was chartered in 1783 by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, although the Grand Lodge of Virginia had been founded in 1777, six years earlier, had a Grand Master and other officers in place, and was operating in a peaceful country from 1783 through 1788, and met in November 1784, October 1785, October 1786, and October 1787, all during the time when Alexandria Lodge continued to be chartered by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, and neither the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania nor the Grand Lodge of Virginia, nor Alexandria Lodge, saw anything amiss or tried to change the Grand Lodge affiliation of Alexandria Lodge. lodge in Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, that was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Kansas refused to join the Grand Lodge of Indian Territory and apparently was permitted to remain with the Grand Lodge of Kansas in violation of the doctrine of exclusive territorial jurisdiction. The Grand Lodge of Minnesota chartered two lodges in Dakota Territory, one before and one after the formation of the Grand Lodge there in 1875. The Grand Lodge of Illinois refused for some time to take jurisdiction over three lodges in its territory that had been chartered by Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Tennessee, and the Grand Lodge of Illinois allowed the Grand Lodge of Missouri to revoke the charter of a lodge located in Illinois. The Grand Lodge of Wisconsin issued a dispensation for a lodge in Illinois, claiming the right to do so because Illinois had not stopped the Grand Lodge of Missouri from doing the same thing in Illinois. The Grand Lodge of Missouri chartered lodges in Illinois, and also kept two lodges in New Mexico on its rolls even after it recognized the Grand Lodge of New Mexico in 1877. I could go on and on.

      Delete
  53. It doesn't matter what the UGLE says. The UGLE may be the first mother lodge of masonry, but it is not the direct mother of all. Just because they say that Prince Hall masonry is regular doesn't necessarily mean that it is.

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  54. Anonymous says:

    "Have you done the research?"

    Indeed I have Brother,

    And unfortunately it appears that your opinion is based on out dated material.
    Brother, I am not trying to change your mind. I just want to share some light. You have your reasons for not wanting them to recognize Prince Hall. However as you will see, none of them are legitimate Masonic reasons.

    To your first Paragraph:

    This is called the "Doctrine of Exclusive Territorial Jurisdiction," but it does not prevent Grand Lodges from recognizing the Prince Hall Grand Lodge. There can be, and often are, two or more regular and recognized Grand Lodges in the same State or country. Experts on the subject of Masonic recognitions are unanimous in saying that the "doctrine of exclusive territorial jurisdiction" is not, and never has been, violated when Grand Lodges operating in the same State or country mutually agree to recognize each other, as has now happened in most of the States of our country with Prince Hall recognitions. The Methodical Digest says that the Grand Lodge of Virginia already shares concurrent jurisdiction with other Grand Lodges, and COULD add the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Virginia to that list.
    – Paul Bessel: Fellow of the Scottish Rite Research Society, and Philalethes Society. Past District Deputy Grand Master for research lodges in Virginia.


    To your second paragraph:

    The UGLE had every right to issue a charter to African lodge 459, as it had done the same for many other lodges in the Colonies and United States. The notion that this was done as a slight to piss off the Americans, and not done by Men and Masons who actually believed and practiced the tenants of Masonry, is not only disrespectful to the memory of those Brothers, but in a fraternity that seeks the truth; this is an ugly lie.
    To Quote Alton Roundtree, 33rd Degree Mason, Vice president of KLR Publishing and editor of the world wide Masonic magazine “The Masonic Globe”, and co author of “Out Of The Shadows” The Emergence of Prince Hall Freemasonry in America: “Interestingly, racial intolerance is a North American phenomenon. European lodges (especially England, France, and Spain) have a long tradition of being racially amicable and open






    To your Third paragraph:

    According to MS Grand Lodges (those that recognize Prince Hall Freemasonry) and Prince Hall Grand Lodges, the only legitimate Grand Lodges in North America are those that can trace their heritage going back to the United Grand Lodge of England or Grand Lodge of Scotland. This limits the field to Prince Hall Grand Lodges and MS Grand Lodges.

    One of the Issues that has swirled around Prince Hall and African Lodge is “regularity” this is a very technical concept in Freemasonry, but one that goes to the heart of just who is and isn’t a Mason. It is sad to say, but most of the past questions about the regularity of Prince Hall and his descendents have been motivated by racism. However, the history of the African lodge is unprecedented and there were legitimate questions that needed to be answered about exactly what happened, and now the question of regularity has been properly settled.

    -Dr S. Brent Morris: Managing Editor of the Scottish Rite Journal



    To your Fourth paragraph:

    Exclusive Jurisdiction has been the major objection and the one that some Grand Lodges still stand on. Exclusive Jurisdiction is an American invention that was violated when the Grand Lodge of Alaska was formed in 1981 and several subordinate Lodges chose to remain within the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Washington. Also in reverse, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts has ‘invaded’ other jurisdictions with Lodges in Panama, Chile, China, and Japan. The Grand Lodge of New York has several Lodges in Lebanon. The American Doctrine of Grand Lodge jurisdiction has grown up since then (meaning the establishment of African Lodge), and is not elsewhere fully received. The concept of there being only one Grand Lodge permitted in any geographical area is so much an American one, not accepted by Masons any where else, that it is called the “American Doctrine.” But even here, it has been ignored.


    Brother, hopefully you will keep seeking the Light. Also, make no mistake about it, you may not recognize me, but if you’re in a tight spot and I recognize you…you have a friend.

    Peace Brother,

    Prince Hall Mason, from the state of CA.

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  55. Most of thse comments that you wrote back to me on I never said to begin with. What you have read from me is not outdated material. Your work is not the same as mine.Thanks for sharing your opinions

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  56. Those are not MY opinions Brother. Those are documented facts and truths as told by some of the most worthy and well qualified Brothers our world wide fraternity has to offer.

    As far as the work is concerned, it’s the “same” Brother. In California, Prince Hall Brothers and Mainstream Brothers routinely work in one another’s lodges with no problems. Including ritual work and conferring of degrees.

    Like I said in another post, I have met Brothers from around the world; they have greeted and received me (as I have them, in like manner) as nothing less than a true and lawful Brother. I have maintained fraternal relations with Brothers (prince hall & mainstream) around the world via email, and only here at home (in some of the southern states) is there an issue. If it weren’t so laughable, it would be a crying shame.

    I hear some of the Prince Hall Brothers down south don’t want recognition either??
    If that’s true, both sides down there could stand to grow up. Its time to come on in and join the new millennium.

    If you care to respond I’ll give you the last word. If not, may the GAOTU be with you in your travels.

    OTS
    Prince Hall Mason in Southern CA.

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  57. You can say what you want to.I do know that the work is different. I will continue to travel and always be proud to be a Freemason.

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  58. Yes I would! If they would allow me too. It's a two edge sword sorry to say. If you don't know this then you don't know racism. Ev Sayre P.M. and a true mason, who lives as such in and out of lodges.

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  59. Yes and have done so 3 times at MM degrees --I was never more welcomed in my life...

    I love the Prince Hall Brothers as family.

    Bro. Howard
    Halcyon Lodge

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  60. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  61. I'm glad you asked as I've recently experienced some of my own 'home grown' heartache dealing with this very issue.

    When I was initated an Entered Apprentice in April of this year, I had high hopes of experiencing the joys and international brotherhood of this ancient Fraternity, and so at first, I didn't inform my two supervisors, both of whom I knew to be PHA Masons, of my actions, and when they found out they expressed interest in attending my passing and raising in the proceeding months, and I informed them that I would ask our lodge secretary and have this brought to the attention of my Worshipful Master, and I did, and this is where the heartache began.

    I informed my Lodge secretary of my brethren's desire to attend the remainder of my ritual work on the path to becoming a Master Mason, and he informed our WM, who put it to a vote in open lodge at the May stated meeting, and their request to attend lodge and participate in my degrees was rejected, being black balled by two racist in my home lodge, and I was highly offended and shed many tears of this event as I am not a racist and hate racism in the fullest, so much so that I almost stopped in my progression and quit Masonry, but after many tears and much heartache, and many conversations with my PHA Masonic brethren who encouraged me to continue on the path to becoming a Master Mason, because as they said in their own words, "If good men like you don't continue on and get into positions of authority whereby you can change the current policy of racial segregation, then such racism will never be done away with" I decided to continue on, and as such, I owe my being a Master Mason today to two Prince Hall brethren who refused to let me 'give up' when I wanted too because they accepted me as a Brother and continued to encourage me along the way.

    Although the Grand Lodge of Virginia recognizes the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Virginia, it is not mandatory that subordinate lodges allow PHA Masons, or any Mason for that matter, to visit and participate in their rites and ritual, and because of the lack of such a mandate, racial segregation continues in certain parts of Virginia, and in other parts near Washington DC, such segregation does not exist, it depends on the local lodge whether or not they recognize PHA brethren, although they are allowed to do so if they wish as our GL does offer them this recognition.

    So, what I've done, is I've affliated with a lodge in another Grand jurisdiction where such racial segregation does not exist, and I plan on demitting from my Virginia lodge in the near future, and making this other lodge in another grand jurisdiction my home lodge for life, and purchasing a lifetime membership in it in the process.

    So, were I a Mason from Georgia, I would affliate with a lodge under a grand jurisdiction that didn't segregate and then I would demit from my Georgia lodge, and thus free myself of their racist policies and free myself from being under their grand jurisdiction for good.

    That being said, let us continue to pray that one day PHA recognition will be extended to all brethren worldwide, as our European brethren do not have this problem of racial segregation as we do here in the States, and such is a black spot on the otherwise white wool of our great Fraternity. May it be removed, and removed soon, in the Name of the Great Architect of the Universe, we pray, so mote it be! Amen.

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  62. I am white and have been a Prince Hall Mason since 1977. I am currently the Worshipful Master of Giblem Lodge # 2, Wilmington, North Carolina and a Grand Lodge Officer of the MWPHGLNC. My reason for becoming a Prince Hall Mason has to do with a verse that appears three times in the Bible, "God is no respecter of persons." You can not be an almost Christian or an almost Mason. Your are what you claim to be or your aren't. The very fact that there is any discussion, whatsoever about recognizing one another as Brothers means that both organizations are not what they claim to be. When we get to heaven do you think there are going to be seperate places for blacks, whites, orientals, hispanics, etc? Don't be rediculious! Our time on earth is meant to be practice for our time in heaven. Are you a TRUE brother?

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  63. Conscience or Creed? Conscience being my innermost being, I could not betray myself. Creeds, a group of words arranged by men at their convenience, for their convenience, will change. My conscience is that soft whisper I hear in my Self from Deity which I must follow.

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  64. i am a african american AFAM mason and i'd just like to say for one not every african american mason is prince hall and not every prince hall mason is african american. So my question to my brothers in GA is now would you still have a problem with a african american AFAM mason sitting in lodge or better yet your lodge

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  65. Bro. MM08,

    I can honestly (and ashamedly) say that in Georgia the chances of a black Mason, no matter what his home lodge, being allowed to sit in an F&AM "mainstream" lodge would be pretty low. Someone -- not everyone, but someone -- would object.

    I'd love to be proven wrong. Bring your current dues card and come on down, and let's give it a try.

    — W.S.

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  66. This is in reference to the comments of Feb. 24th and 25th. To me, these comments face the REAL issue. I'm also a member of the GL of GA and to me it doesn't matter if there's one type of lodge versus another - Prince Hall, Mainstream (white), whatever... I know there will always be one lodge that says that another is clandestine. Big whooptydoo deal! Recognition schmecognition - blah blah blah.

    Maybe recognition is a step in the right direction, but what bothers me, as a young white mason, is that if I wanted to sign a petition for a friend of mine who is a fine upstanding man who happens to be black, that his petition will MOST CERTAINLY never make it to the second reading once the wrong people find out he's black. Not only will he be prevented from becoming a member of my lodge, but I will most certainly be placing my own head on the chopping block for elimination from the rolls one way or another.

    THIS is what I'm bothered with. It is out-and-out blatant racism and it is despicable. I don't know about everyone else, but things have got to change for me, brothers. I sought the fraternity for TRUE, REAL & COMPLETE brotherly love - not fake or partial brotherly love - not for brotherly love just to some types of people and not to others - not brotherly love just for white people. I tell you what - this is one slow turning ship! We have GOT TO get this together soon otherwise young masons like me aren't going to stick with it.

    Comments?

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  67. I don't know, but I don't think in CT anyone would dare blackball someone because they are black. It would, be better however, for an African American brother to comment.

    At my first Scottish Rite Degree it was mainly Hatian and Jewish Brothers doing the degree or being raised and it was one of the most wonderfull events in my life.

    I would hope that this could happen everywhere in this land but suspect that there are still places where "white folk don't dance with the negro".

    Thats sad. It makes these flawed Masons but even worse, flawed people.

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  68. To answer the question, not only would I, but I have. I did so a week or so ago as I visited the local PH Lodge. In fact, the DDGM of one of my Districts is a PJGW of a Prince Hall jurisidiction.

    Locally, no one thinks of Prince Hall any differently than they do any other jurisidiction we recognise, other than the fact they have a Lodge in our city (other jurisdictions don't).

    http://justamason.blogspot.com

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  69. Two mainstream Lodge's in Alliance, Ohio would not even sign a black man's petition to even give him a chance at a black ball!

    How about them apples!


    No need to worry about first readings, second readings or black balls, in Alliance Ohio they just won't sign your petition!

    AHHH brotherly love

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  70. Actually, that good news! :-)

    Halcyon is always looking for another good brother.

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  71. Wow! So Alliance, Ohio sounds just as bad as the lodges in Georgia. I didn't think it would be like that in Ohio - that far north. Brotherly love indeed - or the lack thereof actually. There is ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT that this is all about race and not about obligations.

    One of the main reasons I joined freemasonry was because of what I read in books about universal love - about a fraternity that recognizes and accepts men from all religions and races - about free-thinking and open-mindedness. It just seems like someone has taken these great ideals and twisted them all up into something a lot less appealing.

    I remember studying for my Master's catechism and the instructor telling me that there was no way a black petitioner would become a member of our lodge. I was so disappointed in what I had heard - felt like the wind had been taken from my sails. I went home and told my wife that I was going to quit going to lodge - that I didn't want to be a mason anymore. She told me that the only way things would change was if people like me tried to change them. She said that I couldn't change things from outside the fraternity. After a couple of days of thinking, I decided she was right, but its definitely something I still have trouble dealing with.

    I can definitely tell you though - in Georgia this isn't going to change for quite a while. The old guard down here just isn't open to much change at all.

    As one brother mentioned, many PH GLs don't want to be recognized. The recognition isn't the real issue though. I think the question asked in the title of this post should be to WHITE masons and changed to read...

    "Would you site in lodge with a BLACK MASON?"

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  72. She told me that the only way things would change was if people like me tried to change them. She said that I couldn't change things from outside the fraternity.

    Smart woman, your wife.

    Remember, you are charged to lead "by precept and example;" and while it may take some time for others to follow your example, if you can inspire just one or two others, perhaps they'll inspire a few more...

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  73. As an African American Mason, I have been the victim of Masonic Racism (AND NO, I'M NOT A PH MASON!) I was openly accepted and raised in an AF&AM lodge in Maine (Polar Star #114)in 1997. Since then I have traveled the world, visiting lodges in Hong Kong, Autrallia, England and Italy. I did not have a problem with any Brother that I met along these travels, including being treated to the best hospitality in the world by my austrailian brothers.

    My contact with Masonic racism occured while I was stationed in Tampa Florida. I had become a little inactive since relocating there and wanted to at leaset find a lodge where I could visit on a regular basis. I found one minutes away from Macdill AFB and stopped by to meet with the secretary. When I told him my wishes, he immediatley informed me that "We don't associate with PH masons" When I informed hime that I wasn't a PH mason and that I was a "Regular" mason he looked dumb founded and flat out told me that his lodge "was not ready for a black mason" I left humiliated and hurt. I went back to work feeling like crap. So I called my grand lodge in Portland, left a message with the grand secretary. I emailed him also to what occured and he responded to me and too swift action to correct the problem. I received various calls from the district leader and different lodges to attend their lodge. Although I accepted their apologies, I never took the offers of visitation as I contemplated joining Prince Hall. I never demiited from my lodge or renounced Masonry. I am still a member in good standing with my lodge and an active masonic member albeit in another state. (CT) In closing, I will say that the actions of a few don't represent the actions and minds of all.

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  75. Answering the question directly...yes I would sit in Lodge with a PH Mason. This question only applies to two groups of people 1)Racists and 2)Those jurisdictions where PH masonry is not recognized. I beleive Brothers that are members of jurisdictions where PH is not recognized, they should not be visiting lodges where PH is recognized...I remember seeing discussions on this subject a few years ago. Jusrisdictions that still practice this form of segregation only fuel the fires of our detractors.

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  76. After reading some of the comments and just putting some things together...If your organization doesn't recognize another organization(PH) for some legitimate reason then that's the rules you should follow...But if the reason is that your organization has a problem with a particular color of any kind of another orgainzation then how could they call themselves brothers. We should accept all men. Now I am speaking on the fact if a lodge is chartered and legit. I understand if a lodge is clandestine whether who they say they may be or represent, then they shouldn't be recognized.

    It's the lodges that are inferior to others who has the problem of accepting other lodges that associate with other brother because of their skin color.

    They may have seen the light but it's not shining in their heart. Only light can drive out darkness and until they open their eyes and see men as they are, blindess will always be in the mist of us all.

    It's a shame that color still play a part in the most Ancient and Honorable Fraternity.

    And this is my answer...I will sit in a lodge with a Scottish Rite Mason....

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  77. My dear Brother,

    I am truly appauld!!! It saddens me to see how after all these years ignorance is still blissful. My thoughts are as follow:

    As a Mason, we were all taught to travel to the east in search of something, but how can we find that in which we are in search of if we are still blinded (in the dark)?
    Furthermore, how can one call himself a man, if he denounces huMANity because of racial differences. To me, humanity means encountering more than just one race. To be a Mason, you have to be a Man, of lawful age & well recommended. You have to believe in the Supreme Being (GOD) and willing to spread brotherly love. GOD does not recognize race, but gives love abundantly. In which, we are suppose to mirror those actions. To be outside of that is unethical, uncivilized, irreligious and just flat out prejudice and racist. Which alludes to corruption and evil ways.
    To be a part of a jurisdiction and or a lodge who holds such demeanor is without understanding on my part. To have different thoughts and opinions is human, but to hold someone under because of skin color differences is inhuman. As a Prince Hall Mason & a Man who thrives on the ultimate beliefs (GOD, Family, Country, Work & Brotherly Love) I am proud that we choose to enjoy the likens of all races who interest themselves in our craft. I would quickly demit and find myself involved in a lodge that does not lean towards racial discrimination.

    Bottom line, I'd find myself fellowshiping with a brother of any jurisdiction whether AF&AM, F&AM, PH F&AM, International etc... As stated earlier, we all share some different views, but this does not mean we can't meet on the ground floor of K.S's. Temple and enjoy refreshments... Travel In The Light

    Bro. T. Covington
    Military Lodge P.H. Affiliated

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  78. Feb 2010 Clearwater
    Having trouble getting this to post:
    I applaud you for asking the hard questions. I am an avid Christian and Maine Mason. I dealt with this question in 1988 when PH asked to use our tiny military lodge in Rota Spain and we allowed them to use everthing we had, but could not meet together fraternally. I loved those guys, who wouldn't, and the experience changed me forever.
    My answer became this. Ruling bodies are not always right. Our country is based on that fact. It is ours to make a stand and this became mine. Someday I will meet Jesus face to face and he will know that I have alwasys taken black hands in mine, as my ancesters took Hiram's. I believe Jesus will say, "Well done, good and faithful servant.... after all, pleasing men was never one of His stong points either! Amen?
    W Brother Hank of WH

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  79. I think we should revisit the question.

    Asking "Would you sit in lodge with a Prince Hall Mason" is just like asking, "Would you sit in lodge with a "Comason" (i.e. a woman who is a member of one of the "Lodges" for women or that accepts women as members). Now I don't mean to open a different debate (about women as Masons) but I think we could ask the question in a better way to come to a more usable answer.

    Why not ask "Would you sit in lodge with a man who is a different race than you?"

    I think most of us can answer that question quite easily and sincerely.

    When we ask, "Would you sit with a Prince Hall Mason?" we open the subject up to a lot of legal issues that are very often unfairly labeled as "racist."

    I understand most Grand Lodges consider themselves to be the sole authority over Masonry in their geographic region such as a state. By recognizing another GL in their region (whether it be populated by black men, yellow men, or green men), wouldn't they be surrendering their Masonic Sovereignty?

    And how can they consider another lodge or GL to be "regular" if it exists in their region, presumably under their authority, if it does not comply with their ritual?

    Take a hypothetical example of the state of "Franklin" where the GL is, according to its own constitution, the supreme Masonic authority in Franklin. If it recognizes another GL inside of Franklin, what's to stop three lodges in Franklin from forming their own Grand Lodge when they don't agree with the actions of the GL of Franklin?

    For that matter, what's then to stop (now that the precedent has been set) for brothers in Franklin to form new lodges under dispensation from, say, the GL of "Jefferson"??? Couldn't that eventually lead to the creation of another GL and the accordant disharmoney?

    Years ago, my Grand Lodge had this up for debate and a former MWGM attempted to bring up this point and was shouted down with calls of "Racist!"

    What if some Extra Terrestrials began settling in your state and began practicing the craft according to their customs (as Freemasonry undoubtedly exists on other planets! ;-)) and eventually formed their own "ETGL." Would we recognize them as well? Would we do it automatically or would we do it according to our Constitution, adhering to the Ancient Landmarks? Would we allow another GL in our region or would we invite them (after deeming them worthy) to join the extant GL?

    While all worthy brothers are "upon (the same) level," are we not required to "deem" them worthy? Do not all require a "strict trial," etc.?

    We should not treat any group seeking recognition any differently than any other group seeking recognition.

    Isn't recognizing one GL simply BECAUSE its members are black just as racist as refusing to sit with a black brother?

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    1. Brother you have some very good points. We have the same problems just in Black lodges. The in fighting within PHO & PHA. PHO is Prince Hall Origin the first black group of Masons of color in he USA and PHA Prince Hall Affiliation. PHA will tell you that they were first and that we PHO are a brake off of them. If you check some of the State history web sites for the PHA lodges you will find that they call about their history and how they broke away for the National Compact (PHO) and started PHA (state) Lodges. I started out as PHA and my job as a Mason is to find more light and I did find that light. PHO masonry has it history it's roots from Prince Hall one to the first masons of color in the USA. We work under a warrant which was issued from England and we still have that warrant. The PHA lodges only work off of a charter which they made for themselves when they broke off from the Compact. This could go on for every and every. We as masons should all just get alone. Try me if you like and I will prove to you that I am a mason. That's how we are to tell a real mason from a not real mason. Knowledge is king and the best friend we all should have. So mote it be.

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  80. Though its been a while since this was posted, I will say that I am white. I'm not even a Mason yet. Suffice it to say that I have put in a petition to an entirely different masonic order recognized by the Grand Orient of France as a result of seeing this kind of stuff, and seeing the heavy-handedness that occurs in "mainstream" Masonry. I'm not only appalled by what many in mainstream Masonry have done to Prince Hall Masons. But also, what you have all done to those whom you consider "irregular" that have the same historic ties to the craft that you do, who are through and through as Masonic as you. I will be proud to be a Mason of another flavor. And will never be able to sit in lodge with ANY of you, until your Grand Lodges, including the UGLE get their act together. It was because of this nonsense to begin with that the grand schism took place to begin with. All of your Grand Lodges are unmasonic for excluding anyone on any basis, including a belief in the Grand Architect.

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  82. Kokobim, we will be always pleased to exclude those whom make such demands upon our free will to exercise our Liberty of Conscience as we see fit. Your opinion that our Grand Lodges are 'unmasonic' is your opinion, and you are welcome to hold it. I support your right to hold it. I hope your travels are as rewarding for you as mine are for me. I'm not worried about 'acts' as you seem to be, as I am not performing a stage play. I'm living a life and striving to assist others in their own when possible. I'd offer you an apology, yet my Conscience is clean and within its Liberties. Even were that not so, it is not a matter of your concern. Travel well.

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  84. As for sitting in a lodge with a Prince Hall Mason, I would be more than pleased to do so. It's likely I have done so, yet I did not specifically ask those brothers of his affiliation. It was good enough to sit in lodge and Grand Lodge with brothers who happened to be of African heritage. I did so as of last weekend, in fact. I'm pretty certain the brother belonged to a U.G.L.E. lodge.

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  85. I am a PHA Mason in Michigan, Unity Lodge #28 MWPHGLMI, and from my experience here I can say your statement about the financial are incorrect.. As of right now it costs less than half of what you stated to join our Lodge and our monthly dues were raised a few years ago from $15 per month to $20.. I have never heard of a PHA Lodge charging $1000 to join.. At least not in Michigan nor the other states which I have traveled

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