Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Black man installed as Master of traditionally white N.C. lodge

I join Bro. Hodapp (who scooped me on this story) in congratulating W. Bro. Joseph Adegboyega on his installation on January 5 as Worshipful Master of Piedmont-Pioneer Lodge No. 685, AF&AM, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Bro. Adegboyega is the first black man to be admitted to a "mainstream," traditionally white Masonic lodge working under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina, and the only black man to become Master of a traditionally white lodge.

Dr. (he holds a Ph.D. in psychology, and teaches anger and stress management techniques) Bro. Adegboyega is originally from Nigeria, and is a life member of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Canada. When he moved from Canada, where he was raised in 1997, to North Carolina, he was steered towards a Prince Hall lodge after inquiring at local "mainstream" lodges.

He felt that as an AF&AM Mason he wanted to remain with AF&AM Masons in the U.S., and not join a predominantly black Prince Hall lodge. In 2001 he was accepted as a member in Winston-Salem. He progressed "through the chairs," and was installed as the lodge's Worshipful Master earlier this month.

In November, 2003 Bro. Adegboyega published a paper discussing his personal thoughts about the Grand Lodge of North Carolina's failure to enact a resolution to recognize Prince Hall Masonry. The Grand Lodge of North Carolina has continued to refuse to pass a resolution recognizing Prince Hall Masonry in the ensuing years.

His essay closed with:
Every True Mason, who is aware of the need to preserve this organization for future generations, must endeavor to ensure that, North Carolina AF & AM Fraternity is not perceived as a racist organization; by both current or active and prospective members. People within and without are watching our actions and inactions! We need more hands on deck in our charitable efforts to this world and in order to move this world forward in peace and harmony. To wear Masonic jewelry or to occupy an official Masonic position are not indicative of True Masonry. The mind-set and the moral behavior of a member are the necessary ingredients of True Masonry. Any group of men can call themselves Masons without necessarily acting as True Masons. True Masons must be the Light in the darkness for others to follow. Such were the past American Leaders who created this nation to become the envy of the world!
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56 comments:

  1. This is excellent. I extend my sincere congratulations to the worthy brother in his chair as Master of his lodge. I wish all involved the best future possible. I believe that left to their own freedom of conscience, the brethren will make the right choice. This is one exemplary example among thousands.

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  2. I too send my congratulation to the new WM!

    Excellent news indeed.

    Cory

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  3. Fantastic, we can give ourselves a good hardy pat on the back for advancing the cause of all men regardless of race or creed. We were only 40 years late!

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  5. Many of us are not even 40 years old. No way we could have changed it 40 years ago. How are we ever going to change anything if every time we do we're criticized for not being timely enough? What were you doing about it 40 years ago, Dogood?

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  6. We pride ourselves as Freemasons for being the brightest, most moral, and most forward-thinking men in society. Yet, somewhere between the American Revolution (where we were on the cutting edge of society) and today we lost that distinction. Our lodges harbor stereotypes, group think, and ignorant traditions with great reverence. Yet,we hate to look in the mirror.

    There was once a Virginia Slims ad which featured two women, one before suffrage and one in the modern era, with the tag line "You've come a long way baby!" I am not convinced that this motto is what we should apply to this story.

    Shouldn't we be ashamed that we are just now turning the corner? While society has viewed black men as equals for years and elected and appointed them to very important positions, we are just getting around to it. I am not going to be ashamed of my stance, we shouldn't be proud of this article. It should show us how much more week we must accomplish to catch up with society.

    Only then will Masonry regain its former grandeur.

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  7. These things take time to change. I am not ashamed of the actions of those who came before me. Masonry is not in the business of catching up to society. We are in the business of improving ourselves. While I personally disagree with the issues that have kept Masonry in the south segregated, I am PROUD and will say so again that they have come around. Yes, I am PROUD that these brothers have broken out of a culture that took 200 years or more to build. These things are not easy to change, but I am PROUD that my brothers have done the right thing, although I am not surprised. We are too quick to judge the experience of others, and more easy to judge those we do not agree with. With their freedom of conscience, they have apparently come around. This is a VICTORY, not something to be ashamed of. We are not to forget the past. Nor should we wallow in it. It is the time to build the future while learning from the mistakes of the past. Again, congratulations to the brother!

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  8. Congrats-

    Now what do we do for the rest of us? Being from Alabama and open minded- I see that both sides of this issue are blocked by both GLs. How do we fix it? I no longer wear my Masonic Emblems because we are not whole. I am not a bigot and I accuse no one else of being one. I became a Mason to improve myself and my community.

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  9. Our state recognizes PH and has for some time. We have seen not only that things can change, but that things do change. Take heart and have patience. It will change as it has already.

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  10. *this event*

    He was not raised by a NC Lodge.
    So, had he not already come from a recognised body, and he walked off the street to petition that Lodge, he would have been turned away.

    So, it is by default that the Grand Lodge of North Carolina even let him in.

    So, we are still adhering to our principles of not intiating black men into our Fraternity.

    remember, it was by default he got in. GLoNC could not within their rules deny an already made MM in a regular system.

    SO lets not slap each other on the backs yet because the hicks of NC have a black master.
    It is by default and GLoNC is still pure in not rasing african americans.
    Thank You

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  11. Of course, being from a regular lodge in no way forced the 'hicks' from the NC lodge to accept him, be black or white. That they DID is progress in the right direction. I am PROUD that they did the right thing and made this one great leap for Masonry in the South. Thank you.

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  12. t. ron dunce wrote SO lets not slap each other on the backs yet because the hicks of NC have a black master. It is by default and GLoNC is still pure in not rasing african americans.

    Well, those "hicks" also voted at their Grand Lodge last year to overturn the 2/3 majority rule for recognition of a foreign Grand Lodge back to a simple majority vote, setting the stage for Prince Hall recognition next year. Those "hicks" are your brethren, and there are too many good Masons in North Carolina working very hard behind the scenes to make the changes that need to happen for you to casually smear them. They aren't wasting their time name calling and making pointless observations like yours that denigrate the importance Wbro. Adegboyega plays in North Carolina's Masonic history. They are actually building, not tearing down. To be honest with you, I find Piedmont-Pioneer Lodge's election of a black master to be far more momentous than simply voting to recognize Prince Hall Masons with no visitation rights, as many, many states have done.

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  13. Oh my yes...
    i see the confetti and streamers now!

    the Lodge did what they were SUPPOSED to do!

    Rewarding medocrity again! HUH?

    Lets see, a lodge let a Master Mason in good standing from a Regular, recognised Grand Lodge join their Lodge. That is what is SUPPOSED to be done..... so I am to be giddy over a Lodge doing what we all do?

    Now you say that they voted to change it BACK to majority after it was returned to 2/3rds, wow, again they are doing what they are SUPPOSED to do...so why the big hub bub for masons doing what they are supposed to do?


    The story would be that an african american MAN, petitioned a Lodge in NC, was accepted, recieved the three degrees in NC, and then progressed through the chairs.

    That is the masonic news story out of NC, not that masons in a state who refuses recognition of prince halls, has a black master because he was already made a mason elsewhere and had no choice...

    Sorry I view it differently from where I stand, I sit wth Prince Halls, I have raised an african american into my lodge, so as a masonic Lodge, they did what they are obligated to do.

    Sorry I see it differently....
    How many black men where at his installation?
    Why was this gentleman initially steerd towards PHA? Color of his skin? not because of his affiliation......
    come off it haodapp, no real new grounds ere broken by masons doing what masons are SUPPOSED to do.

    wow do you excite easily...

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  14. "Lets see, a lodge let a Master Mason in good standing from a Regular, recognised Grand Lodge join their Lodge. That is what is SUPPOSED to be done..... so I am to be giddy over a Lodge doing what we all do?"

    It's not a given. Just because a person petitions a lodge to transfer, he is voted upon by the brethren. It is the same as if he petitioned a lodge to join as an EA. Not only was his petition accepted, he also went through the chairs. There is NOTHING saying he need be allowed to go through the chairs, be appointed, or be voted ultimately to the WM position. If you find it unremarkable, that's up to you. This is a step forward for regular Masonry, and as the worthy Brother said on Hodapp's site, it is about time. If you want to minimize his accomplishment and the role his ''hick' brothers had to play to make it happen, that is up to you. Thank you.

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  15. t ron dunce wrote: I sit wth Prince Halls, I have raised an african american into my lodge,

    Well, it certainly sounds like you've done everything but march with King and face the dogs and hoses at Selma.

    So I guess that makes you a much better Mason than those North Carolina hicks ever could be by hiding anonymously behind a childish, un-Masonic screen name designed to deliberately insult a specific brother Mason (is that what you're SUPPOSED to do?). Instead, they are actually working to better the fraternity, and struggling to change minds and behavior within their lodges, one Mason at a time.

    But DO continue to tell us how much better you are at practicing Masonry, because no one else here has clearly ever sat in lodge with Prince Hall brethren, or initiated, passed and raised brethren of color in their lodges.

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  16. Congrats My Brothers!
    Sorry to see Dunce sees it as half empty instead of half full!

    One small step for mankind, one huge leap for NC Masonry!

    Kudos and keep the flame alive

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  17. Anagram Anonymous, this is progress in the right direction, I agree.

    Many of the comments on this subject have been made form people who are not from or apparently aquantied with the South and it's complicated social mores. As I have said before, it is very difficult to be an enlightened Southerner when your views come into direct conflict with these long standing social norms.

    Let's not diminish what has been accomplished in NC but view it for what it is, a step, just a step in the right direction.

    This is also a positive step for American Freemasonary as well, has the fact that Dr. Joseph Adegbouega is orginally from Nigeria been overlooked?

    Yes, there is so much more that needs to be done for the South to "catch up with society". There are many good people here working very hard towards that goal.

    It would seem that support, rather than ridicule, would be a more appropriate course of action

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  18. It seems that if the nay sayers supported something like this, before long they would have nothing to complain about.

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  19. "It seems that if the nay sayers supported something like this, before long they would have nothing to complain about." - Nimrod

    I would still be very uncomfortable with the present American system. The race issue is just the tip of the iceberg.

    As the owner of this blog (Windows Son) has stated many times Masonry in the south sees itself as a Christian organization. If you are not a Christian then you are a second or third class brother. Jews find themselves outside the mainstream. One Georgia Mason told me that he refused to join the Scottish Rite because it was "just a bunch of Jews." Buddhists and others are treated far worse and simply ostracized by their lodges.

    University graduates are viewed with suspicion and distrust in the southern lodges. Education is considered a bane to the brotherhood. Masonic education is non-existent.

    Brothers are expelled and suspended without charges or trial at the whim of Grand Lodge power-brokers. The lack of honesty, integrity and justice is appalling.

    If I were the brother mentioned in this article I would embarrassed at the level of exposure my taking a common office in a lodge represented to others. I would feel as though I had become a symbolic token in a political game of cat and mouse.

    Howard

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  20. howard roark said,

    "If I were the brother in this article I would be embarrassed at the level of exposure my taking a common office in a lodge represented to others."

    I have to disagree with you on this point. If you read the paper Bro. Adegboyega wrote in 2003 you would realize he was we aware of the implications of his installation to WM in a traditionally white lodge, in fact, I think he welcomes discussion on this topic.

    In his paper he praises the courage of Bro. Charles Lewis Jr. for "boldly" expressing his views on racism and its effect on the vote to recognize PHM.

    Bro. Adegboyega also wrote:

    "It is time for good men to stand up and be counted! Good men must denounce bigotry and racism."

    These are not the words of a man who would be embarrassed by the retoric surrounding his installation as WM, but a man who recognizes he importance of of his position and that a precedent has been set that will no doubt have an affect on Masonry in the South for years to come.

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  21. Being a southern mason, I have never seen religious discrimination in any of our lodges. In fact I do not consider myself to be Christian, but to hear some people tell it I must be oppressed.

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  22. It is the chicken little syndrome to say that regular Masonry is without value. 'If I get beaned in the head with an apple, it must mean the sky is falling.' Newton offered an ulterior possibility: Gravity. The rocks that do not help support the structure fall away-some quicker and with more vehemence than others.

    Certainly, there are problems, purported and real, within Masonry. To say they are overwhelming and they cannot be repaired would be equally ludicrous as if one were to say they did not exist or that it will be easy. To say it is not worth the task, or that we are not up to it is defeatism. Labor is what we do as Masons.

    Are injustices committed in Freemasonry? I do not doubt it. Can it be repaired? I do not doubt it. Are many of the craft working to do so? I know they are. This is one example among many. When a lodge in an area that has historically shunned potential members based on their skin color not only accepts a man into their lodge despite history, I find it a historical event. This brother obviously does not want to join another type of Masonry. He seems exceedingly wise. Yes, there is work to be done around the temple. I stand behind this Worshipful Brother, and hope I might assist his building endeavors.

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  23. Howard Roark wrote:If I were the brother mentioned in this article I would embarrassed at the level of exposure my taking a common office in a lodge represented to others. I would feel as though I had become a symbolic token in a political game of cat and mouse.

    Bear in mind that Ayn Rand's character Howard Roark said, "No creator was prompted by a desire to serve his brothers."

    Just sayin.

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  24. "Bear in mind that Ayn Rand's character Howard Roark said, "No creator was prompted by a desire to serve his brothers." - Hodapp

    And how true it is. :-)

    As the "creator" of "Freemasonry for Dummies" you were prompted, not by "a desire to serve [your] brothers," but a desire to create additional expendable income for yourself. Had you been truly interested in serving your brothers and Freemasonry you would have published it as a PDF file and given it away freely to all Masons.

    Ayn Rand was right about so many things, don't you think?

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  25. Rand was also wrong about so many things, don't you think? ;,)

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  26. As the "creator" of "Freemasonry for Dummies" you were prompted, not by "a desire to serve [your] brothers," but a desire to create additional expendable income for yourself.

    It's entirely possible to have a desire to serve your brothers, and at the same time to desire additional income for yourself. The two need not be juxtaposed, need they?

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  27. Francois Marie Arouet,

    Odd that you would choose to use the real name of Voltaire as your user name. Francois Marie Arouet was a member of the Grand Orient of France. He was raised in the presence of Bro Benjamin Franklin, who was also a member of the Grand Orient.

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  28. Hey Nimrod, hope you don't mind me bogarting, but.......

    Francois-Marie Arouet, just "Snap"!

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  29. "Odd that you would choose to use the real name of Voltaire as your user name. Francois Marie Arouet was a member of the Grand Orient of France. He was raised in the presence of Bro Benjamin Franklin, who was also a member of the Grand Orient."

    Perhaps you have a point? All this is common knowledge. I have no problem with the Grand Orient of France.

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  30. sq wrote:

    "Francois-Marie Arouet, just "Snap"!"

    *lol*!

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  31. Never had a problem with the Grand Orient of France. Their just clandestine, and free to be. Same as the Grand Orient of the United States. Just because they are clandestine doesn't mean I have a problem with them. Two entirely different issues.

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  33. I don't have a problem with the clandestine state Grand Lodges either. They're just clandestine and I would never sit in one of their lodges or communicate Masonically with one of their members. They're just not Masons in my book, but most of them are good guys.

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  34. "They're just not Masons in my book, but most of them are good guys."

    Now you get it, jp. What's the problem? We can keep our solemnly taken oaths, and you don't have to invite us to watch a sports game we don't care about and listen to you talk about how crappy and devoid of morality we are. Simple.

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  35. I don't watch sports and I don't have to talk about the obvious in my lodge.

    Most of the talks in lodge these days are about investment strategies, and how to avoid losing the gains in your 401k. Of course these things wouldn't matter much to the financial gurus running the state GL's.

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  36. "Most of the talks in lodge these days are about investment strategies, and how to avoid losing the gains in your 401k."

    Wow, you guys talk about dumb stuff in the Grand Orient of the U.S. Never talk about this in our regular lodge. Might be educational though. The Finance Committee does the boring stuff and gives an occasional report.

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  37. Yep, all dumb and boring stuff like 401k's, the devaluation of the dollar, Patriot Act II, and other things no one is interested in learning about.

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  38. "Yep, all dumb and boring stuff like 401k's, the devaluation of the dollar, Patriot Act II, and other things no one is interested in learning about."

    All stuff that is on the internet in spades, and all read about on a regular basis and talked about on a plethora of blogs. Yes, 401k's are boring, since I don't even have one and I'm not the only one. The Patriot act is well covered on many groups I read, and the devaluation of the dollar is another regular. A quick search comes up with more than 125,000 sites for dollar deregulation. Apparently, the GOUSA is the only place to retrieve this information according to you. We actually have education about Freemasonry, but you wouldn't know anything about that topic.

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  40. Huzzah! And three times again. This is something that some Brothers from the South struggle with the thought of. I'll leave it at that. I'm glad one Lodge has the good sense to remember what our tenants are and not what they should be. Is it late in coming, yes. Is it a reason to be cynical about these events, no. Let's continue the work and good men will be drawn to the organization we all hold so dear.

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  41. You're right Francois, we decided that the discussion of Freemasonry was meaningless when so many were suffering all around us. We purposefully decided to quit talking about Freemasonry and to begin developing methods of helping those around us. We started talking to people about how to see their way through life-crisis and tumultuous financial times.

    In the end we decided that philosophy without action was meaningless.

    So tell everyone you know that if they want to learn about Freemasonry for the sake of Freemasonry then the GOUSA is the wrong place to go. They can learn all there is to know about Masonic history, philosophy and symbolism at the local library or through Google. They don't even need to join a lodge.

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  42. You're right Francois, we decided that the discussion of Freemasonry was meaningless when so many were suffering all around us."

    If there's suffering all around you, it's probably you that is the cause. Stop making them suffer.

    "In the end we decided that philosophy without action was meaningless."

    Masonry has been doing this for years. Glad you caught up. Earlier today, I gave a brother some needed money to travel for his father's funeral. That will help him through his 'tumultuous times' I believe. I didn't talk to him about his 401k.

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  43. You're just too smart for me Francois. I surrender.

    It was honorable of you to help a brother in his moment of need. He was hungry and you gave him a fish to eat.

    Due to my poor understanding and limited abilities all I can do is teach him how to fish.

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  44. Yeah, he had to leave today and I'm not a good enough fisherman to teach anyone else. Let us abandon our conversations, as our minds seem unlikely to change and Widow's Son would like it back I'm assuming. Our paths diverge, but our experiences are both valid and unique. Travel well.

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  45. Congradulations to the newly made master of a white lodge in N.C. on the western side of Masonry in the US. This is only the start to going back from whence we came. The first temple ever build that we can actually touch today, sits in Saqquara. The temple of Dzoser (step pyramid)built by the First Grand Master of Architecture to use a stone column,father of medicine, philosopher,astrologist,astronomist,High Priest and High Chancelor Imhotep. Who was a Black African. So figurable speaking you would think that by historical fact that not only was this long over due, but it also shows that by race this is this brothers birth rite. All this shows is that in actualality we haven't gone that far, as far as progress as a Institution of Virtue. The Craft is at it's lowest point, it has been showing all time highs in membership, since the william morgan incident. Now the white lodges in fear of extinction, only now are they starting to accept Blacks into their lodges. Like the old saying go there is no me without you, ironically black men sits on both sides of the scale. Not only was it up to the Black African to start it, it is up to the Black African for the future continuation of it. Going back to Black from whence we come. In the begining God created the Heavens and the Earth, the earth was without form and void and Darkness ran upon the deep. So there we can see that there was Blackness before the Spirit of God moved over the water to cause light.

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  46. The only race that creates hatred is the human one. All others are fine. Since we're all the same race, there should be no problem. Unfortunately and historically, there has been based strictly on appearances. Science tells a different story:

    "Luigi Cavalli-Sforza, a Stanford Univ. geneticist said, "…the environment, literally, works only on the surface, changing skin and hair a little bit…Underneath, there has been little change."

    “Not one characteristic, trait or even gene distinguishes all the members of one so-called race from all the members of another so-called race”

    Black and white are in appearance only.

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  47. Howard Roark said-
    "University graduates are viewed with suspicion and distrust in the southern lodges. Education is considered a bane to the brotherhood. Masonic education is non-existent."

    You hit the nail on the head. Did you learn that in School.
    You are a peice of work "Sir". I hope I never meet you fellow.

    Please keep your lovely cheer and ideas of Brotherhood. And thanks for the help tearing down this wall. I see your apron in stained with fresh mortor. Kindly build that wall around yourself.

    Bama13

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  48. CONGRATULATIONS! SOME DON'T SEEM TO THINK THAT THE SOUL MAYBE ONE OF THE SECRETS OF MASONRY, I SCOFF AT THESE PROFANE IMPOSTERS, SUPOSSING TO BE BRETHREN. THE SOUL HAS NO RACE, NO GENDER, AND IT'S COLOR...CAROLINA BLUE. IT BRINGS A TEAR OF JOY TO MY EYE TO SEE THE LIGHT HAS BROKEN THROUGH THE ONCE BLOCKED DORMER OF THE TEMPLE.

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  49. Congratulations to W:.B:. Adegbouega! This is a great step forward in NC Masonry.

    One comment though...

    Illustrious Noble Lowse said...
    Congradulations to the newly made master of a white lodge in N.C. on the western side of Masonry in the US. This is only the start to going back from whence we came. The first temple ever build that we can actually touch today, sits in Saqquara. The temple of Dzoser (step pyramid)built by the First Grand Master of Architecture to use a stone column,father of medicine, philosopher,astrologist,astronomist,High Priest and High Chancelor Imhotep. Who was a Black African....


    Ill. Noble Lowse,

    Will this be the type of Masonic Education we can look forward to in the future? That is, of course, when we finally get back to whence we came.

    Will us "White Masons" (I'm actually of Puerto Rican descent--nonetheless, not of African ancestry) finally be told the real Truth and given the real Word? Will we finally get back to Black? (using your words, not mine)

    Give me a break!

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  50. Well. Being a Past Master in a Lodge in North Carolina (twice) and a District Deputy Grand Lecturer in our state, I can assure you that we are not all bigots. Furthermore, while I read here that this blog does not allow "anonymous comments" it appears to me that few have used their real names on this subject. I would like to thank Brother Hodapp and others for their objective views.

    The State Motto (I was taught in the 3rd grade) is "Esse Quam Vederi", it means "To Be Rather Than To Seem".

    I have been fighting (along with many others) to bring about change in recognizing our Prince Hall Brothers in this Grand Jurisdiction - and it is coming soon.

    I have sat in Lodge with Brother Joseph, I believe that he is a good man and Mason, and I congratulate him on being elected as Master of his Lodge.

    I have also sat in joint educational meetings with Prince Hall Masons (including their Grand Master MWB Fitch) here in this State.

    I will tell you that I have personal knowledge of two Black men who received the degrees in two of our Lodges recently. We do not make a big deal out of it because we look at them as being men (we are not looking at their color and we are not looking for any press). Granted it isn't that way in all Lodges, but the winds of change sometimes move slowly.

    And just remember that while the press, the movie and television industry and many others see it as popular and perfectly fine to denigrate all things "Southern", let me assure you that we are not all "hicks". My advice is to work on your own ashlar first - "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone" (and they all walked away).

    Clayton L. Wright PM
    Temple Lodge No. 676 GLofNC

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  51. W:.B:. Wright,

    Beautifully stated!

    Furthermore, you're right about anonymous postings. I will keep my handle but this day forward I will sign my own name.

    Enoch Rodriguez
    Phoenix Lodge No. 8, AF&AM of NC

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  52. I am not impressed. A White man being elected Master of a Prince Hall lodge would be more newsworthy.

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