Saturday, February 27, 2010

Arkansas Grand Lodge forbids Masons buying state Masonic license plates

While more and more mainstream state grand lodges seem to be joining the 20th century by accepting the existence of and/or "recognizing" Prince Hall Masons as actually being brother Masons, the grand officers of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas are still being racist asses.

Recently the State of Arkansas began issuing Masonic license plates.

Because these plates are also available to brothers of Prince Hall Masonic lodges in Arkansas, the Grand Master of Arkansas has apparently issued an edict forbidding mainstream Masons in Arkansas from purchasing or displaying an Arkansas Masonic license plate.

Sebastian Lodge No. 706 of Fort Smith, Arkansas currently has this statement atop its homepage:
NOTICE: Grand Lodge has declared that No Freemason of Arkansas is to purchase a Masonic license plate. These are for Prince Hall Masons, which Arkansas considers to be clandestine lodges. Sebastian Lodge does not condone the viewpoint, nevertheless we are to notify everyone of this decision. 2 FEB 2010
Way to go, you redneck racists! You make Georgia look progressive.

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  1. All I can say is wow! It is one thing to not recognize PH Masons on basis of a competing GL for one jurisdiction. It's logical but cold and uncaring, completely antithetical to Masonry.
    This is bordering on insanity. I wonder if Arkansas Masons aren't allowed to wear Masonic jewelry due to the fact that their PH counterparts may also wear a S&C ring?
    But in all honesty, I would rather see the PH Masons with the license plates, it seems that Arkansas' Grand Lodge has forgotten the basic, simple tenets of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth.

  2. What is to stop a brothers wife from a Masonic license plate for her car?

  3. Wow. This is really in keeping with the teachings of masonry. While I may not agree with the edicts of my Grand Lodge, I am required to follow them. This does not make me a racist. I don't believe that the issue is with masons of color but rather with Prince Hall Lodges.

    While it is true that the Grand Lodge of Arkansas is forbidding us to purchase the plates, I have not been able to find where there are even available.

  4. Boone Lodge No. 314 of Harrison, Arkansas, is now sporting a similar message about Masonic license plates on its site at

    "NOTICE: Grand Lodge of Arkansas has declared that no Arkansas Freemason is to purchase a Masonic Arkansas license plate. These are for Prince Hall Masons, which Arkansas considers to be clandestine lodges.

    "This notice fulfills the requirement of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas for each subordinated Lodge to inform their members.

    "The publishing of this notice does not necessarily reflect the views of Boone Lodge or its members."

    — W.S.

  5. The MWPHGL of Arkansas set up the plate program.
    What seems to be upsetting the GL of Arkansas is that the fees benefit a Prince Hall charity.

    According to Janet Beck at the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, the specialty fees for the plates go to the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge Community Outreach Inc. in Pine Bluff, which grants scholarships to Arkansas high school seniors.

  6. maybe Grand Lodge of Arkansas masons are not really that proud to be known as public racists, they like the secrecy of being a closet racist?

  7. It humiliates me when I consider that my own Jurisdiction has yet to de-recognize these bigots.

  8. Why are some in the South so...just...racist in recognizing the legitimate Lodges long maintained by their African-American Brethern under an original charter older, in many cases, than their own charters? In Pennsylvania, as far as I know, Prince Hall has been recognized for at least 20 years by the Grand Lodge of PA, which is also quite welcoming to African-American Brethern (at a Masonic Breakfast back in February, I had a great time talking with an African-American Brother who is Senior Warden of his Lodge, and will probably soon be presiding in the East there).

    These Lodges in the Deep South, in my opinion, need to put into practice the Masonic teachings on Brotherhood and apply them to all good and worthy men as is done in other states.

  9. My fellow brother,

    It's good to see you back on and blogging again. I've always deeply enjoyed your thoughts and insights.

    I too don't understand why is it that people (Sadly, masons as well) do things in spite of others. Why can't we simply do something because its right, rather than because somebody else does or doesn't do it.

  10. What happed to the teaching, "Masonry unites men of every country, sect and opinion, and conciliates true friendship among those who might otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance." Or have we become an elitist society?

  11. "..way to go you redneck racists.."

    What did you expect?

  12. I am very proud to state that we, Nebraska Masons, were the first state to have mutual recognition. That took place 25 years ago this year. It is a damn shame it took anywhere near that long for it to happen! I read that Sebastian Lodge 706, in Arkansas, lost their charter by speaking out against the ridiculous stance of their Grand Lodge in forbidding the purchase of Masonic license plates. Grand Lodge or Grand make the call! Charlie

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Hypno, the PHA Recognition Chart shows that Nebraska extended full (as opposed to "visitation only" recognition in Feb. 1990, just a few months after Conn in Oct 1989.

    It's interesting to scroll down the chart; the bulk of the recognitions happened by 2002. Since then, there appears to have been much foot-dragging.

  15. My own feelings echo Ephriam's sentiment about Masonry coniliating true friendship among those who might otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance. This beautiful and noble ideal has been central to Masonry for many, many years, and it saddens me that I have no recollection of seeing white men with aprons marching along with Dr. King back in the 1960s. Still, I am grateful for the progress which has been made, and am hoping, praying, and working for its continuance. Better late than never.

  16. No, John, there were no white men in aprons marching with MLK.

    The Alabama white men with aprons were operating the firehoses, on orders from Freemason Bull Connor.


  17. I say WOW also. You are admonished not to argue with the profane in their ignorance. I never expected so many Masons to be not only ignorant, but revel in staying that way.

    First, check history for Freemasonry RE: PH Lodges in 1827. Next find out the wording from ARGL, NOT some guy who's spreading gossip like he's in a beauty parlor.

    I can't fault people for being stupid, but it makes me mad when they spread a lie as if it were the truth. Some of you have good points, but lose because you base your arguments on a false premise.

    BTW, I'm getting a plate anyway and I am for recognition and have been for years. Still yet, feel free to label me as a RACIST or whatever other hot button politically correct BS coined word the ignorant use these days to try to invoke guilt and win a spurious argument...

  18. Just found this site and posting while Googling info on Alabama's new Masonic plate.

    Sadly, our State is one that has not yet found a way to come to grips with the PH, there being something like five differing PH GLs in this State, (though I'll admit there ma be more to it than that). I hope to live long enough to see reconciliation in this, and every other, State. Then, IMHO, we may finally see the full flowering of the Masonic tenets.

  19. Reason,

    All the hyperbole aside. The claims that a brother was expelled without due process, and that a Lodge had its Charter unjustly arrested are still to be addressed.

    AS Masons, we should all be making an effort to keep our emotions within due bounds and discuss this rationally, regardless of where we might stand on the issue.

    Regardless of the particulars in this case Masons in Lodges and Grand Lodges throughout most of the world as well as in this country feel a certain amount of apprehension towards the policies of the ten remaining states that, whether or not you agree, tarnish the reputation of our great fraternity.

    Most people don't know or understand territorial jurisdiction and never will. All they see is that Mainstream Masonry in former confederate states refuse to admit black men into its Lodges. I can assure you that the majority of Masons do not want to be associated with segregation, not be cause its politically incorrect, but because it is just plain old incorrect period.

    To paint all of our Southern Brothers as ignorant red-necks and racists is incorrect, flagrantly unmasonic and extremely dim-witted in its oversimplification of the issue. But the complete denial that race has had anything to do with the exclusion of PH in mainstream Masonry is just that denial.

  20. Bro. Castaneda said: "To paint all of our Southern Brothers as ignorant red-necks and racists is incorrect, flagrantly unmasonic and extremely dim-witted in its oversimplification of the issue."

    I AM a Southern brother, and yes, I'm often dim-witted.

    But please note that when I wrote, "Way to go, you redneck racists," I was referring to the grand officers of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas, not to all Southern Masons.

    — W.S.

  21. Bro. W.S.
    I didn't mean to refer to your comment in particular. I know from reading your blog that you are a Southerner. I am Cuban and regularly criticize my people when they adhere to Cuban stereotypes, I figure you are doing the same.

    I was trying to temper my remarks because I know I can come off as a little disparaging of Southern culture when dealing with the subject of PH recognition. It is sometimes hard for me not to when I consider the history that the South has with racial issues, but I realize that generalizations and stereotypes are equally misleading regardless of what culture they are applied to.

    I had wanted to become a Mason for a very long time, but I lived in Florida until just five years ago and my conscious wouldn't allow me to join an organization with these issues.

    I now live in Oregon where I am a proud member of the first lodge constituted on the Pacific Coast and the local Scottish Rite Valley.
    But I am still bothered by the refusal of some GLs to join the rest of the world in the 21 century (or even the 20th for that matter)and while it is easy to point out the cultural roots of these attitudes, it is probably not useful in resolving the matter.

  22. Please don't be offended, But we are quite capable of handling our own good fight. I grow weary of the "white knight" types who feel the need to "save" us poor uneducated black Mason Brother's from the superior white southern Mason who holds us back. From the outside looking in one might see just that, But don't be fooled by the way we here in the south slid into the things we need to face. We have our own way of working things out, and are doing just that. Please don't inflame the the men we will one day call a Brother.

  23. To: Freddo

    You asked:

    "Why are some in the South so...just...racist in recognizing the legitimate Lodges long maintained by their African-American Brethern"

    It was based on the below garbage from the "Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry"

    Negro Masonry

    "Since the writing of the article, a number of records of the Revolutionary Period have been discovered which have made it more clear why Negro, or Prince Hall, Masonry is clandestine in each and every American Grand Jurisdiction, and has been for more than a century. Prince Hall sent a petition for a Charter to the (Modern) Grand Lodge of Masons in 1777; according to Masonic law then in effect he should have submitted his petition to one or the other of the two already longest abolished Provincial Grand Lodges in Massachusetts, because he did not ask for a military warrant. Owing to war conditions, and to the chronic dilatoriness of the Modern Grand Lodge in responding to communications from America, the Charter was not received until 1787; yet during this inchoate period the self-styled African Lodge worked as a Lodge, made Masons, and helped to initiate the formation of other Negro Lodges, all in violation of Grand Lodge lau. The Charter itself became dormant, was rendered null and void, and was erased from the lists by the Grand Lodge of England.

    In 1827 a group of Negroes made use of this piece of paper, which had become completely devoid of authority, to set up a new "Grand Lodge," and in which they declared themselves independent of any other Lodge-which declaration was in itself a plain proclamation that in their own eyes they were a clandestine society, and therefore not entitled by either Masonic or civil last to use the name "Masonic." Bodies acting according to the so-called "Prince Hall Constitutions" (which never existed) have continued to be clandestine ever since. In 1930 they had 37 Grand Lodges, with some 750,000 members in some 5,000 to 6,000 Lodges; by 1940, and owing to the depression, the membership had declined to about 500,000."

  24. John,

    I agree that disparaging remarks have no place in any effort to promote harmony and have said as much.

    It is possible that some of our White brothers might be succumbing to a some sort of "white knight" syndrome in raising their voices against racism in Arkansas, but most are just mortified that the reputation of the fraternity we all love is being besmirched by a few very ignorant men.

    These brothers are rightly making the argument that these men do not represent them nor the majority of Masons anywhere. Those whom like our host W.S. that are sons of the South are even more vehement because of their proximity to the culture. But I doubt that any one of us consider you or any of your fellows "uneducated" or incapable of fighting your own fight. That my brother is a somewhat presumptuous on you part.

    I think that it is a good and proper that you remind us that it is your fight, but you must remember that our reputations, the reputation of Masonry and in general everything we believe to be right is in play here. It is everyman's duty to speak out against injustice when the encounter it. We are just fulfilling that duty.

  25. First let me start with a fair and honest assessment. I have seen racism in both lodges. I have seen many here at Prince Hall who would like to be recognized, but would not like to see their white brothers at their lodge, no more than they would at their church. Don't get me wrong, This is a good fight and we need to change the minds of many to push forward. But don't think for one moment that the fight is only within the white lodge, we have our share of work too. Now with that said remember this.... We take good men and make them better...NOT we take good men and kick them for not being better. If we all work at this in a kind and loving way, The outcome will be so much better.

  26. Segregationists come in all colors, but segregation does not belong in Freemasonry.

    "Masonry unites men of every country, sect, and opinion, and conciliates true friendship among those who might otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance."

    I am of the opinion that this applies to race as well.

  27. The Reason the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Arkansas has issued the edict is not because P.H.A can purchase the plates, but rather that proceeds go to the Prince Hall Grand Lodge. Which is considered to be clandestine due to issues other than race including jurisdictional disputes not race. As for being called "racist asses" maybe we should not speak ill of Brother Master Masons. Currently the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Arkansas and the Grand Lodge of Arkansas are working toward joint recognition.

  28. Sir Knight:

    Racist -- adjective. Having hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

    Ass -- noun. A vain, self-important, silly, or aggressively stupid person.

    The Grand Lodge of Arkansas has shown itself to be comprised of men who meet these two definitions. Claiming the edict is simply about jurisdictional disputes shows that both descriptions I used are quite apropos. Stating the truth as I see it is not "speaking ill."

    You follow your obligations, and I'll follow mine.

    — W.S.

  29. "You follow your obligations, and I'll follow mine"

    I'm tapping my elbow on this one. I submit to you that your obstinacy over a plea for peace does not balance out the "redneck racist" behavior you decry.

    Bro. John,

    I read this blog, not for the musings of the author, but for the wonderful insight that occasionally comes from readers such you you. Thank you for another viewpoint on the subject.

  30. A body of Freemasons or of those improperly claiming to be Freemasons, uniting in a Lodge without the consent of a Grand Lodge, or, although originally legally constituted, continuing to work after its Charter has been revoked, is styled a Clandestine Lodge. Neither Anderson nor Entick employ the word. It was first used in the Book of Constitutions in a note by Noorthouck, on page 239 of his edition (see the Constitutions of 1784).Regular Lodge would be the better term.

    - Source: Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry

    So, is the MWGLPHAoARK really clandestine?
    or is that white Massa's propaganda to scare men into a segregated freemasonic state?

    what happens again to a mason if he masonically converses with a mason not deemed worthy by your GL?
    TGAOTU I am sure agree's with this behavior!

  31. The GL of Arkansas has not been blocking recognition of P.H.A. The Prince hall Grand lodge has to petition the Grand lodge of Arkansas for recognition which they have not. Too many people have been portraying this as racism or segregation and it's not. The Grand lodge cannot vote on recognition without a petition. It's a rule and it can't be broken. I don't claim to speak for or on behalf of the Grand lodge, but I don't think it will be much longer before the matter is settled. Most of us want this matter resolved quickly but until it is Arkansas masons have to keep functioning as if Prince Hall lodges are clandestine. I have friends in the Prince hall Lodge and I would love to have them come sit with me in lodge or vice versa, but we just have to wait.

  32. Apparently this is the one rule that CANNOT be broken by ARGL?

    It seems that there is a plethora of records showing that ARGL, particularly its leadership, have and continue to break the rules on continuous occasion.

    Now Bro. Greg points out that ARGL cannot break rules.

    Fascinating! One must love continuing a quest for light on the never-ending stair case. Please continue the optical allusions.

  33. According to Tom Accuosti's link, the good ole southern states still refuses to recognize PH Lodges. Some things never change. The ole confederates still exists. The demographics doesn't lie. Look for yourself.

  34. Greetings, Brethren...

    I'm excited to have run across this site, and have been digesting its contents with much zeal over the past 48 hours. I hail from Florida, and I am also PHA. Recently, I made an attempt to petition the AAONMS. My communication with my mentor has been via phone and e-mail, thus far...and since I speak and write standard English, there aren't any clues as to my ethnicity - and I don't think that it should really matter.

    However, I'm interested in the AAONMS vs. the PHA Shrine because of their direct affiliation with the children's hospital, and that means a lot to me.

    This is not an attempt to deceive anyone by any means. I've read that as long as the Lodge from which you were raised is recognized by the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America, a Brother is eligible for membership.

    I'm not sure as to how this will unfold, but from some of the discussions on here, it doesn't seem too promising.

    Anyway, I'd love some feed-back on this.

    Let's keep working together to sp***d the c*m*nt of Brotherly Love and Affection!!

    Bro. Brown
    Rising Sun Lodge No. 10
    Gainesville, Florida

  35. I was referring to the major officers of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas, and not all Masons South. I wanted to become a Mason for a very long time, but my sister will not allow me to join the organization with these issues.

    eca stack

  36. Personally I think it is a bad idea to blindly follow any entity (Grand Lodges included) under the guise that one was just following orders.

    Past Master Scott

  37. Being a Florida Mason I feel the frustration of many of the brothers outside the south. All excuses I have heard from the old timers, who are the majority of the problem, are weak at best. Virtually all the younger and middle aged Masons I know agree. Surely time will tell. Masonry transcends all barriers except atheism; race should not be an issue. I would hate to think it can be perpetuated too much longer.

  38. If even half of this story is true, it's sad. I know of some one in Oregon who was blackballed by another who moved to Oregon from Arkansas. Why, you ask? Because he was a Mormon. After a year battle, he was admitted to another lodge, but it was pulling teeth.

  39. Most people do not know or understand the territorial jurisdiction, and never will. They see the mainstream of the former Confederacy refused to recognize its masonry cottages black men. I can assure you, most do not want to masons and isolation, will not lead to politically incorrect, but because it is just plain old incorrect period.

    Buy to let mortgage

  40. Wow. I think everyone has missed something here. The Grand Lodge of Arkansas doesn't receive any of the funds from the sale of those plates. Only the PH Masons do. That is why they asked F&AM masons in Arkansas not to buy them. Besides isn't Prince Hall AF&AM and the Grand Lodge of Arkansas F&AM. I think that is more of the basis of why there hasn't been reconciliation. The desire has to be on both sides.

  41. Thank you, PCW, for showing a different possibility to the matter. I didn't like what I saw in the posting, yet wasn't ready to condemn too quickly. I'll leave that to the prejudiced and racists. Still unsure, yet it gives further room for thought.

  42. In my biology lesson we are burning foods to find out how much energy they contain. We are setting the food on fire, then putting it under some water. When the food has finished burning we measure the water temperature and note the difference of before and after. Is there a simple way to stop some of the heat escaping from the food and into the air, when it doesn't transfer to the food? Any help appreciated.

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