The article below was written as a "comment" by Bro Fahim A. Knight, a member of Doric Lodge #28 PHA, Durham, NC, United States of America to a post here in this blog, entitled: Freemasonry: A Religion or Not. Bro Knight is also the Chief Researcher for KEEPING IT REAL THINK TANK located in Durham, North Carolina.
According to his email: "Our mission is to inform African Americans and all people of good will of the pending dangers that lie ahead; as well as decode the symbolisms and reinterpret the hidden meanings behind those who operate as invisible forces, but covertly rules the world. We are of the belief that an enlighten world will be better prepared to throw off the shackles of ignorance and not be willing participants for the slaughter. Our MOTTO is speaking truth to power."
In a very similar post this was entitled "LET THERE BE LIGHT: THERE IS NO BROTHERLY LOVE BETWEEN BLACK MASONS AND WHITE MASONS"
Also of the author: "W.E.B DUBOIS AND BOOKER T. WASHINGTON: THE GREAT DEBATE"
Bro Fahim A. Knight can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Part 1: Is There No Help For The Poor Widow's Son
"There is still no brotherhood amongst black Freemasons and white Freemasons in the United States of America.
The majority of the “Old South” Confederate States; twelve to be exact (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, West Virginia , Tennessee, Arkansas. Kentucky, Florida, etc) have not saw fit to end two hundred--thirty-four years (234) of segregation and racism within the Masonic Order. There are perhaps thirty-eight (38) states with white Grand Lodges that have extended formal fraternal recognition to African-American Masons, as a gesture of being polite and perhaps out of being politically correct, but beneath the so-called olive branch still lays suspicion and racism that is cloaked in white American style elitism and institutionalize white supremacy.
It was even more insulting when this writer discovered that white Masons referred to the black Masonic Order of Prince Hall as "clandestine" and "irregular". This is interpreted to mean that the black Masonic Order of Prince Hall is not considered an official and recognized body of Freemasons under the white Masonic umbrella. (Reference: Paul M. Bessel and Alton G. Roundtree, “Out of the Shadows: The Emergency of Prince Hall Freemasonry in America).
The subject of Freemasonry evokes many different emotions and there exist various opinions and schools of thoughts on this vast subject of complexity. Thus, some make claim that Freemasonry is anti-Christian, devil worship, cult, secret society, anarchist, etc. This writer researched the volumes of literature and the writings on the subject of Freemasonry, exploring the views of its apologist and its pundits in order to determine what was true and what was false.
The Masonic scholars defined Freemasonry as a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols and at the basis of the Masonic philosophy are brotherly love, relief and truth.
The majority of white Masons in the United States classify themselves as Ancient Free and Accepted Masons (AF&AM) and/or some derivative; moreover, the system of Speculative Masonry (philosophical Masonry), developed from Operative Masonry (Stone Masons and Guild workers) which was completed when four lodges of London assembled in St. Paul Church yard June 24, 1717 and organized the first Grand Lodge of England. Nevertheless, one should not mistake the date of 1717, as being the historical origin of Masonry; it has been proven that black people in ancient Egypt, Africa had developed a sophiscated system of initiation called the Egyptian Mystery System. (Reference: Fahim A. Knight article titled, “Freemasonry and Islam: What do They Share?”
It is also believed that Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Pythagoras, the philosophical fathers of masonry were educated in astronomy, music, geometry, arithmetic, logic, rhetoric and grammar in Egypt at the helm of African wise men. It is a hypocritical and contradictory for white Masons to deny black Masons their right to legitimacy and at the same time have borrowed their own Masonic rituals, philosophy and regalia from black Egyptian and Arabic culture. (Reference: George G.M. James, “Stolen Legacy”).
Some Freemasons outside of the United States will perhaps find this appalling, shocking, insulting and very much un-Masonic conduct and most inconsistent with the tenets of Freemasonry because it stands as a contradiction to the principles of Freemasonry, which according to my study as stated above are rooted in “Morality, Friendship and Brotherly Love”.
William H. Grimshaw (who) authored the book titled, “Official History of Freemasonry Among the Colored People in North America”. Some would consider Grinshaw's work which was originally published in 1902 as one of the first scholarly recordings written by a black scholar on Prince Hall Masonry.
He Stated, “The Study of Masonry leads man to the correct knowledge of God; the correct knowledge of God leads to true worship of Him, and the true worship of Him places man in harmony with all that is true and good, enlarging his powers for usefulness in every vocation, station, position, or condition in life, thereby fitting him for citizenship, in whom we find a true neighbor, a generous friend, and a clear-cut and well defined power of circumscribing his desires and keeping passions in due bounds.”
Albert Pike is considered one of the greatest Masonic scholars of all times, he authored the book titled, “Morals and Dogma” and in a chapter titled, “The Master”, he stated, “Hypocrisy is the homage the vice and wrong pay to virtue and justice. It is Satan attempting to clothe himself in the angelic vesture of light. It is equally detestable in morals, politics, and religion; in the man and in the nation. To do injustice under the pretence of equity and fairness; to reprove vice in public and commit it in private; to pretend to charitable opinion and censoriously condemn; to profess the principles of Masonic beneficence, and close the ear to the wail of distress and cry of suffering; to eulogize the intelligence of the of the people, and plot to deceive and betray them by means of their ignorance”.
This writer pulled out a copy of the “Journal of Negro History” (a scholarly journal originally founded by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the Father of Black History Week which is now Black History Month) Fall issue of 1982, it was given to me by one of my college professors named Dr. Earlie Thorpe and mentor over twenty-five years ago, but this writer remembered there was an article written by Samuel Banks titled, “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Remembered the Fractured Dream” and Banks quoted King’s most famous “I Have a Dream” Speech”.
This writer found the quote fitting for this article on black and white Freemasonry; Dr. Martin Luther King stated, “But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One Hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later the Negro still languishes in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition. . . I have a dream one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”
Masons take obligations (they are not comfortable with those vows being characterized and described as oaths) for the most part in the United States on the Bible, but in other nations the holy book on the altar could vary. For example, in Islamic countries, it would probably be the Holy Quran on the altar representing the “GREAT LIGHT”. In the United States, the Holy Bible in Masonic liturgy is considered the GREAT LIGHT, “it is given to you as the rule and guide of our faith and practice, the square and the compass to circumscribe our desires and keep our desires in due bounds with all mankind, especially the brethren,”.
(And) On every Masonic Lodge altar there (it) the Holy Bible sits, as the Masonic Compass and Square and guide, which to serve as the utmost Geometric tool that has been tried and tested for generations. But the wisdom contained within is rooted in ethical and moral lessons for those who entered into Speculative Freemasonry. Thus, after going through elaborate rituals and receiving the sublime degrees (Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason) and hearing lectures of ancient wisdom that centered on character building and self improvement. How could one walk away being intolerant and ignore the pledges impressed in these so-called sublime degrees?
The TROWEL is an instrument made use by Operative Masons to spread the cement which unites a building INTO ONE COMMON MASS; but we as free and accepted Masons are taught to make use of it for the more noble and glorious purpose of spreading the cement of brotherly love and affection; that cement which unites us into one sacred band or society of friends and brothers, among no contention should ever exist, emulation, of who best can work and best agree (Reference: Duncan Rituals of Freemasonry). Yet, white Masons have negated all the moral and ethical insight espoused in Masonic teachings and is outright hypocritical to still be practicing discrimination and bigotry.
Allen Roberts; perhaps is one of best modern day Freemasonry scholars and Masonic intellectual who authored the book entitled, “The Craft and its Symbols: Opening the Door of Masonic Symbolism” stated, “In actuality, you have also told your brethren that they can count on you to stretch forth your hand to keep them from falling. You have offered them your strength, your ability, your knowledge when they need it. There are no reservations. It matters not whether the aid they need is mental, physical, or monetary. Your promise contains no ‘buts’. When a brother is in danger of any kind, it is your duty to advise him of his impending peril. In doing so, you must remember that it is not your ‘plumb line’ that judge him, but by his. And it is his Square and his Level, not yours, by which you are to determine his actions. His opinions may differ from yours politically and religiously, but they are his tools, not yours. WHEN HE GOES ASTRAY FROM THE PRINICPLES, THEN AND THEN ONLY, SHOULD YOU QUITELY REMIND THAT HE IS IN ERROR. THEN SHOULD ASSIST HIM TO FIND THE RIGHT TRACK FOR HIM TO FOLLOW.”
White Freemasonry has not only gone astray, it is in violation of the principled language that defines brotherhood. Webster’s Dictionary defines brother as being “One closely united with another or others by religious, political, or family bond”. What happen to the belief in the Cardinal Virtues of Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice? Perhaps in the dynamics of race these words have very little meaning to the white Masonic body when it comes to their dark skinned Masonic Brothers. This argument is not about Prince Hall Masons being classified by Ancient Free and Accepted Masons as “irregular” or “clandestine”, it is convenient to hide behind such accusations, but what truly drives this fraternal division more than anything else is racism. Masons are taught how to communicate with a fellow Mason in darkness and light based on the language of symbolism---a word (the being able to verbalize the passwords), sign (give the due guard), token (being able to give the grip) let me stop right there; IS THERE NO HELP FOR THE POOR WIDOW'S SON.
But this social phenomenon and antagonistic contradiction between black Masons and white Masons is steeped in a perhaps much larger historical debate of race in America and the culture that evolved out of Chattel Slavery (1555-1865) impacting the political, economic and social reality of race relations and affected how institutions were originated, as well as the formulation of group dynamics ideology.
Dr. Asa Hilliard who authored the book entitled, “Reawakening of the African Mind” stated, “mental bondage is invisible violence. Formal physical slavery has ended in the United States. Mental slavery continues to this present day. This slavery affects the minds of all people and, in one way, it is worst than physical slavery alone. That is, the person who is in mental bondage will self-contained. Not only will that person fail to challenge beliefs and patterns of thought which control him, he will defend and protect those beliefs and patterns of thought virtually with his last dying effort.”
End of Part 1
Moderator's Note: Weblinks added by the moderator to give readers further references.