Monday, October 23, 2006

Racial Separation Prevalent in Masonic Groups

I frequently see debates in other comment threads about racism being a factor in elections these days. I brought it up myself in a piece by Litbrit over at Shakes’ place regarding Barack Obama possibly making a White House run in 2008.

Lest there be any doubt that racial divides still exist, particularly in the deep south,
digest this:
Nationwide, Masonic groups operate in a separate-but-supposedly-equal system in which whites typically join one network of Masonic groups, called Grand Lodges, and blacks typically join another, called Prince Hall.

But in the South, it goes further: White-controlled Grand Lodges in 12 Southern states do not even officially recognize black Masons as their brothers — the Masonic term is "mutual recognition" — and in some cases, black lodges have taken similar stands.


In Alabama, some dissident whites have split from the lodge system, and Republican Gov. Bob Riley's membership in an all-white lodge has drawn fire in his campaign for a second term. In North Carolina, white Masons recently voted down a bid to recognize members of the black group as fellow Masons.

"Only the states of the old Confederacy, minus Virginia and plus West Virginia, don't have mutual recognition," said Paul Bessel, a Maryland Mason who wrote a book on the topic. "There are, I'm sorry to say, some Masons who are racists. But the vast majority don't feel that way."


The whites' refusal to reciprocate "raises the ugly head of racism, segregation, all over again," said the leader of Prince Hall Masons in North Carolina, Milton G. "Toby" Fitch Jr., a state judge and former majority leader in the North Carolina House.

"The best analogy I can give is Baptist churches: You have black Baptist churches, and you have white Baptist churches. But they both recognize each other as being Baptist. We are talking about accepting the fact that `you practice Masonry and I practice Masonry.'"

I experienced this church segregation while growing up. My church was in "colored town" but never did we have a black family attend. Nor did any of the other white churches. The same could be said of the black churches.

Voting patterns in the deep south are very similar. Blacks overwhelming vote for the Democratic candidates, and whites overwhelmingly support the Republicans -- moreso in the rural areas.

While I have no evidence whatsoever to suggest whether white Masons (and non-Masons) would be willing to support a black presidential candidate, let's just say I'm quite comfortable with my unscientific hunch.

Crossposted at B3 and Pam’s House Blend


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