Masons in Wilmington break color barrier

Somehow, in the midst of a very busy weekend I missed this story. I would have missed it today on my daily e-mail purge had I not taken the time to check it. The importance of the headline says it all:

Masons in Wilmington will break color barrier
The story, like the occasion, was really as auspicious as the headline proclaimed. It represents a 150-year dislocation, un-reconciled, until this past Saturday.

The article comes from the Delaware Online News Journal, which published the article Saturday, September 16th , about an event that same day. But it was big enough news to hit the local television too.

The story is about of the “official recognition” between “The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Delaware (white) and the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons of Delaware (black). – Emphasis mine.
The recognition issue has been a-buzz recently on the Blog-o-sphere creating all kinds of intellectual fodder and animosity. I inwardly bristle at the idea that we, as Freemasons, draw boundary lines between race, color, creed, faith, and sex, but that’s just my opinion.

From the article it says that this is:

“their first interracial fraternal handshakes of Delaware Masons at any official event.

“First ever in history, anywhere in Delaware,” said Masonic Grand Lodge of Delaware spokesman Bob Benson.

Franklin S. Chandler Sr. of Smyrna, deputy grandmaster of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge, said the change is “a recognition that diversity here in Delaware is progressing the way we want it to.”

Ronald W. Conaway of Seaford, grandmaster of the Masonic Grand Lodge, said the change is like a course correction: “We’re living up to our beliefs in the fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man.”

It goes on to discuss the possible and eventual merger of the two bodies but with quotes both sides as saying it is unlikely. The irony I find in this here is that the separate but equal status has become tradition for both sides and something for them both to hold onto. But, I suppose recognition is a first step.

Congratulations to the two bodies on their first harmonious steps together under the celestial canopy of Freemasonry. Eleven more states to go.

To see what separation exists still in Freemasonry, have a look here for a state-by-state comparison.

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~ by Greg on September 18, 2006.

2 Responses to “Masons in Wilmington break color barrier”

  1. Quote from article: “For years, we have sat here and listened to stories and tales and misconceptions about why we should not offer the hand of brotherly love and affection and respect to one another,” Belanger said. “After 157 years, we’re going to stretch our hands across a chasm of ignorance and intolerance and say, ‘Welcome, my brother, welcome.’

    Was it masons, high ranking masons at that, who were spreading stories and tales and misconceptions about why we should not offer the hand of brotherly love and affection and respect to one another?

    is anyone ever accountable?

  2. The Burning Taper blog has called upon F. Ray Jackson, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Georgia, to immediately issue an edict recognizing our African-American Prince Hall Masonic brothers, or to publicly explain why he will not.

    The Grand Lodge of Delware has recently become the last state outside the Old South to recognize Prince Hall Masons.

    It is well past time for the rest of the grand lodges of Freemasonry to stop the racism and bigotry, and to recognize black Masons as true Masons.

    Widow’s Son

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