Freemasonry “becomes the Center of Union and the means of conciliating true friendship among persons that must else have remained at a perpetual distance.”
This widely heralded 1723 statement from the constitution of the first Masonic grand lodge in London describes two of the foundational hallmarks of Freemasonry: unity and equality. Yet for much of the fraternity’s history in the United States, this was not so when it came to the issue of race. From the Civil War era forward, African-American men were often denied membership in “mainstream” Masonry, or were forced to attend segregated lodges. Inspired to carve their own way, they created Prince Hall Masonry, a prestigious fraternity that has flourished across the nation. Prince Hall Masonry has inspired social activism among African-American communities, from the Reconstruction to the Civil Rights era through today. Yet challenges still exist in present day, as mainstream lodges, Prince Hall lodges, and clandestine lodges intersect.
How can legitimate Masonic organizations stand together to protect their integrity, if it is compromised by clandestine organizations? How can prospective members be taught which organizations are legitimate? And, how can today’s Masons learn to find a common ground in order to work together towards dissolving notions of racial divides – in the lodge, community, and beyond? These questions and more will be explored at the 16th Annual California Masonic Symposium: The African-American Fraternal Experience. Register now.
What: 16th Annual California Masonic Symposium: The African-American Fraternal Experience
June 11, 2016 – Oakland Scottish Rite
1547 Lakeside Dr, Oakland, CA 94612
June 12, 2016 – Pasadena Scottish Rite
150 N Madison Ave, Pasadena, CA 91104
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Registration:
Symposium fee: $15
Optional catered lunch: $15
John Bennett Williams is the 2016 Henry Wilson Coil Lecturer and past president and fellow of the Phylaxis Society. He is an Air Force veteran, published author, and past master of Prince Hall Lodge No. 17 in San Bernardino, California.
Elquemedo Oscar Alleyne is a widely published Masonic author who has presented more than 100 diverse lectures on Freemasonry. He is a fellow of the Pennsylvania Lodge of Research, and lectures frequently on historical and philosophical themes in Freemasonry.
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