The Incident

by Midnight Freemasons Contributor
 Steven L. Harrison, PM, FMLR

Prince Hall
      The following story is true.  As is usually the case in sensitive stories, all references to individuals and the Lodge involved have been removed.  I was not present, but I have heard this account from multiple first-hand sources and what they say is consistent.

      In January 2013, the members of "Standard Lodge #101" met to consider the petition of an African American man.  For his own personal reasons the man had decided he did not want to petition for Prince Hall affiliation.  The investigating committee had reported full and favorable and the Lodge proceeded to vote.  Four black cubes appeared in the ballot box, denying the man admission to the fraternity for no other reason than his race.  It was not an issue with most members of the Lodge, some of whom reported the incident to a member of the state's Grand Advancing Line.

      Two weeks later, at Standard Lodge's next stated meeting, members were surprised to find the Grand Officers of the state at their meeting, with the candidate who had been denied membership.  The Grand Master opened Standard Lodge #101 and called for another vote on the candidate.  We will never know what was in the ballot box; speculation is that there may again have been four black cubes.  The Grand Master, however, as is his prerogative, declared the ballot "clear in the East."  He then conducted the initiation of our new Brother.

Bro. Zulu, out of CA.
      Four members of Standard Lodge, in protest, have demitted.  While the remainder of the members of Standard Lodge voted in favor, our new Brother has transferred to a different Lodge, where he is as welcome as any new member.

      The history of the United States began with many accepting the scourge of slavery.  Today, we have an African American president.  We've progressed a long way.  Freemasonry, likewise, has come a long way.  Regrettably, as evidenced by this incident, the journey is not over.  We are, however, traveling men, experienced with overcoming the perils of a rough and rugged road. 


Steve Harrison, 32° KCCHis a Past Master of Liberty Lodge #31, Liberty, Missouri.  He is the editor of the Missouri Freemason magazine, author of the book Freemasonry Crosses the Mississippi, a Fellow of the Missouri Lodge of Research and also its Senior Warden.  He is a dual member of Kearney Lodge #311, St. Joseph Missouri Valley of the Scottish Rite, Liberty York Rite, Moila Shrine and is a member of the DeMolay Legion of Honor.

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