Published Monthly by The Phylaxis Society Public Affairs Office
and Masonic Information Center
March 1999

Prince Hall Masons in the News

It is our sad duty to report, that Bro. Rev. Henry J. Lyons of St. Petersburg, Lodge No. 1, Florida, the embattled leader of the 'National Baptist Convention USA, was found guilty of swindling millions of dollars from companies that sought to do business with his followers, one of the most influential Back denominations.

Bro. Lyons was found guilty of grand theft in the disappearance of almost $250,000 from the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith money intended to rebuild burned Black churches in the South. Prosecutors accused Lyons of stealing more than $4 million from corporations that wanted to sell cemetery products, life insurance policies and credit cards to the convention's so called 8.5 million Black members. A convention aide described making up a membership list for the Globe Life Insurance Co., at Lyons direction, using a computerized telephone directory and eliminating names ending with "ski" or clear indication of other ethnic groups. Company executives testified that they paid Lyons $400,000 for the list. The company realized it had been duped when it received complaints from a grand dragon for the Ku Klux Klan, a Catholic priest and a member of its own board of directors, who each received sales letters with Lyon's endorsement. Bro. Joseph L. Clayton MPS of Doric Chapter of the Phylaxis Society in Baltimore, Maryland was one of the recipients of the Church Leadership Award given by the Fullwood Foundation presented for exemplification of Christian conduct in word, thought and deed. Winners of the Dr. James D. Singletary FPS Literary Contest sponsored by the Phylaxis Foundation was Bro's Anthony T. Stafford MPS First Place for "A Living Schism" and Edward R. Taitt MPS for "Prince Hall Alasons Dilemma." A total of $150 was shared by both. The Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free, and Accepted Masons of Ireland, reported at its St. John's Day Communication, 28 Dec. 98 at Freemasons Hall in Dublin, that, "R. W. Brother Herbert Meek, being in attendance and having produced his Patent of Appointment, the Grand Director of Ceremonies formed a procession and presented him to the Grand Master to be invested as the Representative of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Connecticut. R.W. Brother Meeke was conducted to his seat and saluted with the Representatives of all Sister Grand Lodges with which the Grand Lodge of Ireland is in amity." At its Quarterly Communication held Thursday, 3 Dec 98 the Grand Lodge of Ireland reported that there was a vacancy in the Representative of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. Xavier University trustee emeritus and Jazz legend Bro. Lionel Hampton of Boyer Lodge No. 1, New York City, and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra will appear in a March 12 concert to celebrate the school's 75th anniversary, Rev. Al Sharpton New York Jurisdiction spearheaded a rally in Bronx, NY for Amadou "Ahmed" Diallo, the unarmed African immigrant who was fatally shot 41 times by White police officers in New York recently, the NAACP called for an investigation by U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno. After 117 years, Lt. Henry 0. Flipper, the first Black graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, was granted a posthumous pardon by President Bill Clinton at a prestigious ceremony in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Bro Jack Hadley MPS of Joppa Lodge No. 43, Thomasville, Georgia and owner of the Jack Hadley's Black History Memorabilia, Inc., was one of the driving forces to have a Post Office located at Tall Timbers Village Square, U.S. 19 South for Lt. Flipper and is now attempting to have a postage stamp named in his honor. Bro. Hadley, on 8 Jun 97, presented a Pictorial Masonic Wall of Fame Exhibit to the Thomasville Masonic Prince Hall Lodge. This permanent exhibit culminates the complete researching and locating of photographs of more than seventy current and past Masonic heads of houses in the Thomasville Masonic Prince Hall Lodges, OES Chapters and other Masonic bodies from 1901 to 1997.

Prince Hall Masonry in Ontario 1852-1933

The following book review is taken from Harashim the Quarterly Newsletter of the Australian & New Zealand Masonic Research Council, issue 9, January 1999. The book review was written by Phylaxis Society Fellow Tony Pope FPS, concerning the book written by Phyllis Chapter member the late Arlie C. Robbins and published in 1980 by the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Ontario & Jurisdiction (hardcover, xii + 139 pages, illustrated, no index). " This book is remarkable because the Grand Master and Grand Lodge concerned took the unusual step of selecting as historian the best person available for the task, regardless of the fact that their choice was not a Mason. It is equally remarkable because the author, a member of the Order of the Eastern Star (PHA) undertook the task with a professionalism seldom encountered among Grand Lodge historians. Sister Robbins had already demonstrated her exceptional ability, in researching the history of her own Order and in presenting it in a manner that captured the interest of Brothers and Sisters alike, when she was commissioned in 1973/74 to 'compile' and 'coordinate'. She was not content to work with the material supplied, but made inquires far and wide, always seeking original documents, querying established beliefs, consulting librarians and historians (Masonic and otherwise), questioning, and clearly indicating that which she surmised or concluded from the facts revealed. Mrs. Robbins realized that the brethren for whom she was writing, like Masons everywhere, had myths and legends which were dear to them. In the opening chapters of the book, her summary of the general history of Freemasonry and of the beginnings of Prince Hall Masonry, she tactfully leaves those beliefs undisturbed, although the observant reader may discern tongue in cheek. But when it comes to the beginning of Prince Hall Freemasonry in Ontario, in 1852, and its subsequent development up to 1933 - the history she has been commissioned to discover and record - she is unswerving true to her task. While occasionally expressing sadness and sometimes bewilderment at the foibles and follies of the brethren concerned, she faithfully records developments and setbacks, undeterred by the sorry picture they sometimes portray.
In fairness to the brethren and Grand Lodges concerned, the skeletons thus revealed are no worse than those of other brethren and Grand Lodges around the world but. whereas many Grand Lodge histories. particularly those published with the Grand Lodge approval, seek to hide their skeletons, the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Ontario and its candid historian are Insistent upon publishing the unvarnished truth. In this they are to be highly commended. Not only does this book present the historical events in a logical, coherent and interesting form, it also provides fascinating insight into the social conditions under which Prince Hall Masonry was established in Canada. We learn that the first three Lodges were established by the National Compact from New Jersey, but that they were formed into a Grand Lodge by the Grand Master of the National Compact Grand Lodge in New York, and that, even so, the National Compact itself refused to recognize the fledgling Grand Lodge. This problem was compounded by the resignation of their Grand Master. who returned to the US: the establishment of the Dominion of Canada and consequent division into Provinces, the conclusion of the American Civil War, with some Blacks returning to the US but others, Canadian-born, refusing to go, and consequent racial ill-feeling, the refusal of mainstream Grand Lodges to countenance Prince Hall Masonry, the incursion into Canada of several Prince Hall Grand Lodges from the US, and internal troubles. Nevertheless, the Grand Lodge survived and grew, maintaining lodges in the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and at last achieving recognition from at least some mainstream Canadian Grand Lodges - all junior to it. It is not clear why the title of this book limits the history to the year 1933 (it may have been the author's decision, or the Grand Lodge ), but Mrs. Robins continues the history beyond this point to 1980. by which time she had completed her task. She writes ''This, my Brothers, is the history of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the Province of Ontario and, Jurisdiction as I saw it. And what I saw, I wrote in a book. (A quotation from Revelation 1: 11, "at thou seest, write
in a book) I have written your history with the sincere hope that somehow I have been able to bring its years alive for you as they have come alive for me." In this, she has succeeded. Those interested in purchasing the book should contact Bro. John W. Robinson at 128 Wellington Street East, Chatham, Ontario, Canada N7M 3P3.

1999 Williamson Hall of Fame

At its 26th Annual Session, the Phylaxis Society inducted the following into its Harry A. Williamson Masonic Hall of Fame:

1. Bro. John S. Rock, Past Grand Secretary of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and the first African-American lawyer to be received on the floor of the House of Representatives, and the first black attorney to be admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. (See the outstanding article on Rock by Bro. Ralph L. McNeal, Jr. FPS in the Second Quarter, 1997 issue of the Phylaxis Magazine).

2. Bro. Moses Aaron Clark, fourth Grand Master of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Arkansas, serving better than 25 years, finding 14 Lodges when he became Grand Master in 1881, and leaving better than 275 Lodges upon his death. (The Society was most thankful to Bro. Charles F. Holman 111, a relative of Bro. Clark, for bringing the information to the Society.)

3. Bro. Kivie Kaplin, Caucasian Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, the National President of the NAACP. He passed in New York City at the age of 71, and was one of the 20 signers of "An Open Letter to members of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts A.F.&A.M. " dated October 31, 1969. The letter attacked the segregationist attitudes of Caucasian Masonic bodies and compared it to the Ku Klux Klan's. The letter requested the reaffirmation by that Grand Lodge of the regularity and legitimacy of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. (See Prince Hall's Mission: The Rise of the Phylaxis Society by Bro. Joseph A. Walkes, Jr., page 51.)

Also honored at the Phylaxis Session

Bro. Tommy Rigmaiden FPS (Alexandria, Louisiana) elected as First Vice President, Bro. Robert Campbell FPS (Kansas City, Missouri) elected as Second Vice President; Bro David Archibald MPS (Tacoma, Washington) elected as Executive Secretary. Bro. Oscar Roberts, Jr. FPS (Kansas City, Missouri) remaining as Treasurer and Bro. William D. Green FPS (Tacoma, Washington) remaining as Financial Secretary. The 1999 Herbert Dailey FPS Award was presented to Doric Chapter of Baltimore, Maryland with honorable mention of the Lawrence A. Jones, Sr. Chapter of Kansas City, Missouri. Awarded the 1999 Jno. G. Lewis, Jr. Medal of Excellence was James "Rocky" Dallas FPS, President of the Northwest Chapter in Tacoma, Washington and Bro. William H. Gross FPS, President of Doric Chapter in Baltimore, Maryland. The Year 2000 Medals of Excellence to be awarded to Bro. Robert Campbell FPS, of Kansas City, Missouri and Bro. Lamont Dixon FPS of Atco, New Jersey. Honored also was Sister Artemisia Jones Junier FPC, President of the Phyllis Chapter of the Phylaxis Society and Imperial Commandress of the Imperial Court, Daughters of Isis auxiliary of the Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (PHA) and the historian of the History of the Daughters of Isis - 2 Volumes), Hon. William 0. Jones MPS, Grand Master of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Alabama and Hon. Harold H. Bendaw MPS, Grand Master of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of New Mexico.

The late John Henrick Clarke

Wrote in his Notes for an African World Revolution: Africans at the Crossroads " . . . we are literally kept from our history, if you expect the present day school system to give history of you, you are dreaming People don't beg other people to restore their history; they do it themselves. We have to study, yesterday in order to create today. We have to draw on the past in order to make the present and the future."

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