Famous freemasons in south africa

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    His lodge had an open evening last night, so I went to find out more about masonry, and to see what they get up to. Women are not allowed into the Lodges normally. The open night was, well, open to anyone who was interested in finding out more. The main gates are permanently shut now, but even they are beautifully done with the masonic badge on it. Wish I could take photos in the daylight! Even at ISO , the ambient light was awful.

    One thing I learnt last night, was that there are plenty lodges that meet within the same building. I thought there was only one lodge in Parktown. That night there were 4 other lodges working upstairs while the Orphic Lodge had their meeting. I also found out that there are masonic lodges in most towns in South Africa. We started the evening milling about, chatting, and looking at the amazing memorabilia in the hall.

    I knew about the English royalty, but not about the others. However, we soon understood that there was a method in this. New apprentices have to sit in the North East corner of the hall.

    The foundation stone is always placed in the north east, and the building then grows around it. The rough stone on this stand depicts you as you start your journey, and the smooth stone suspended further down in the post depicts your destination as a mason We learnt a LOT about the aprons.

    They start out being plain lambs cloth, and then get more adorned as you progress through the degrees. The white gloves are worn to hide your hands. Hands give away your vocation, and as a mason everyone is equal. But I did discover later on in the evening, that all the masonic books are now digital! The masons have a mobile app with passwords of course which contains all the books. There are a number of Freemasonry constitutions in South Africa, and last night 3 were represented.

    The Orphic Lodge is part of the English constitution, and there were members from the Scottish constitution, and one guy from the only German speaking South African lodge too! I think this is my favourite photo of the evening… holy books from every religion present in a Lodge meeting are always opened, and placed on a table in front of the hall, before proceedings begin.

    I knew that the masons were known for their charity work. I learnt a few things though. Every lodge does their own charity work they collect food, blankets, and other items for local charities , but once a year the Grand Lodge of South Africa makes a major donation.

    Charity work and donations are not only given to masonic charities. I think I left with more questions than I started the evening with!


    Not everyone knew what the Freemasons were, but those who did gave similar answers that they were some cultish world order. I did find one person at DePaul who was able to get close with their answer, who recognized the Freemasons as a fraternity not much different than the one he was a part of. However, he was the one exception.

    My quest to find out what DePaul students thought of the Freemasons came out of a mild case of culture shock for me. They were simply a group of community members doing some form of charitable work for the greater good, be it raising money for good causes, feeding the homeless or something else. Masonic temples from where I am from are often located in areas of high public visibility. In Springfield, the Ansar Shriner Temple shines golden and gleaming with a flashy fez-adorned sign just blocks from the capitol.

    However, those who did know gave answers of veterans, police officers, firefighters or my favorite an angry old man at an estate sale.

    These descriptions were then followed by ideas that the Freemasons were some form of new world order, but the regional differences in the answers I was given remained. Back home, Freemasons may still have been perceived as akin to the Illuminati, but they were first and foremost community members. For a metropolitan area as sprawling and diverse as Chicago, it came as a shock when I began to realize just how unaware the urban communities I encountered seemed to be when it came to Freemasonry.

    I then realized that I had never seen an active Masonic temple in the city or the red fez of a Shriner among the throngs of heads milling about the Loop. However, I knew they existed in the city. The building is soon to be converted yet again into another form of retail space later this year.

    What is Freemasonry? This is distinguished from the Masonic lodge, which can be used colloquially in smaller lodges to refer to their meeting space but formally refers to the individual membership units, e. Both differ from the Grand Lodges, which are found in every state and oversee all Masonic operations within the states in which they are located.

    Internationally, they oversee the Masonic lodges of a specific country or region. Graber, 59 years old at the time of our interview last June, first joined Freemasonry in his early teens through the Order of DeMolay , an offshoot of Masonry catering to boys ages 12 to Prior to that, he was indirectly involved in Masonry through his mother, a member of Eastern Star , a sisterly body within the brotherhood of Freemasonry. Graber served as a past master the head of a Masonic lodge in and recently retired from his post as secretary at Springfield Lodge 4 in after serving 20 years in that role.

    Walls joined in , later into his life. The son of a Freemason, he served at Springfield Lodge 4 as master in and as treasurer from until his appointment by Graber to the office of secretary in Throughout his years in Freemasonry, he has served on various committees for the Grand Lodge of Illinois which oversees all lodges in the state and as secretary to the Valley of Springfield which represents the northern jurisdiction of the Masonic York Rite for 12 years.

    Currently, in addition to his role as secretary at Springfield Lodge 4, he is serving his 13th year as a Grand Lodge officer, currently occupying the post of assistant grand tyler the doorkeeper of a Masonic lodge. Graber was the first to address this icebreaker. I responded that, apart from its use in pop culture as a term referring to a mythical world order , I really had no idea. I had inquired about the meaning of the below lithograph, a large version of which hung in their main meeting space.

    Photo: Library of Congress Though the exact meaning of the symbols and allegories contained in it are undisclosed by the Masons, a basic understanding of its imagery was given to me during my tour of Van Meter Lodge Below is a paraphrased version of the interpretation by the Phoenixmasonry Masonic Museum and Library , which is similar to the one I received at Van Meter.

    Stylized elements of the meeting room — like the columns and book stands — stand as waypoints and symbolic inclusions of Judeo-Christian and secular origin serve as reminders of Masonic principles.

    Along the way, the names of important milestones may be found with space to sign and date upon their completion. Below is a narrative of what these are and how one progresses through Freemasonry. All Master Masons are viewed on an equal level, regardless of any conferred degrees. Before any work on degrees may begin, one must first come to the Masons with free will.

    If you choose not to, walk away. Upon reaching the Master Mason degree, individuals are then given the choice to join a rite. While many different types of rites exist, Scottish Rite and the York Rite are the two most common. The York Rite, on the other hand, is split into a Northern and a Southern jurisdiction and is inclusive of three levels: Chapter, Council and Commandery.

    In addition to joining a rite, those with the Master Mason degree also qualify to join various Masonic bodies. Photo: Library of Congress Returning to Springfield Lodge 4, Graber boasted that it stands as the longest continuously operating lodge in Illinois. Founded in , its list of original members at the time of its charter most notably includes the name of Stephen A. Douglas , who famously debated and lost to Abraham Lincoln as the Democratic candidate during the presidential election.

    A painting of him in full Masonic regalia shown below , in addition to the original signed charter of Springfield Lodge 4 with his signature on it, are displayed in the lobby of the Springfield Masonic Center and in the office of Springfield Lodge 4, respectfully.

    Do we know it for an absolute fact? No, we do not. Can we historically prove it? No, we cannot. Do we use it as part of our teachings? Yes, we do, because it is tradition. The unorganized concept of Freemasonry, however, began much earlier. It is thus best to see not as the birth of Masonry as a whole but rather as the start of the modern idea of organized — rather than unorganized — Masonry. From there, it spread around the British Isles before landing on colonial shores in cities such as Boston and Philadelphia, where it spread among the colonies in America.

    Famous early American Freemasons include those pictured in the lithograph above such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. Freemasonry has since spread to circumnavigate the globe with Grand Lodges spread across more than countries and territories worldwide each representing dozens upon dozens of smaller, local lodges like Springfield Lodge 4. Currently, the organization has approximately six million members around the world.

    In , the top three states with the most Masons were Pennsylvania with 97,, Ohio with 80, and Texas with 70, Illinois came in fourth with 55, Photo: Library of Congress While this article focuses on the fraternal order of Freemasonry, women have played important and integral roles on levels in the past and present history of Masonry.

    The first recorded instance of a female Freemason took place around the year when Elizabeth St. Leger Aldworth pictured in the engraving above was initiated as a fraternal brother by chance.

    Leger, later Brother Elizabeth Aldworth following her marriage. Though women are no longer officially initiated into the fraternity of Freemasonry as with St. Various orders related and tied to Masonry offer female-run opportunities for women to join the organization as members, the largest of which is the Order of the Eastern Star. Others include but are not limited to the Order of the Amaranth and the White Shrine of Jerusalem for women and the Order of the Rainbow for Girls and the Daughters of the Nile for girls and young ladies.

    Within Freemasonry, women retain important support roles as staff members of lodges. Additionally, Graber and Walls explained that the wives or partners of those working through their degrees often act as important sources of support during the process, rehearsing the ceremonial proceedings with their significant others.

    Thus, while Freemasonry is a fraternal organization, women may be found in many different roles under the umbrella of its reach as an organization. Thus, though this article revolves around the fraternity of Freemasonry, it is important to be informed that women do play a part both in Masonry and its sister orders. The most notable extant example of these early Freemasons may be found at the Chicago Water Tower, whose northeast corner contains a Masonic cornerstone, a homage to the Masons who oversaw its design and dedication.

    However, perhaps the grandest example of Masonic architecture to ever exist in the city is one that no longer dots its landscape: the old Masonic Temple Building. Pictured in the background of the stereogram above, the Masonic Temple was located at the northeast corner of Randolph and State Streets and was completed in It was revolutionary for its time. Its vast system of elevators, monumental size and extensive electric lighting was unparalleled for its era and praised by the masses.

    However, history was not kind to this groundbreaking edifice. In , the Masonic Temple was demolished, as it was deemed to be economically unsustainable. So, what happened? And, as people moved out, got less active or died off, that caused them to sell off the building. Veterans returning home sought out ways to continue the framework of brotherly fellowship they enjoyed during their time in service, turning to fraternal organizations such as Freemasonry to fill that desire.

    During this peak, Masonic membership in the U. However, this would be short lived. As Harvey stated, the fraternal zeitgeist following the war eventually wore out, and people moved away from their lodges without rejoining another, died or lost interest in continuing the work needed to be an active Mason.

    Socially, fraternal organizations fell out of favor in the latter half of the 20th century. Currently, there are nearly 1. Another reason for the comparative lack of prevalence of Freemasonry in Chicago as opposed to what I grew used to in Springfield might be the social framework of community life itself.

    In brief, city dwellers are simply more mobile than their rural counterparts. A similar phenomenon was noted by Graber at Springfield Lodge 4. Requirements to start new temples follow the process to start a new lodge set by the Grand Lodge of Illinois. Thus, having the ways and means to open a new temple reflects growth and financial stability in Chicagoan Freemasonry.

    Photo: Library of Congress Before delving into that question, I would first like to introduce the final character in the story of my quest: Wayne Spooner. Spooner serves as the chairman of the membership development committee for the Grand Lodge of Illinois as well as the lodge education officer for Hesperia Lodge One of the reasons these attributes of Masonry are just now starting to catch the attention of new members is a shift in how Masons present themselves.

    The purpose of these in-person endeavors is not for them to approach the community but rather to provide an opportunity for the community to approach them. To give examples, Spooner explained how his own interest in the brief mentions of Freemasonry principles in esoteric and occult novels written by non-Masons led him to search out real Masons to find the truth.

    Graber and Walls noted that popular films referencing Masonry like National Treasure also piqued outsider interest in the organization. In terms of going beyond the basic level of inquiry, Spooner said that there are three main motivators that encourage people to officially join the organization. Together, these three reasons encompass the three core tenets of Freemasonry that go back to its founding: Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.

    Photo: Library of Congress During my post-research phase, I discovered that many people view Freemasonry as lacking in diversity. While this may be true of many small Illinoisan towns whose populations are overwhelmingly white, it is not true across the board.

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    To the Beninese masons, it was like a rare moment to right the wrongs of history. At the inauguration, sentiments like these were echoed over and over by the Beninese Prince Hall Masons.

    The tour includes stops at sites like Place Chacha, where Africans were auctioned and branded with markers of sale before making the arduous walk to the ocean. At one stop, The Memorial of Remembrance, the group took a moment of silence for the enslaved people who died even before boarding the ships.

    Joy Notoma In prayer.

    A night with the Freemasons

    Provinces of course have two functions, to help administer English Freemasonry and to recognise service given by deserving brethren by making them officers of the Provincial Grand Lodges PrGL or awarding ranks. James Anthony Harrison. Provincial Grand Lodges meet just like a normal lodge with the same officers. Whilst the normal structure has three levels, Grand Lodge, Provincial Grand Lodges and private lodges, there is occasionally a fourth, as in some of the very large Provinces such as this Province of West Lancashire, there is a further division into groups, again to make the administration of the Province easier.

    Most groups have a four-man executive, a chairman, vice chairman, secretary and often a treasurer. There are also other officers such as the group admin care officer, group charity steward, membership officer and publicity officer etc. Lincoln Lodge No. President, [75] Lodge No.

    Santa Rosa Lodge No. Chief Commissioner, Excelsior Lodge No. David's Lodge No. Metropolitan Lodge No. Hiram Lodge No. Byrd, US Admiral. Initiated in Federal Lodge No. Grand Lodge of England.

    Why an African American Freemasons group “returned” to one of slave trade’s darkest places

    John's Lodge No. Montezuma Lodge No. American Union Lodge No. League City Lodge No. Saint Louis Lodge No. House of Representatives and Grand Master of Kentucky. Royston Lodge No. Cody, a. Cohan, Broadway star, raised in Pacific Lodge No. Amity Lodge No.

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