Saturday, July 04, 2009

DDGM Asked To Resign in Georgia Over Gate City


The Gate City Lodge story continues to create firestorms in Georgia. A new development occurred on Thursday, as 82-year old District Deputy Grand Master John Holt was asked to resign his position by the Grand Master.

According to one account:

"On Thursday, July 2, 2009, after a regular communication of the Scottish Rite, Valley of Atlanta, Ed Jennings, Grand Master of Masons in Georgia asked John Holt, DDGM, for his resignation. "You were there at the initiation, you were there at the passing and you were there at the raising." Said Jennings. "You never once told me that Gate City was raising a black man." He then proceeded to ask John for his resignation. John resigned.

John Holt, 82, had just received his fifty year apron from WGM Jennings not two weeks prior. He has earned just about every honor possible from York Rite, is a White Cap in Scottish Rite, and spent eleven years as a District Deputy to the Grand Master.

One helluva way to thank a man for his service."


I have sent a message to the Grand Lodge for clarification of this story.

Holt is the second DDGM in the Grand Lodge of Georgia to resign in the last two weeks over this issue. RW Brother David Herman resigned his position as well. See here.

25 comments:

Sarpaedon said...

I'm confused. I thought the GM was aware that the man raised was black, and he had said that he was properly made a Mason anyway.

Now, he's implying that he wasn't told and didn't know?

Or am I lost?

Chris Hodapp said...

You are not alone.

Masonic Traveler said...

Hum, is it me, or am I sensing the boat list the WRONG way in the water.

Roger VanGorden said...

Hmmmmmmm. {while chomping on pipe}

lightseeker said...

Gobsmacked! I can't seem to find the proper language to describe how confused I am.

Chris Hodapp said...

I have sent a message to the Grand Lodge for clarification of this story.

Tom Accuosti said...

I'm still amazed at an 82 year old guy being a DDGM for 11 flippin' years. Is that typical down there? I mean, we've got old guys up in Conn, too, but we do try to swap them out for younger models once in a while.

Hmm. This should be interesting.

Timothy Bonney said...

Bizarre indeed! And the GM didn't think this bit of information would get out too?

I'm starting to see why Gate City may be choosing not to drop their legal action if it appears Masons are being punished (in or out of their lodge) for simply welcoming a good man into their lodge.

Seeker of Light said...

Maybe he wasnt made aware of it at the time/before hand and he is POed about being blindsided? Just guessing but I dont think its ever a good idea to let the boss find out about a possible problem from someone else if I could have told him first...

Esquire said...

I suppose this story and the earlier reports that the GM issued a statement that Bro Marshall and been duly initiated, passed, and raised and was therefore a Brother could be squared under the rubric of "Yes, he is a true Mason, but he should not have been made one, and had I known about it, he would not have been." Let's hope that's not the case. Keep us posted if you get any clarification on this story.

Chris Hodapp said...

Seeker of Light said...
Maybe he wasnt made aware of it at the time/before hand and he is POed about being blindsided?


Well, that was hopefully my take on it too.

stoic said...

As they say in some parts of the Deep South:

"If brains were leather, he wouldn’t have enough to saddle a junebug."

You have to wonder what's really going on in Southern Freemasonry in the remaining Confederate States where not much progress or action has been taken in Freemasonry to denounce racism and bigotry and put an end to it by both proclamation and actual practice.

Everyone knows this is the huge Pink Elephant in the room that is ignored. Everyone outside of these few remaining States knows it too. However, Masonic leaders keep stepping over and in the Pink Elephant dung while still denying that there is a problem. Guess what: there is a huge Pink Elephant in the room! Wake up! Sooner or later the Pink Elephant is going to break the fraternity's china.

Esquire said...

Stoic, this is not a universal Deep South issue. There are plenty of Masons in the former Confederate states that are on the correct side of the race issue as it relates to Freemasonry. (The GL of North Carolina voted to officially recognize Prince Hall Masonry last year.) You may want to take a look at my latest blog post at The Manthanein Chronicles entitled "The heart is deceitful above all things."

Chris Hodapp said...

Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Kentucky have all initiated, passed and raised black Masons in the last year.

Florida and North Carolina have had black Worshipful Masters.

The Grand Master of Kentucky just issued a notice that anyone engaging in bigoted behavior or speech in a Kentucky lodge faced immediate action.

It doesn't matter.

Only Georgia, Alabama, or Mississippi can lead the way in this matter. These are the core states where there are large vocal groups who believe in a whites only Craft. Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, West Virginia, etc. would make them think, but if GA, AL or MS publicly issued statements and moved on Prince Hall recognition, the others would follow suit.

Alexander said...

This issue has made it around the world and Freemason's in Europe and Australia are watching American (or Georgian!) Freemasonry, hoping for a positive outcome.

Alexander Sives
MM 272 St John Mid Calder, GLoS

stoic said...

Esquire,

Please note that my comment wasn't a criticism of the entire Deep South. I prefaced my comment to limit my ire to those States where no action has been taken. I am well aware of which States have taken action and which ones have not. I was most pleased with the recent results in North Carolina and in Texas. The proverbial "dominos" on this issue are falling, and, it will now be a race to see which of the remaining Southern States will be the last to do the right thing.

I know that there are good men in the Deep South in Freemasonry because I'm one of many of them.

The Palmetto Bug said...

Chris et al,

PHA recognition is a different animal. Please do fall into that trap.

Chris Hodapp said...

I agree there is a trap in PHA recognition - namely, that the bigots will simply say "We recognize Prince Hall, so all black petitioners go there and leave us alone."

But you and I both are smart enough to know that exclusive territorial jurisdiction has been abused as a way to simply not deal with the race issue.

You know how it goes.

"Black men can't be Masons in my grand lodge jurisdiction. Let them join Prince Hall. But we won't recognize PHA because that relinquishes our sovereignty. Therefore, that keeps any blacks from trying to visit or join our pristine white lodges. Whew, that was a close one. And if we can't have two GLs in our state, we should merge the two. But our white votes outnumber their black votes, and they'll not want to give up their heritage. So, another close call averted. Who brought the beans tonight?"

Am I close?

47th Problem of Euclid said...

RW Brother John Holt is the second DDGM in the Grand Lodge of Georgia to resign over this issue. RW Brother David Herman resigned as well:

http://gatecity2.blogspot.com/2009/06/david-herman-resigns-as-district-deputy.html

Lizzy Leigh said...

If this story is true, then I am thoroughly disgusted. 6 generations on my mother's side have been involved in the Masonic Family. Even my great-grandfather, who was born and raised in the south, would be disgusted by this.

Are we not taught that we are all equal in God's eyes? Surely the racism that is pouring through this story is unacceptable to anyone, anywhere, in the Masonic family?

This isn't the 1800's where behavior such as this is not only tolerated but encouraged. Racism is never acceptable.

It makes me ashamed to be part of an organisation that would allow this in any lodge, chapter or temple.

EL Vasquez
PWA Rosevile-DeReimer #263

Bryan said...

I'm having a very hard time figuring where the GM stands on this issue. I think he might be a little unsure himself.

It was the GM who presented WB John Holt his 50 year apron in May. In fact, John waited until May to receive it so that the GM would be available.

Looks like a couple of us have been duped. The GM in thinking that he had a ceremonial role where he could eat lots of chicken, never really dealing with tough issues or having to lead; and me in thinking that a brotherhood of men in the 21st century would be beyond an issue like this.

GC had the charges against them dropped, but they did not drop their suit due to fear of retaliation. Turns out, they had good reason to fear that.

Bryan Garner

masontruth said...

The Color of a man's skin is of no importance when it comes to seeking Masonic Light. Being a good man, belief in a Supreme Being and being a Mason in one's heart are important factors. Our Grand Master/Grand Lodge of California and those that have preceded him that I have personally known would never stand for Racism & Bigotry in our Masonic Jurisdiction. These acts are serious and should never be taken lightly. While there might be individuals who might feel this way it does not represent the majority of Masonry in any way, shape or form. There is no place for Racism and Bigotry in Masonry. When a man Petitions he is asked a series of questions provided on his application. He is then interviewed by a number of trusted Brethren. In my opinion if a man is a Racist or a Bigot he is not a Mason in his heart or otherwise. A Dues Card means nothing if one does not practice Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. I do not speak for Grand Lodge or anyone other than myself and what I feel in my heart.

Sincerely & Respectfully,
Manny Blanco,PM
Moreno Valley Masonic Lodge # 804
Moreno Valley CA
Grand Lodge of California

Brent said...

My lodge (under GLofCA)just voted to elect a worthy young Muslim man originally from Morocco to the degrees. It stands in stark contrast to the ill behavior going on in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.

BeauMcD said...

The confusing issue to me as a Georgia mason is that the Brother who's raising has caused these people to get so upset is not the first minority to receive the degrees in Georgia, only the first black man to go through. The man who recites the opening charge at my lodge is Indian as well as Hindu, and if GM Jennings had a problem with minorities he would most likely have said something when he visited in April. My Indian brother is not an isolated incedent: throughout Georgia minorities have been initiated, passed, and raised and there has yet to be an international incedent formed. It is not completely foreign to see a Quran adorning a Georgia alter or hear languages other than English being whispered in meetings. This is precisely the reason why I am perplexed that the men pushing this issue in Georgia have chosen to wait until an African-American man was let in to cause a fuss. The men who were named in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Article recently are from Metro-Atlanta lodges and should be no stranger to minority visitors to the lodge or even members sitting in the lodge room amoungst them.

I believe that this recent development with the DDGM is an issue of letting this event get out of hand. He should have told dissenters tough luck and let Gate City go on with their business, but instead his inaction has led to immense escalation.

Beau Davis
Duluth Lodge 480, F.& A.M.
Grand Lodge of Georgia

drapetomaniac said...

Bro. Beau,
It is bizarre, but consistent with the experience anti-Black bigotry documented throughout the years.

Immigrant Blacks often are treated better that "locals." (Not consistently, but there is a psychology towards this commonly present) Some ethnic groups will treat African-American Blacks worse than their own Black community (Latino for instance.)

I'm Black Hispanic, and throughout my life have had bigoted friends and acquaintences choose to refer to me as Latino (even ignoring the occasional afro).

There is a certain specificity to many bigotries.

Ironically, this one can be documented in the reverse in the plantation literature genre - where southern Negroes were "good." But they were good because they were loyal, faithful and not taken by the perverse trouble makers from other areas.

I have an old cloth bound book with this wretched story:
http://antislavery.eserver.org/proslavery/eneas-africanus

(These aren't generic anecdotes, but documented in critical identity and history academia)