Welcome news coming out of Alabama's Annual Communication on Tuesday is that the Grand Lodge of Alabama F&AM has voted unanimously to recognize the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Alabama F&AM. The Prince Hall Grand Lodge requested recognition only, and the Grand Lodge of Alabama approved their request as it was written. There has been an initial stipulation by them of no inter-visitation or affiliation at this time, to be renegotiated in ten years, but that has historically not been an unusual first step around the country. That will undoubtedly soon change. For example, in Kentucky a similar situation was first stipulated, and they achieved full recognition in two years. So these are all basic beginnings.
Bravo to all who helped this development to come about.
Meanwhile over in Georgia at the Grand Lodge of Georgia F&AM at their October 27th Annual Communication, I understand they once again tabled a request to recognize their own Prince Hall counterpart, without so much as any discussion of it. And another attempt to remove the by-law wording banning homosexual members from Masonic membership in that state failed. 70% of attendees voting against removing it.
The MWPHGL of Alabama announced the joint recognition vote in its official communication issued on December 1, 2017 by MW Corey D. Hawkins, Grand Master. It reads as follows:
As voted upon and passed unanimously at our 147th Annual Communication, to go into effect simultaneously with their passing of the same, the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons of Alabama has entered into an amity/mutual recognition agreement with the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons of Alabama (Caucasians). The amity/mutual recognition went into effect on November 14, 2017, when the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons of Alabama (Caucasians) voted in favor of the amity/mutual recognition agreement.
The amity/mutual recognition agreement contains the following safeguards in addition to both Grand Lodges maintaining our separate existence:
1.) There shall be no visitation at neither the Subordinate Lodge nor Grand Lodge levels;
2.)The Amity/Recognition Agreement shall never constitute future merger;
3.) There shall be no instance of demitting to the other Jurisdiction; and 4.) The Amity/Recognition Agreement shall not be amended nor revisited within ten (10) years from the date of acceptance, November 14, 2017.
This amity/mutual recognition does not change anything as it relates to our lack of interaction with the Grand Lodge of Alabama (Caucasians). It simply opens the door for recognition with other Grand Lodges. I have clearly stated what thesafeguards of this agreement are. One may ask, “What good is recognition without visitation?” I say to you, although this is 2017, unfortunately there are some thoughts and ideas of the Jim Crow era that still exist here in the State of Alabama. Realistically, we have some brothers from both sides who do not wish to have visitation. However, I do believe that the amity/mutual recognition agreement is a move in the right direction. We must crawl before we walk. We will continue to operate as we have for the past 147 years. Take notice and govern yourselves accordingly.
Image H/T: KingAthgelstan on Reddit