From an article in today's Atlanta Journal Constitution.
The Grand Lodge of Georgia Free and Accepted Masons, a fraternal organization, is being sued by an Atlanta chapter and its senior officer who say the group’s state leaders are trying to disband the local affiliate because it accepted a black man as a member.
The complaint, filed by Gate City Lodge No. 2 and its head, Michael J. Bjelajac, in DeKalb County Superior Court, also names Douglas Hubert Ethridge of Atlanta, Starling A. “Sonny” Hicks of Stockbridge and W. Franklin Aspinwall Jr. of Kingsland as defendants.
In the 31-page complaint, filed June 18, Bjelajac and Gate City claim when they accepted 26-year-old Victor Marshall into membership last fall, Hicks and Ethridge wrote letters to the state organization. The letters stated allowing a non-white man into the group violated the association’s moral and Masonic laws.
Hicks and Ethridge sought to have Bjelajac expelled from the group and the dissolution of the Gate City chapter, which has 190 members and counted the late Atlanta Mayor William B. Hartsfield among its ranks.
The story grows today.
The article, Masons' spat over black inductee spills into court (Associated Press) appeared in the Washington Post. the Boston Herald, and papers as far west as Colorado)
Meanwhile, Dick Petty in Insider Advantage Georgia reports the story, pointing out:
The suit not only brings unwanted attention to a group whose internal squabbles almost always remain behind the veil of secrecy, but potentially undercuts arguments by Gov. Sonny Perdue and others that the state’s racial progress in recent years makes its continued placement under rigid strictures of the Voting Rights Act unnecessary.