Very positive coverage of a meeting between mainstream and Prince Hall brethren in North Carolina this week. Video of the gathering in Raleigh was on Charlotte's Channel 14. And the story made the Charlotte Observer as well:
Newland Road in north Charlotte, black and white Masons dressed in tuxedos and suits traded handshakes and hugs before entering for a secret, members-only gathering of rituals.
“I've been looking forward to this for a long time,” Herbie Watts, 65, a past worshipful master for the local Prince Hall lodge, told a group of white Masons as they arrived.
He pulled out a yellow heavily worn card from his wallet, which documents the Prince Hall's charter dating back to the 18th century. He told the white Masons he'd been carrying the card in his wallet for 35 years.
He clasped his hands and took a deep breath.
“You're going to be in awe tonight,” he said. “These brothers are going to see something they've never seen before.”
The two Mecklenburg lodges had never joined in each other's official activities. Last week, though, 47 local Prince Hall members visited the white lodge for a first time.
Members in both Mecklenburg's black and white lodges say the meetings are big step toward mending racial differences.
“Those of us who feel very strongly about this, and feel we are all equal men and all should be equal Masons, are pushing to make this happen,” said Allan Mann, a junior deacon with the Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons. “I met one brother who told me he'd been a Mason for over 70 years and he never thought he'd live to see the day that he'd get to walk into one of our lodges.
“He brought a couple of tears to my eye.”
The recent recognition between the Grand Lodge of North Carolina AF&AM and the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of North Carolina as been widely publicized this year, and has been gratifying to see. Congratulations, brethren.