I was prematurely informed that mutual recognition in Florida was passed on Tuesday - that's not quite the case just yet.
The Grand Lodge of Florida F&AM voted Tuesday at their 189th Annual Communication to finalize the steps to mutually recognize as regular their Prince Hall counterparts – the Most Worshipful Union Grand Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, Prince Hall Affiliated, of Florida and Belize, Central America, Inc.,(established in 1870).
This comes nearly a decade after Florida's PHA grand lodge first reached out to their mainstream brethren by requesting recognition. The GL of Florida rejected those overtures in the past, and the PHA grand lodge dropped the subject. However, private meetings and off the record conversations reactivated the process in the last few months.
Following backchannel discussions between the two jurisdictions, the MW Union Grand Lodge of Florida developed options concerning terms by which they could accept recognition from the Grand Lodge of Florida. For their own constitutional reasons, those proposals had to lay over for 90 days – that period has not run its course yet.
So, what the members of the GL of Florida voted in favor of Tuesday was to grant the incoming Grand Master, John Karroum, the final authority to accept or deny terms of recognition after the MWUGLF undertakes their own voting.
I have not seen any official wording of the motion passed this week (it was NOT a written resolution, but it was passed almost unanimously), so it is unclear to me if there is an additional step required at the 2019 Annual Communication to finalize it. Nevertheless, both GLs appear to be on track to achieve mutual recognition within the coming year.
In several other states, joint recognition has been something like a dog chasing a speeding car who didn't know what to do with it once he caught the thing. A first step has sometimes been to recognize first without visitation, which was then worked out in subsequent years. It was recently that way at first in Texas, and it seems to be the current case in Alabama.
If Florida succeeds at all of the fine points of Masonic diplomacy, there will remain just seven mainstream, predominantly white grand lodges in the U.S. and Canada that have not recognized their predominantly black Prince Hall Affiliated (PHA) grand lodge counterparts: Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and West Virginia.