I had to search through the archives of the Burning Taper to figure out that the writer was replying to an article posted here on March 13, 2006, which in fact was a reprint of a speech given by Bro. Harris at the 1999 Alabama Grand Lodge. Bro. Harris' speech called the Alabama Grand Lodge to task for failing to recognize Prince Hall Masonry, which is composed predominantly of black Masons.
I found the email fascinating, sad, and a bit disgusting, actually. I haven't heard the "I have friends who are black" and "there are some good black people out there" lines used to justify racial segregation since I was a child.
— Widow's Son
Here is the email, just as it was received:
BRO ALEX HARRIS,
FROM READING YOUR ARTICLE, YOU MAKE OUT LIKE ALABAMA IS THE ONLY STATE THAT DON'T RECOGNIZE PRINCE HALL MASONRY. WELL, I AM HERE ARE TO INFORM YOU THAT THERE ARE OTHER STATES THAT DON'T RECOGNIZE THEM AND THERE ARE MANY LODGES UP NORTH THAT WON'T LET THEM IN OUR LODGES EITHER. THAT DOESN'T MAKE ANY OF US RACISTS, WE JUST LIKE OUR LODGES THE WAY THEY ARE. IT'S ALL ABOUT PEACE AND HARMONY AMONGST BROTHERS. I HAVE MANY FRIENDS WHO ARE BLACK. YES, THERE ARE SOME GOOD BLACK MASONS OUT THERE BECAUSE I HAVE TALKED TO A FEW OF THEM IN THE PAST. IF YOU ARE SO INTERESTED IN RECOGNIZING THEM, YOU SHOULD HAVE JOINED A PRINCE HALL LODGE FROM THE START. FOR YOUR INFORMATION, I AM NOT A RACIST AND I AM NOT IN NO MEANS A MEMBER OF A HATE GROUP.
Images: Theophilus Eugene "Bull" Connor, Alabama police commissioner, public service commissioner and outspoken segregationist during during the 1940s, 50s and 60s, reportedly was a Freemason and a "very active" Shriner. It was Connor who ordered the police to have the German shepherd dogs attack protesters, and the fire department to turn their firehoses against them, in Birmingham in 1963. One disgusted fireman said later, "We're supposed to fight fires, not people."
Freemasonry | Masons | Alabama Grand Lodge | Racism | Bigotry | Racial Segregation | Prince Hall Masonry | Bull Connor | Civil Rights Movement