Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Bob Riley's Sinister Purpose, Part II

In writing yesterday about the dark side of Alabama Governor Bob Riley, I was reminded of a story that surfaced briefly in the fall of 2006 but has mostly faded from view.

Perhaps the story needs to be re-examined in light of the fact that John McCain, a close friend of Riley, is the likely Republican presidential candidate in 2008.

In fall 2006, Birmingham talk-show hosts Russ and Dee Fine reported on Riley's membership in the Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons of Alabama. This secret society is still governed by documents forbidding membership to "negroes or other inferior races."

Russ Fine was amazed that The Birmingham News refused to touch the story. "It is far more important and sinister than former Florida Congressman Foley's homosexual dalliances," Russ Fine said. "Why? Because a sitting Republican governor is a member of an organization that discriminates against black citizens of his state and a sitting president came to Alabama to endorse and fund raise for him the Thursday after we were fired on Monday."

Yes, you heard that right. The Fines were fired shortly after helping to bring Riley's Grand Lodge membership to public light.

We now know that Riley has quite a history of sticking his nose in other people's business--messing with other people's livelihoods.

That tendency has been most on display in the case of Montgomery insurance executive John W. Goff. Goff has filed a lawsuit against Riley and others, claiming they conspired to ruin one of his businesses. Apparently as a result of the lawsuit, Goff has become a target of a Justice Department investigation.

A hearing on the lawsuit was to have been held on February 5, but that has been delayed. Riley and other defendants had moved that the lawsuit be dismissed, but Goff's lawyers moved that the suit be consolidated and transferred to Judge Eugene W. Reese. A hearing on that motion is scheduled for March.


AMFM said...

Here is the smoking gun Part I

From the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Alabama 1876
Page 23, 24 & 25

“As to Negro Masons”

“Whereas, the question of the recognition of Negro Masons has been made more than usually prominent during the last year; and whereas this Grand Lodge has a well-settled opinion upon this subject, which she desires most respectfully and fraternally to express to her sister Grand Lodges everywhere, and especially to those of the United States; she deems the present a fit opportunity to set forth the reasons which impel her to that opinion.

1. It is indisputable that whatever theory we adopt as to the origin of Masonry- whether that which carries it back to the original Father of mankind, and his immediate descendents;, or to Enoch and Noah; or to the building of King Solomon’s Temple; or arising from the constitutions of Pythagoras; or if we trace it back to the Eleusinain Mysteries; or to those of Ceres, and the institution of the Bacchanalia; or, what is most probable of all, the incorporation of the Roman builders under Numa Pompilius that theory carries us back to the Caucasian Race.

2. Masonry was originally, what it is mainly today, a social institution; intended for those who daily mingled in the ordinary walks of life, in business, in pleasure, and in the family circle; into which it is not credible that anyone of the Negro or any other of the inferior races, could have been admitted.

3. That Negroes have of late years been admitted into Lodges of Free Masons is due, it is believed, to the sympathy which has been excited for them by anti-slavery societies generally, and particularly by those of the United States; and that any were admitted during the revolutionary war by traveling Lodges belonging to the British Army, was due to the feeling which existed at that time against American patriots; a proceeding entirely at variance with the object of the formation of such Lodges, they having no right to confer the degrees upon any citizen or resident of the county in which they might be sojourning, but only upon members of the army to which such Lodges belonged.

4. Although it is usually said that Masonry is universal, and that in every clime Masons are to be found; yet it is only universal in so far as the Caucasian Race has carried it into every quarter of the globe; and if that race has sometimes admitted Negroes, and others of the inferior races, it has done so in violation of the original and fundamental laws of the Fraternity.

5. In view, therefore, of these facts, indisputable as they are conceived to be, the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Alabama seizes the present as a fit and proper occasion, to declare its purpose, under no circumstances whatever acknowledge the legality of Negro-masons, such acknowledgement being foreign to the original purpose of the Fraternity, and introducing an element of demoralization into the society.”

"Whereupon the Senior Grand Warden, Brother Henry C. Tompkins, offered the following resolution:
Resolved, That this resolution of the R.W. Grand Secretary, relative to Negro Masonry, be referred to a committee of three, to consist of the R.W. Grand Secretary, and Brothers William T. Wasball, and Henry A. Woods, with instruction to report as soon as practicable, and the resolution was adopted.

Brother Joseph H. Johnson, Chairmen of the Committee on the Grand Master's address,made the following report, and the report was received and concurred in, and the resolution adopted:-"

AMFM said...

Part II

“Masonry in Alabama”
By Joseph Abram Jackson
(Grand Historian)
“ADMITTING NEGROES TO MASONRY. The question of admitting Negroes to the fraternity has been brought up every few years, but doubtful had it ever been handled more firmly than in 1876. According to the Grand Lodge’s Proceedings, a resolution in 1876 set forth the Alabama Grand Lodge’s position on the subject. A few Grand Lodge jurisdictions had been reported to have admitted Negroes into membership in sympathy with anti-slavery societies and also a few had been admitting the Revolutionary War by traveling Lodges belonging to the British Army due to feelings which existed at the time against American Patriots. Although the number was obviously small, the Grand Lodge of Alabama was greatly stirred and very vocal on the matter. The lengthy resolution in 1876 carries the segregation origin issue on which seems to be based the Masonry stand all the way back to “the original Father of Mankind, and his immediate descendents; or to Enoch and Noah; or to building of King Solomon’s Temple; or arising from the constitutions of Pythagoras; or- back to the Eleusinian Mysteries; or to those of Ceres, and the institution of the Bacchanalia; or what is most probable of all, the incorporation of the Roman Builders under Numa Pompilius—that theory carries us back to the Caucasian Race.”
To most Masons, whatever all this means was surely for them to keep in line with the original and fundamental law of the Fraternity. It was therefore again resolved to not admit nor recognize Negroes as Masons. The issue has remained the same for 150 years among Alabama Masons.”

AMFM said...

The Following speech was given on the floor of the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Alabama in 1999.

Mr. Harris has since left Alabama due to the threats he received after this speech.

In 1999 Brother Alex Harris addressed the Grand Lodge of Alabama with these noble words:

"Most Worshipful Grand Master, Right Worshipful Grand Wardens, Brethren,

I have spent a lot of time thinking about what to say to you today. There are so many issues that could be addressed regarding recognition of Prince Hall Masonry. Eventually though, the argument always comes back to race. So I decided to acknowledge that fact and to stop trying so hard to avoid it. Some may be offended by the observations I am about to make. Some because they have watched quietly as their beloved Masonry has been used as a front for something they would never be a part of. Others because they will realize I am describing them and they have spent their lives convincing themselves they do not hold those views. And still others, who do not hide the fact they are racist, will be very upset because these statements will threaten the existence of our lodges as "whites only."
Many Masons have told me they could not support this resolution because their lodge will not support it. Others believe in recognition but are honest enough to admit they do not have the courage to stand up in lodge and say so. And still others believe in recognition but they will not support it because they feel Alabama is not ready for it.
Since when are we concerned about whether the population is "ready" to give up something that is blatantly wrong? Is not part of being a Mason having the courage to stand up for what is just and right, regardless of the consequences? Didn't we learn that from the Masonic founding fathers of our country? Of course, Alabama has been desegregated for over thirty years. We're ready. Brethren, this is 1999. The country has been integrated for a generation. The world has been integrated a lot longer than that.
Masons in the rest of the world, and the United States for that matter, can't fathom our refusal to accept Prince Hall Masons. The issue is gaining momentum. So far recognition has been granted, or is being negotiated, in thirty US Jurisdictions, seven Canadian jurisdictions and nine other foreign jurisdictions. The United Grand Lodge of England has recognized Prince Hall Masonry in eighteen jurisdictions. This means that every possible argument against recognition has already been debated and refuted in other jurisdictions and there is not a legitimate Masonic reason to deny recognition to Prince Hall Masonry.
My fear is that one day other jurisdictions will withdraw recognition from Alabama because they believe us to be clandestine since we refuse to recognize the brotherhood of all men. If you think it can't happen, talk to Masons in other jurisdictions. They are discussing it. Will their Grand Lodges take action? I do not know. If they do not address our lack of action then someone, somewhere, will do the same thing we have done here today. They will feel their Grand Lodge is ignoring a vital issue and propose a resolution themselves.
Too many Masons don't want to sit in lodge with blacks. Fine points of Masonry have been perverted to defend racism that would not be tolerated in the rest of society. You do not want to know the statements I have heard since this resolution was proposed. I am going to tell you some of them anyway because they should be heard.
You need to know what Masonry is harboring today. A Past Master told me there are lodges I should not visit because I might not make it out of there. Another Past Master stated that "My grand-children may have to go to school with them but I sure won't sit in lodge with them." He also stated that, if this resolution passes, he and all his sons would be forced to leave Masonry and that we would lose at least half our members. I have been asked "what is going on at your lodge with all this 'nigger' talk." I have been asked if I wanted to sit in lodges with "blue-gums." I have never heard that racial slur before, so I guess this has been an educational process too.I want to respond to a few of the statements you just heard. First and foremost... if, because I favor recognition, I would be in physical danger... then Masonry does not exist here anymore. Second... anyone who would leave Masonry, because Prince Hall Masonry is granted recognition, is a Mason in title only. Its lessons are obviously not in their hearts. We may lose a large number of members if the resolution passes. So mote it be. Let them trade their aprons for white sheets with hoods. We are better off without them.
There are those who are livid with me right now. They are thinking, "How dare he say that!" or "Saying things like that is a Masonic offense!" or "He should remember his obligation!" My response is this... If speaking the truth, no matter how unpopular, is a Masonic offense, I am guilty and you should expel me because I am going to continue speaking these truths until we do the right thing.
My dear brethren... We are men, but more than that we are Masons, but more than that we are the creation of the Great Architect Of The Universe. Let us not sully his creation by letting it be associated with evil actions or beliefs. Have the courage to STAND UP and say you will do what is right.
STAND UP and say you will no longer allow the order to be used to perpetuate racism. STAND UP and announce that we believe in the brotherhood of ALL men. But most importantly, remember the trowel you were presented with at your raising... remember what it teaches us... and then stand up and vote that Prince Hall Masonry is now, and always has been, a legitimate branch of Masonry that the Grand Lodge of Alabama should grant full fraternal recognition to."

Thank you.
Alex Harris

AMFM said...

Bob Riley is fully aware that the Grand Lodge of Alabama will not allow Black Masons to visit their Lodges.

He also knows that no Black could ever join any Lodge of the Grand Lodge of Alabama.

This story has been buried far too long and its time Light removes the clouds so all can see that the Governor of Alabama is a willing member of the Grand Lodge of Alabama where hate, bigotry and intolerance are a fact of life.

He has the option to join Free-Masonry that is liberated from the Hate but he retains memebrs in an organization that equates the Klan.