Georgia Black Mainstream Mason Is Black Balled Again
The Second Time In His Masonic Journey
By Worshipful Brother Frederic
Sometimes lightening strikes twice – to the same
spot. When it does you know that either God is in control or the fix is in. In
the case of Gate City Lodge #2, Atlanta, Georgia it is definitely the latter.
You might remember the articles The Beehive
published in 2009 -
My Brother’s Keeper, Open Racism in Georgia Freemasonry
Georgia: Not Such A Peachy Masonic State describing the
machinations that the Grand Lodge of Georgia went through to try to keep out a
Black African-American. His name was Victor Marshall and he was raised to the
sublime degree of Master Mason by Gate City Lodge #2, after which the Worshipful
Master was brought up on charges – of “allowing a non-white man to join
Freemasonry” – that were approved by the Grand Master.
Since no Black Man had been initiated in Georgia
Freemasonry in 275 years, the charges were interpreted that “Ancient Lights” of
the Grand Lodge of Georgia prohibited Black Men from becoming F & AM. The
charges called for the Worshipful Master to be expelled and the Lodge to lose
its Charter. Mortified by this blatantly evil and certainly illegal affront to
the Lodge, and having had first-hand experience with “Masonic Justice”, David
Johnston and David Llewellyn, members of Gate City Lodge No. 2 and attorneys,
filed for an injunction in civil court against the Grand Lodge of Georgia.
Oooppps – The Grand Lodge never thought the public would find that out. When
they did and the resulted outcry reached a clamor of disdain as the story spread
throughout the nation, the plaintiffs in the case revoked their charges and the
Grand Lodge of Georgia ultimately backed down deciding that was one battle they
could not win.
They say by doing that one lives to fight another
day. And that other day has arrived. Victor Marshall and Zeithlin Waters from
Gate City Lodge #2, both Raised on the same night and having studied their
catechisms together, submitted applications to the Atlanta Scottish Rite Body.
Now the first thing that you have to understand about the story that will unfold
here is that it is SOP to ballot on an entire class with one ballot for all. And
so on November of 2010 the
entire class of applications including Marshall and Waters was balloted upon.
One or more black balls were cast on the first ballot. Then and only then was
an individual ballot cast for each applicant one at a time. Marshall and Waters
were the last two to be voted on and both were blackballed. All others were
approved. No comments were made on the ballot and the two Brothers were informed
that their applications were not approved and that it would be six months before
they could reapply.
of 2011 a called Communication of the Scottish Rite Valley of Atlanta was
held for the purpose of balloting on a new class. This class did not include
Marshall & Waters for they were still waiting out their 6 months to reapply. As
was the custom the entire class was balloted upon with one ballot. On the first
ballot one or more black balls were cast. Each petition was then read
individually and subsequently black balled. The whispered speculation was that
Gate City Lodge members or sympathizers were striking back for the black balling
of Marshall and Waters. The Personal Representative to the Grand Master rose to
say how ashamed he was to be a Mason that night – thus commenting on a ballot
which is actually unmasonic and a chargeable offense.
of 2011 at a stated meeting of the Scottish Rite Valley of Atlanta was
held with business being among other things balloting on candidates once again.
This vote was taken on a few new petitions as well as all of the candidates
black balled in March. Again Marshall and Waters were not included. On the first
ballot for the entire class one or more black balls were cast. The individual
petitions were then read and balloted upon. Each petition was rejected (black
The SGIG arose to speak castigating any who would
use the ballot for retribution and declaring how ashamed he was of the way this
process had worked out. He went on to say that whoever threw the cubes was
suffering from a mental illness. He declared the ballot null and void
and then took the unprecedented action
of healing the ballot declaring all petitions granted. He also ordered the
black balls expunged from the personal records of those who received them.
October of 2011 a called Communication of The Scottish Rite Valley of
Atlanta was held for the purpose of voting on petitions. For this called meeting
a limited number of summonses had been sent out. Not everybody was called to
this meeting. This was a new class of 30 with Marshall and Waters added. It
had been almost a year since they had been black balled. They could not get
into the spring class of 2011 as not quite six months had lapsed since they had
been black balled. They had waited their 6 months and reapplied. Before the
vote, the SGIG advised all called to vote their conscience. But this time around
the voting would not operate in the usual manner. The entire class
would not be balloted upon en masse as was the custom. Right from the start each
candidate would be balloted upon individually, and Marshall and Waters were
ballots number 29 and 30, the last two. In the hour and a half that
ensued, twenty eight candidates were approved but the 29th and 30th,
Marshall and Waters, were blackballed. Once again the SGIG rose to thank all who
participated for voting their conscience. But he did not heal Marshall and
Waters as he had done with the class of April 2011. He did not ask that the
black balls be expunged from their Masonic records either.
This is where you can say the fix is in. The very
actions of the leadership involved in this process leads to that conclusion. The
SGIG and The Personal Representative to the Grand Master were only ashamed of
any black balling when it did not involve Marshall and Waters. Comments were
made by those in power after the balloting process in the 2nd and 3rd
cases but not in the 1st and 4th when Marshall and Waters
were being considered. The rules or the customary methods of procedure were
changed at the leadership’s whim. The SGIG could heal an entire class but he
couldn’t heal just two others. He could heal a whole class in one month not
making them wait 6 months to be voted on again but he wouldn’t extend that
privilege to Marshall and Waters. In both instances where candidates were voted
on individually Marshall and Waters were always the last two to be balloted
Of further note, the crowd at the ballot box
swelled when Waters and Marshall’s petitions were being voted upon. Yet, during
the two votes when entire classes were being cubed, there was an instance where
a Grand Lodge of Georgia Officer stopped an entire line of voters from
proceeding by refusing to move forward to cast his ballot. At one point, only
three people, other than Scottish Rite Officers, were voting.
Georgia Mainstream Freemasons think they have won
the second battle, round two. But they thought the same way in the first round
before the publicity forced them to retreat. Here we are again fighting the same
fight and calling upon all Masons nationwide to put pressure upon The Scottish
Rite, Southern Jurisdiction to act in a Masonic manner, put an end to such
shenanigans and heal Marshall and Waters without further comment. If we did it
once we can do it again. The ball is in your court, Brother
Update March 11, 2013
Brothers Often Talked To,
You correspond with Brothers for years. You get to
know them really well. Or perhaps you go through a particularly trying time just
once with a Brother long distance. That’s enough for a strong bond. But still
there is something lacking, the joy of a face to face relationship.
Bro. Marshall, PM Fred Milliken, PM Mike Bjelajac and PM
Beaux Pettys of Gate City Lodge No. 2
Such was the case for me with the Brothers from
Gate City Lodge No 2, Atlanta, Georgia.
That is until I finally made it to Atlanta.
In town for the 2013 Phylaxis Convention, I got
together with Brothers Beaux Pettys, WM Victor Marshall, PM Mike Bjelajac and
Carlos Peon all from the Mainstream Grand Lodge of Georgia.
Perhaps you remember the story of African
American Brother Victor Marshall who the Grand Lodge of Georgia tried to expel
because of the color of his skin. And then after that battle was won when they
refused to admit him to the Scottish Rite.
In case those stories got by you here are the
Georgia: Not Such A Peachy Masonic State
My brother’s keeper. Open Racism in Georgia Freemasonry.
Georgia Black Mainstream Mason Is Black Balled Again
For The Second Time In His Masonic Journey
Mike Bjelajac was Master of the Lodge at the time
and it is upon his shoulders that much of the heat was applied. Just a few
minutes of conversation with Mike and you could tell why he handled it so well.
He is a mild mannered, kind Brother, the non excitable type.
The Gate City Lodge Brothers decided to dine with
me at the Phylaxis Society host hotel. This made for a good deal of interaction
between Brothers from different Grand Lodges. You would never know that Georgia
does not recognize Prince Hall by the way and manner in which brotherly love and
affection was demonstrated this night.
Another chapter in life has been experienced and
I am back home in Texas, now. But the joy of a time when we could break bread
together, laugh and hug each other and get to know something of the inner man
will live with me for many years hence. Truly there is no substitute for
fraternity and fellowship in person.