Continent To Continent

Masonic History In The Making

 By Worshipful Brother Frederic L. Milliken

Something that doesn’t happen every day of the week, no something that doesn’t happen every year, no something that doesn’t happen every decade…let’s put it this way. When was the last time you heard of a Grand Master traveling thousands of miles to another Continent to establish a Lodge under its jurisdiction (excluding military Lodges)? Well that is exactly what the Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas, the Honorable Wilbert M. Curtis has done.

An invitation was extended to Grand Master Curtis from a group of Masons, lead by Brother Louis Metan, from Cote d’Ivoire, Africa to organize and consecrate a Lodge there in the Prince Hall family under the jurisdiction of The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas.  On February, 7, 2012 Grand Master Curtis with a delegation of Prince Hall Texas Grand Officers arrived in Cote d’Ivoire to perform this mission.

The Texas Prince Hall Junior Grand Warden and Grand Historian, Frank Jackson, who was among the Brothers that made this historic trip tells us:

“Cote d‘Ivoire is a West African country with a surface area of 322,462 km, bordered on the northern part by Mali and Burkina, on the west by Liberia and Guinea, neighbored to the east by Ghana and on the south by the Atlantic Ocean. The population of Cote d‘Ivoire is estimated at 21,058,798 inhabitants in 2011. The political and administrative capital of Cote d‘Ivoire is Yamoussoukro (the economic capital is Abidjan), the official language is French and the currency is the franc CFA. The country is also a member of the Economic Community of West African States (E.C.O.W.A.S.).”

The Brothers of Cote d’Ivoire selected as the name of their Lodge Roots Lodge UD. Again Jackson informs us:

The Brothers of Cote d‘Ivoire chose the name Roots Lodge to symbolize the indomitable connectivity between Africans on the continent and Africans in the Diaspora.

Bro. Metan said, “The name Roots, is taken from Alex Haley‘s famous book, and is representative of men of African descent all over the world. Roots is a rallying name in which they all recognize themselves. Its powerful symbol-ism is sacred and spans time and space in answer to the distant call from our forefathers, who used similar symbolism with the adoption of the name African Lodge. The adoption of the name, African Lodge, in that time, was a call to Mother Africa from where they expected blessings to flow for the success of their ambitions. Likewise, the Brothers of Roots Lodge U.D. believe that the bond of union is established from now on between Africans worldwide and across centuries, provided that they use the Square and the Compass and are righteous.”

“This name also reflects the beginning of our Work, its roots. We pray that the originators and those that follow increase in the wisdom of the Sacred Law. The roots are also symbolic of a very strong African tree, the Iroko, under which we, like our ancestors pray for so many spiritual intercessions. On the banner the Iroko is white, to express the ingenuousness of our ambition and its capacity to progress forward in a perpetual cycle of accomplishment that never stops. The Master Mason‘s work never stops. The Iroko tree, super-imposed against the sun represents the dawn of a new day and more light. So this is how one must read our banner: the wisdom resides at our work, supported by Strength and adorned in Beauty. May we always express the fact of this boundless dream,” said Bro. Metan.

Before leaving Grand Master Curtis extended an invitation to Worshipful Master Metan and the Brothers of Roots Lodge to attend the summer Grand Session of The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas, June 21-24, 2012 and to perform the opening ritual for the Grand Session which they accepted.

On Friday June 22. 2012  Roots W.M. Louis Metan and his officers opened the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas’ 137th Grand Communication performing the ritual in the French language. As Arkansas Prince Hall Grand Master Cleveland Wilson was later to say, “I didn’t understand a word they said but I could follow exactly what they were doing.” The largest attendance of a Texas Prince Hall Grand Session in many a year gave the Roots Brothers a standing ovation that seemed as if it would never end.

Throughout the four day Grand Session the Brothers from Roots attended all the functions of the Grand Lodge, its business, elections and all the social functions, the festivals and banquets.  Whether at breakfast at the host hotel or during a break at Grand Session one by one Texas Brothers would engage them in conversation and exchange a token of brotherly love and affection. The language barrier didn’t exist for we all spoke the Masonic language, that understanding that only Brothers of the Craft can share.

Grand Master Curtis in his Allocution announced that Roots lodge UD was no more. Grand Lodge had voted to charter the Lodge as a full working Lodge. Now it was Roots Lodge #656 of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas. And he announced that Roots Lodge would be taking back with them a dispensation to open a second Lodge in Cote d’Ivoire. Soon he said there would be a third Lodge consecrated. This all follows a master plan. Three Lodges can come together to form a Grand Lodge. Someday in the near future there will be a Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Cote d’Ivoire.

The last day of the four day Grand Session was the Tri Installation of officers of The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas, The Heroines of Jericho and Eastern Star. At the very end W.M. Louis Metan made a special presentation to Grand Master Curtis. First of all he thanked all the Brethren for the great hospitality of the Grand Lodge. Having immersed themselves in the brotherly love and affection of all the Texas Brethren he said that he and his delegation were leaving with much joy and inspiration. He said that they all had listened, watched and learned from this experience and that they had received helpful information that they would take back to Cote d’Ivoire to use in Roots Lodge.  Lastly he presented Grand Master Curtis with gifts of the flag of Cote d'Ivoire, a special candle, a Dashiki and a tablecloth for Mrs. Curtis.

There remained nothing left to say but “au revoir mon frčre.”

Opening the Grand Session 2012

These Brethren are 3 D'd... Well dressed, well drilled and well degreed!

Grand Master Wilbert M. Curtis

Grand Master Curtis being presented a special candle.

 

The Grand Master also received a gift of a Dashiki.

The Grand Master's wife Mrs. Curtis received a gift of a tablecloth.

 

         

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