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
“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
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
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
Brethren are 3 D'd... Well dressed, well drilled and well degreed!
Master Wilbert M. Curtis
Master Curtis being presented a special candle.
Grand Master also received a gift of a Dashiki.
Grand Master's wife Mrs. Curtis received a gift of a tablecloth.