During the regime of J. B. Baldwin as Supreme Grand Master of the Supreme Grand Lodge he has dealt in the undertaking business, the casket business, and other side enterprises in aid of the burial and insurance features of the Grand Lodge, which inured to the enjoyment and enrichment of the Supreme GrandMaster
Judge CONGER (Georgia)
By Joe H. Snow
Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Georgia
I will give you the story of the history of Modern Free and Accepted Mason as told by them that can be found at http://www.angelfire.com/il3/ezekiel38/page4.html. This article will shape a picture for the connection between three bogus organizations, namely Modern Free and Accepted Masons, International Free and Accepted and Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Masons. I will now give you the Modern Free story as well as what the truth really is. I would hope that the members of these bogus group can see the light and stop being duped by these Modern day crooks that or only carrying out what the first crocks started.
The Modern Free Story
Modern Free and Accepted Masons of the World Inc. is a Benevolent Patriotic Society established to promote friendship and brotherly love among its members and to carry on benevolent works for the relief of the needy and helpless in our communities.
Our Masonic order was organized in November 1917, in Opelika, Alabama and initially entitled the Free and Accepted Colored Masons of America.
FACT: Modern Free was organized or came into existence about the year 1917, at or near Opelika, Alabama, when a group of from six to eight persons, said to be Master Masons,met and organized. Baldwin along with the others stated that they were once members of Olive Branch Lodge under the Jurisdiction of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Alabama and that there was a splint in the Lodge/Grand Lodge. This is not the case, there is no evidence that I could find to prove where Baldwin was made a Mason but he was not a member of Said lodge.
Between 1917 and 1921, the founding father, Brother Jerry Baxter Baldwin and other members, organized seventeen lodges throughout Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. The first grand Lodge, Lincoln, was established in Phoenix City, Alabama in 1921 with Brother T. M. Phillips. Grand Master Lincoln Lodge is still active and vibrant.
FACT: In 1924 delegates from a few subordinate lodges in two States (Alabama and Georgia) formed a Supreme Grand Lodge, and that J.B. Baldwin was elected the Supreme Grand Master of the Supreme Grand Lodge, which office he has held continuously and at all times since.
The Free and Accepted Colored Masons of America, was incorporated as an independent Masonic order on December 3, 1921 in Jefferson County Alabama.
FACT: Baldwin and 11 other men were granted a charter by a court of competent jurisdiction for the County of Jefferson and State of Alabama on November 17, 1921, and it was named in the application for and the order granting the order 'Free and Accepted Colored Masons of America they were never issued a Masonic charter from and Masonic Grand Lodge.
A dream long held by Brother Jerry B. was becoming a reality. His dream was to organize a group of Black people who would dedicate themselves not only to understanding the principle of Freemasonry but also to apply those principles to improve the social conditions of their race. Brother Baldwin was intensely interested in everything that pertained to the welfare and advancement of Black people. He helped build business owned and operated by Blacks and loaned money to save homes and farms during the great depression.
In 1924, Brother Baldwin was elected the first Supreme Grand Master of the Free and Accepted Colored Masons of America, and under his guidance the organization grew in unity and membership.
By 1927, the Royal Palm Lodge #3-a was chartered in Columbus Georgia. The Past Worshipful Master of this lodge was Brother T. McBride, who joined the Lodge in 1935. In the 1930's the Free and Accepted Colored Masons of America struggled to survive. Those were harsh times for all of America. The Stock Market Crashed in October of 1929, and in the next three years the bottom dropped out of the economy. However, "We should be proud of our fraternity", noted Brother N. A. Nall, Supreme Grand Deputy Master in 1945, "for we survived when few institutions stood the test of those hard times.
The Free and Accepted Colored Masons of America not only survived but grew. The first Eastern Star Chapter Tennie Wilson #174 was organized on Opelika, Alabama in 1936. Additional chapters were organized, including Smithfield Chapter #148, which became by 1940 the largest chapter with over three hundred members. By 1949, the first Grand Chapter, Silver Queen was established under the leadership or Sis. Dr. Esther Poole.
Sis. Poole became an Eastern Star at the age of eighteen and joined the Free and Accepted Color Masons in 1940. Between 1940-1960 she dedicated herself to organizing chapters and lodges and formed the first junior courts. She was committed to improving the quality of life for all people. She was the "organizer" and a "driver' before joining the Free and Accepted Colored Masons. In 1930 she formed the United Women Workers of America. This group was known as "the better half" of the United Mine Workers. Sis. Poole was an embalmer, hairdresser, pianist and a poetess. After many years of outstanding performance as a Star, she became the first Supreme Grand Matron of the Free and Accepted Colored Masons of America. She died in 1971.
Other Stars who joined the Free and Accepted Colored Masons in the 1940's include, Sis. Fannie Rushings of Hoyts Pride Chapter #195, our Longest serving Worthy Matron and Sis. Alma Patterson of Tennie Wilson Chapter #174. In February 1945, the Free and Accepted Colored Masons of America authorized their four principle officers: J.B. Baldwin, Supreme Grand Master, N. A. Nall, Supreme Grand Deputy Master, C.S.G. Boom, Supreme Grand Junior 'warden, to amend the certificate of incorporation, changing the organization's name to the Supreme Grand Lodge, Modern Free and Accepted Colored Masons of the World. The word "Modern" reflects the members' belief that while the ritualistic and symbolic aspects of Freemasonry are important, it is more important to practice in daily life, the Eternal Truth and Universal Themes underlying the rituals and symbols.
Ten years later; on April 4, 1955, the certificate of incorporation was amended. This third amendment changed the name of our order to its' present one, Supreme Grand Lodge, Modern Free and Accepted Masons of the World, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. As the name indicated this amendment established our affiliation with the Scottish Rite.
FACT: This affiliation with Scottish Rite was due to that fact that Mr. Baldwin then GM of Modern Free had created a monster by trying to call out John Wesley Dobbs Grand Master of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Georgia he created a monster and GM Dodd’s set out to do what he stated and that was destroy the Bogus Modern Free Group in the state of Georgia by taking them to court.
105 F. Supp. 315, *; 1951 U.S. Dist.;
92 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 406
MOST WORSHIPFUL PRINCE HALL GRAND LODGE, FREE & ACCEPTED MASONS, OF GEORGIA v. SUPREME GRAND LODGE, MODERN FREE & ACCEPTED COLORED MASONS OF THE WORLD
Civ. A. 362
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT GEORGIA. COLUMBUS DIVISION
105 F. Supp. 315; 1951 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3724; 92 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 406
December 28, 1951
The Judge ruled on the following
Whereupon, it is considered, ordered and adjudged, That the defendant, Supreme Grand Lodge, Modern Free and Accepted Colored Masons of the World, be, and it is hereby, enjoined, collectively and individually, including the agents, officers, associates and representatives,
(a) From appropriating and employing the ritual ceremonies of the plaintiff and using any insignia, name, emblem, badge, symbol or paraphernalia of the plaintiff;
(b) From using the words 'Free and Accepted' in its orders, by-laws, initiations, publications, letterheads, or otherwise.
It is further ordered that this decree and judgment shall not take effect instanter, but that the same shall remain and be in abeyance [**18]for a period of one year from this date, so that the defendant may either orderly dissolve and discontinue its business as now carried on or merge with the York Masons or some other legally constituted and legally existing Masonic body.
If during the twelve months period above provided there should be a merger or consolidation of the defendant with some other legally constituted Masonic body, that fact shall be made known to the Court in a competent and evidential manner; but if no such merger takes place within the twelve months period, the full force and effect of this decree shall become binding and effective twelve months from this date.
Because of the heavy court costs and the unequal ability of the parties to pay, I am not assessing the whole cost against the defendant, which would ordinarily be done, but I am assessing the cost two-thirds or 66 2/3 per cent against the plaintiff, and one-third or 33 1/3 per cent against the defendant.
With Modern Free being summonsed to court and facing it’s ultimate demise William V. Banks Supreme Deputy Grand Master for Modern Free who would later go on to found International Modern Free and Accepted Masons started to make his move to establish his Bogus Organization in Detroit Michigan. Baldwin found out what William V. Banks was attempting to do and suspended him from the Bogus Modern Free Order.
This affiliation was set up by the merger of Modern Free with the United Supreme Council Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, 33rd and Last Degree, Southern and Western Jurisdiction, United States of America, Grand Orient of Washington District of Columbia.
The merger was executed by brother J. B. Baldwin, Supreme Grand Master and Brother J. M. McMath Supreme Grand Treasurer of Modern Free, along with James A. MacDonald the Sovereign Grand Commander of the United Supreme Council.
The United Supreme Council, first organized in 1895, and reorganized in 1918, had jurisdiction for the United States, its territories and dependencies.
The consolidation with this organization empowered Modern Free to establish Scottish Rite Consistories and to confer degrees from the fourth through the thirty-third and last degree. The merger also meant that Modern Free was a part of those Masonic orders linked to the First Council of the Ancient & and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry organized in Paris, France in 1758.
FACT: The Chevalier de Bonneville established a chapter of twenty-five degrees of the so called High Degrees in the College of Jesuits of Clermont, in Paris in 1754. The adherents and followers of the House of Stuarts had made the College of Clermont their asylum they being mostly Scotchmen. One of the degrees being the “Scottish Master,” the new body organized in Charleston S.C. in 1801 , gave the name of “Scottish Rite” to these degrees , which name ever since that time has characterized the Rite all over the World of which more anon.
The Illustrious Stephen Mourin, of Paris had been commissioned and empowered to establish the Scottish Rite in the United States and this degree was conferred upon David Leary, a prominent "colored Mason”, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1850.
FACT: In 1761 Stephen Morin was invested with the power by the Grand Consistory of Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret in Paris on the 27th day of August 1761 to carry the “Rite of Perfection” to America. He received a Patent, as his credential. Signed by Chaillon De Jonville Substitute General.
David Leary was not initiated by Stephen Mourin but rather by one Count De St. Laurent an Inspector General of the Supreme Council of France that conferred the degree on David Leary and several other colored mason in Philadelphia in 1850. They went on to establish King David Supreme Council in Philadelphia.
Leary was granted, by the Supreme Council of France, a patent of power and authority and directed to establish a Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite among "colored Masons" in the United States. Two Supreme Councils were created; one with its See at the Grand Orient of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the other with its See at the Grand Orient of Washington in the District of Columbia. These were the only two regular and legal Supreme Council of the thirty-third and last degree among "colored Masons" in the United States, that is with the right and authority to confer the several degrees and establish bodies of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.
FACT: The first Scottish Rite organization among colored Masons appeared in Philadelphia in 1820 under the title of African Grand Council. It was believe to be derived from the West Indies. King David Supreme Council of Philadelphia was the first body of Prince Hall Masons to assert and proclaim itself a council of the 33°. In 1855 a merger was discussed between the two Supreme Councils, a merger that later took place and African Grand Council came under the Jurisdiction of King David Supreme Council with David Leary as S.G.C. There was a second Supreme Council started in Washington D.C. around 1869 but this is not the Supreme Council that the bogus African American Scottish Rite Grand Lodges can lay claim to. This will be discussed more in my article on the true history of African American Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Grand Lodges in the U.S.
The new authorities and powers secured by the merger helped Modern Free strengthen its effectiveness and increase its membership. Two additional Grand Lodges and additional Grand Chapter were established in 1955 in Georgia; Joppa Temple, the Ill. W. R. Waters, Grand Master, Luxor Temple the Ill. Miles B. Austin, Grand Master, and Electa Grand Chapter, Sis. C. B. Carter, Grand Matron.
The 1960's were the years of change for Modern Free. Growth in national membership continued, the establishment of international lodges and Chapters began, and major changes in Modern Free national leadership occurred. Membership increased when Tennessee was organized in 1962, under the direction of the Ill. Edward Emory and two Grand Chapters were established, Elizabeth Grand Chapter Mississippi, 1962, Sis. Willie Barnes Grand Matron and Morning Star Grand Chapter Florida, 1967, Sis. Florence Jones Grand Matron. Sis. Poole organized the first Junior Courts in 1968: Paal #68, Modernique #67 and Emulators #68. These courts are no longer in service, but at one time Modern Free had 50 Junior Courts in the United States and twelve in the Bahamas.
The government of Fraternal Order, underwent what was in 1967, a drastic change as the first Eastern Stars were placed on the Supreme Grand Council. Sis. Pole and other members had worked diligently to implement this change.
Other significant changes in Modern Free's National leadership occurred in 1967. The Ill. Jerry Baldwin, who had served as Supreme Grand Master, left due to ill health. He died March 23, 1978. In respect of his excellent leadership and service, Modern Free created an expression of appreciation to the member who best exemplifies the spirit and work of Brother Baldwin. The Modern Free Headquarters building in Columbus, Georgia (Baldwin Hall) has also been dedicated in memory to the first Supreme Grand Master.
After Brother Baldwin's Resignation, the Ill. Frank Wooten was elected Supreme Grand Master in June 1967. During his administration a major membership drive was launched with focal points in Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and the Bahamas.
Reaching the Bahamas, fulfilled part of Modern Free's objective to establish members around the world. In 1969, the Mecca Grand Lodge was established in Nassau , Bahamas with the late Brother L.L. Dean as Grand Master. In 1973 the Heroines of Jordan Grand Chapter was organized with Sis. Annabel Dean, wife of Brother Dean, who became Grand Matron.
Brother Frank Wooten resigned and the Ill. Arthur Ray assumed the office of Supreme Grand Master for a short period. In the early 1970's Modern Free requirements for a national leader who could guide the organization to higher levels of success, brought the Ill. Henry H. Williams to the office of Supreme Grand Master. Brother Williams was elected and installed in office in June 1971.
Sis. Poole, the first Supreme Grand Matron died in 1971, and in 1971 another very accomplished Star, Sis. Maragret Belcher, became the Second Supreme Grand Matron.
Under the leadership of Brother Williams Modern Free focused on moving to a higher plane of fraternalism, leadership and economics. Brother Williams who was a builder by profession built more than structures of brick and mortar . He worked assiduously with Modern Free members and leaders to build an organization that would 'Serve the Present Age'.
In the 1970's our motto, "We Serve The Present Age", was fulfilled in the establishment of five additional Grand Lodges and four additional Grand Chapters:
Markham Grand Lodge, Mississippi, 1971
Ill. Hosea Tyler, Grand Master.
B'Natural Grand Lodge, South Carolina,
1976, Rev. Levan Johnson, Grand Master.
Progressive Grand Lodge, Illinois, 1977,
Ill. Freddy B. Jones, Grand Master.
Tombs of Solomon Grand Lodge, Florida,
1973, Rev. Thomas C. Jones, Grand Master.
Cornerstone Grand Lodge, New York.
Ruth Grand Chapter, South Carolina, 1976
Sis. Ruth Boyd Grand Matron.
Crown and Scepter Grand Chapter, North Carolina, 1977
Sis. Josephine Davis, Grand Matron.
Elizabeth Grand Chapter, Illinois, 1977,
Sis. Shirley Williams, Grand Matron.
Esther Grand Chapter, New York.
In the 1980's international expansion increased and between 1983 and 1985 two Lodges and three Eastern Star Chapters were organized in Toronto and Ontario, Canada. In addition to Canada, Modern Free international has extended to Germany, West and North Africa, and as far East as Korea.
The current Supreme Grand Master Sov/ILL Gregory McClain 33° was elected June 28, 2003. The other elected officers are: Supreme Deputy Grand Master, Sov/ILL Melvin Cooper, 33°; Supreme Grand Senior Warden, Gr ILL Victor Sanders, 33°; Supreme Grand Junior Warden, Gr ILL. Gene Linton 33°, Supreme Grand Secretary, ILL. Billy Gaddis; Supreme Grand Treasurer, Sov/ILL. Larry Dixon, 33°. Grand Master Sov/ILL Gregory McClain 33° now leads the entire organization World Wide and has major plans for Modem Free going into the next millennium.
Our Mission Statement:
1) Modern Free Masons Inc. shall increase its members and territories.
2) We shall set the order on a stronger economic base providing more benefits for our membership and their offspring.
3) We shall expand the present headquarters into a multi-complex including major convention facilities, meeting rooms and other amenities for our youth and senior citizens.
4) Recognition and respect for Modern Free Inc. by all Masonic bodies and our communities throughout the various countries.
5) We shall establish major educational programs, provide
FACT: As you can see from their history and this article this outfit is as bogus as they come. It was determined by the Courts that they were bogus, had not received a charter to operate as a Grand Lodge from any Grand Lodge in the world and that this said Grand Lodge was nothing more than a Business venture for Baldwin his wife and is immediate cronies.
Just some of the findings of the Court as they relate to Modern Free and Accepted Masons and One J.Baldwin.
I find that the defendant was organized or came into existence about the year 1917, at or near Opelika, Alabama, when a group of from six to eight persons, said to be Master Masons, [**10]met and organized.
I find that the defendant, or its legal predecessor, was granted a charter by a court of competent jurisdiction for the County of Jefferson and State of Alabama on November 17, 1921, and it was named in the application for and the order granting the order 'Free and Accepted Colored Masons of America.'
I find that by an amendment to the charter of the defendant on February 27, 1945, the name of the defendant was changed to 'Supreme Grand Lodge, Modern Free and Accepted Colored Masons of the World'.
I find as a matter of fact, and it was introduced in evidence, an insurance certificate showing that the defendant had been doing business in the State of Georgia since 1924; that they were authorized officially to do business in the State of Georgia by the Secretary of State on October 18, 1950.
I find that in 1924 delegates from a few subordinate lodges in two States (Alabama and Georgia) formed a Supreme Grand Lodge, and that J.B. Baldwin was elected the Supreme Grand Master of the Supreme Grand Lodge, which office he has held continuously and at all times since.
I find that the defendant uses the same ceremonies, rituals, insignia, symbols, [**11]emblems, signs and paraphernalia as use by the plaintiff and the York Masons.
I find that as a matter of practice the defendant recognized the plaintiff as being legally constituted and lawfully existing, and its individual members as being legitimate Masons. It also recognizes the legality of the organization and the existence of the York Masons, and recognizes its members as being legal Masons.
I find that neither the plaintiff nor the York Masons recognized the defendant as being legally organized and constituted, because it has no writ, warrant or charter from a superior legally existing body.
I find that the plaintiff is very antagonistic towards the defendant and evidences an uncompromising attitude, but, on the other hand, I find that the York Masons are friendly towards the defendant, and that conferences between the high officials have been had and negotiations commenced looking towards the consolidation of the two or the taking over of the defendant by the 'York' Masonic group.
I find that the defendant has since about the year 1918 been almost if not completely dominated and controlled by J. B. Baldwin, its Supreme Grand Master of its Supreme [**12]Grand Lodge.
I find that the Supreme Grand Master appoints the Deputy Supreme Grand Masters, and that they are under his direct control and supervision.
I find that the interest of the defendant is pretty largely that of insurance or burial aid; that ninety-eight per cent of its members carry one or the other; that the Supreme Grand Officials receive their compensation, which is quite remunerative, [*320]from that feature of the organization, and that they have recently increased the amount of insurance permissible up to $500, effective September 1, 1951.
I find that during the regime of J. B. Baldwin as Supreme Grand Master of the Supreme Grand Lodge he has dealt in the undertaking business, the casket business, and other side enterprises in aid of the burial and insurance features of the defendant, which inured to the enjoyment and enrichment of the Supreme Grand Master.
. I find that according to the evidence of the defendant it has approximately 2,200 members in Georgia and approximately 10,000 in other States, and that ninety-eight per cent of the members carry either burial benefits up to $100 or endowment benefits up to $300. They only have on hand [**13]the sum of approximately $7,000 in cash, equity in buildings worth $6,000 or $7,000, and mortgages and security deeds of approximately $8,000, some not signed, others improperly executed, and in all of which J. B. Baldwin is the grantee.
I find that the defendant does not have or carry any bank account or any bank deposit, but that the treasurer handles the funds in cash and keeps them in currency in a box about the house, or elsewhere.
I find that the treasurer and all the officers handling money, except the Supreme Grand Master, are under bond with the Maryland Casualty Company, but the funds of the defendant have been lost on two or three occasions, and some of its records have likewise been lost or misplaced.
I find that when a member of the defendant dies, entitled either to endowment insurance or burial benefits, the beneficiary or party entitled thereto is immediately paid by check drawn on the personal account of J. B. Baldwin, and he is subsequently reimbursed in cash by the Supreme Grand Treasurer.
I find that the defendant's use of the words 'Free and Accepted' is an infringement on the real name or trade name of the plaintiff and is such a colorable [**14]imitation thereof that the general public, in the exercise of ordinary care, might think or be led to believe that it is the name of the plaintiff, who had the first and prior right to the use of the name.
I find as a matter of fact that the use of the words 'Free and Accepted' by the defendant is a fraud against the plaintiff, who is entitled to the use of those words, and that the dominant, controlling master mind of the defendant, J. B. Baldwin, intended to create the impression in the minds of the public that he and his group were the ancient and original 'Free and Accepted' Masons, which they are not.
I find that the adoption by the defendant of the words 'Free and Accepted', which are the distinctive features of the plaintiff, was done by the defendant with the intent to deceive and defraud the public and reap the benefits of plaintiff's good will, to the injury and damage of the plaintiff, and to the confusion of the public.
I find, according to Masonic jurisprudence, that the defendant was not regularly and lawfully organized, since it never had any charter, writ, or warrant of authority from any superior body.
I find that because of the manner of its organization, [**15]the manner of its existence, the fact that it is largely a one-man institution, the fact that it is apparently more interested in the insurance feature than in the fraternal and benevolent features, because they were to give a candidate three degrees in one night, that the defendant is not authentic, that it is from a purely Masonic point of view spurious and illegitimate, and that it has no right to use the words 'Free and Accepted' in its Masonic name.
The history of the Symbolism of Freemasonry the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite and the Royal order of Scotland by William R. Singleton volume 7.
The Scottish Rite in the Prince Hall Fraternity by Harry E. Davis published the Masonic Craftsman of November and December 1942.