[Square & Compasses]

Letter of the month: January 2004

Message-ID: <004001c3df7b$1786fd80$7ee0fea9@hal1000>
Reply-To: "Hal Pallister" <hpallis@mts.net>
From: "Hal Pallister"<>
To: <masonry-ask@mit.edu>
Subject: Masonry Question
Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2004 11:30:26 -0600

Was Martin Luther King a Freemason? I seem to have seen photos of him in a parade with masonic regalia. I looked in the MLK website and could not find my answer. thanks Hal


To: "Hal Pallister" <hpallis@mts.net>
Subject: Re: Masonry Question
In-Reply-To: Your message of "Tue, 20 Jan 2004 11:30:26 CST."
             <004001c3df7b$1786fd80$7ee0fea9@hal1000> 
--------

Dear Hal,

No, Dr. King was not a Freemason. He may well have been invited to march in civic parades with various Masonic groups, but he would not have been entitled to wear the apron of a Mason.

You may have read that sometime in 2001 Dr. King was posthumously "made a Mason at sight" by the Grand Master of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Georgia. This is a meaningless honor, and is not recognized by any other Masons, and may not even be recognized in Georgia any more.

A Grand Master has the right to make a man a Mason "at sight" -- which means to skip the usual delays and let that person take all three degrees in a single (long) lodge meeting. It's a very rare honor, and it could certainly have been conferred on Dr. King in his lifetime. Nearly any lodge in the country would have been honored to do so! But it wasn't, he never asked, and you can't properly give Masonic degrees to deceased people -- the voluntary nature of taking the degrees "of one's own free will and accord" is absent.

So, sorry, nope. We would be proud to claim Dr. King as a brother Mason, but we cannot.


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| Gary L. Dryfoos <dryfoo@mit.edu>| Ocean Lodge AF&AM, Saugus, MA (PM)
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