Saturday, April 7, 2018

Clearing Up More Belcherism: United Grand Lodge of New York and their status with the National Grand Lodge



Background

Having recently engaged in a discussion that I was tagged in, by Mr. Belcher, I have decided to go into detail regarding my position on the United Grand Lodge of New York. Mr. Belcher is the "grand proponent" of the doctine of "continued existence". This doctrine is rooted and founded on the belief that the Prince Hall Origin group (or as he has deemed it, the OTHER PRINCE HALL MASONS) are a direct descendant and continued lineage of the original National Grand Lodge. The preponderance of evidence and available documentation would not support a "continued existence" theory promoted by PHO hardliners and sympathizers. This writer is in the process of writing a full examination and rebuttal to the "continued existence" theory in the very near future. For now, I would like to layout a prime example of how the main voice of this theory has the inability to present an accurate interpretation of documentation, as well as his propensity to empower his revisionist tactics with bad data.

Primary vs Seconday sources

In the course of the discussion with Mr. Belcher, he posted the following document, as a source to support his position that the United Grand Lodge of New York was a member Grand Lodge to the National Compact:

 Posted by Mr. Belcher 4/4/2018 "The Other Prince Hall masons FB Group


Transcription of the article:

"Notice To All Whom It May Concern.--The United Grand Lodge of the State of New York, has this day resigned all connection with the so-called National Grand Lodge, now holding its session in Philadelphia, of Free and Accepted Colored Masons.
In behalf of the United Grand Lodge of the State of New York, 
Jacob R. Gibbs, R.W.D.G.M."

The above document was published in 1849. 

As a supporting document, Mr. Belcher posted the following:

posted by Mr. Belcher 4/4/2018 (Other Prince Hall masons FB group)

The above article, published in 1848, shows that the United Grand Lodge of the State of New York participated in a parade with other Masons of the National Grand Lodge, which was hosted by the United Grand Lodge of New York.

On its face, I could understand how one could erroneously believe that the documents prove undoubtedly, that the United Grand Lodge of New York was part of the National Grand Lodge. We have an article that says that they RESIGN ALL CONNECTION, and an article with a parade, led by the United Grand Lodge of New York, in New York. 

What Mr. Belcher failed to comprehend, with his presentation of the documentation, is that he failed to present the primary source, which would have definitively provided the answer to the question.

What is a Primary Source?

Primary Sources
 are immediate, first-hand accounts of a topic, from people who had a direct connection with it. Primary sources can include:

Texts of laws and other original documents.
Newspaper reports, by reporters who witnessed an event or who quote people who did.Speeches, diaries, letters and interviews - what the people involved said or wrote.Original research.Datasets, survey data, such as census or economic statistics.Photographs, video, or audio that capture an event.

Mr. Belcher seemed to be suffering from "selective reasoning" during the disucussion. He stated that a document issued by the United Grand Lodge of New York, in 1849, which was published in the 1855 publication, Lux Et Veritas, was not a primary document. The publication, Lux Et, Veritas, staring on page 8, published a circular, issued by the United Grand Lodge of New York.

I will post the circular in whole hereafter:


The above page gives us who issued this particular circular, none other that the United Grand Lodge for the State of New York. It was issued to the Grand Lodges (colored) who remained Independent. So, we have a primary document, based on the fact that it was indeed issued by the United Grand Lodge of New York itself. This was not an interpretation of a document from the United Grand Lodge of New York, but rather, the publishing of the actual document by Hiram Grand Lodge of Delaware, as it was sent to them from the issuing body.


Page 9 provides the reasoning behind the decision of the United Grand Lodge of New York to resign any connection to the National Grand Lodge. We will get into the timeline a little later. It is the last paragraph that will begin to bring light to the question of their status with the National Grand Lodge. They stated that on June 26, 1849, that the National Grand Lodge ATTEMPTED to expel them.


On this page it states that the United Grand Lodge of New York intended to DEFINE [their] POSITIONS.



On this page, we find the United Grand Lodge was "formed in a LEGAL and CONSTITUTIONAL MANNER, and HOLDS THE SOLE AND UNINTERRUPTED JURISDICTION" in the State of New York. This is important, because they are declaring that they were never subordinate to masonic body, including the National Grand Lodge. The last paragraph begins the events that led to the formation of the National Grabnd Lodge.


The United Grand Lodge on this page begin to lay out the events of the formation of the National Grand Lodge. Boyer Lodge, one of the founding Lodges of the united Grand Lodge of New York, did send a delegation to the formation of the NGL. What MUST be noted is that according to events, the only parties to the signing of the Articles of Union (1847), were Grand Lodges. Thus, Boyer Lodge was not privy to the signing, because they were not a Grand Lodge. The first National Compact, which the Articles of Union represent was between the three Grand Lodges that then existed in 1847:

Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts
First Independent African Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania
Hiram Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania

Boyer Lodge was NOT a part of the Compact at all. They did not meet the basic quaification of being a Grand Lodge.

Pg. 23 National Masonic Union, Woodlin (1855)

Now, this page tells us why we see United Grand Lodge still dealing with the Grand Lodges that comprised the National Grand Lodge, although they, themselves were not members. They stated that because of the situations in New York, they overlooked some of the issues that they had with the formation of the National Grand Lodge, and wanted to see where the Union went.


The United Grand Lodge of New York declred that there was some indignities perpetrated against them by the National Grand Lodge. The NGL, being led by John T. Hilton, as National Grand Master, having a long standing beef with Boyer Lodge, sheds light on the veracity of their claim. John T. Hilton was directly involved with all of the issues between African Lodge No. 459 and Boyer Lodge, when attempting to issue the former a charter that was rejected by Boyer. In 1845, we find Hilton stating to the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, when questioned regarding their relationship to Boyer Lodge, that they had no dealings with Boyer. The fact, that after the formation of the Grand Lodge in New York, they did not immediately take a warrant from the National Grand Lodge could also be a source of the indignities. In the page above, the United Grand Lodge of New York stated that they held their decision to join the Compact in ABEYANCE (or they tabled their decision until the next Annual Communication). They were not a member of the National Compact in 1848, this by their own words.



And we find that the report/circular was reported to the Grand Lodge on July 26, 1849, and adopted by the Grand Lodge, at a Special Communication July 30, 1849. With this primary document, being the words of the United Grand Lodge of New York itself, being a statement to the Grand Lodges, we can conclude definitively, that the United Grand Lodge of New York was NOT party to the National Compact. Boyer Lodge was not party to the National Compact as well.

Timeline

Now we can put the timeline in place with all the documentation being viewed:

1826 Boyer Lodge, already being a Lodge, petitioned African Lodge No. 459 for an INDEPENDENT WARRANT, which would make them independent of the jurisdiction of any Grand Lodge or Lodge in the world.

Charter was denied initially, because it was a facsimile of the charter issued to African Lodge No. 459 by the Grand Lodge of England. Boyer demands an Independent chrter.

1827 African Lodge No. 459 declares independence from the 1784 Charter, and assumes the power of a Grand Lodge.

They then attempted to reissue an independent Charter to Boyer Lodge.

1846 John T. Hilton sends out the invitation to all the existing Masonic bodies (colored) to go into Convention.

1847 Masonic Convention, attended by African Grand Lodge of Mass, First Independent African Grand Lodge of Penn., Hiram Grand Lodge of Penn., and Boyer Lodge (Boyer not a Grand Lodge, and not subordinate to any of the Grand Lodges present). Boyer not included in the Articles of Union.

1848 Boyer and three other Lodges in New York for United Grand Lodge for the State of New York.

Note: According to the Articles of Union, a Grand Lodge had to make application to the National Grand Lodge for a warrant, and receive that warrant to become a party to the National Compact. The United Grand Lodge of New York does not make application to the National Grand Lodge after formation, but held their decision in suspension until the 1849 Annual Communication.

United Grand Lodge of New York hosts the parade with the NGL in 1848, in New York, presenting themselves as a new Grand Lodge. There was no reception or application for warrant at this time.

1849 Report from the Committee on Correspondence delivered to the Grand Lodge. United Grand Lodge of New York holds Special Communication to decide on membership in the NGL. Grand Lodge adopts the report from July 26, 1849, resigning to have any connection to the National Grand Lodge.

With the inability of Mr. Belcher to provide any document that would show the application, warranting, or even the installation of Grand Lodge officers by the National Grand Lodge; as well as the report/circular published to all independent Grand Lodges (colored), in which, they declared to have never been a part of the Compact, we have a conclusive timeline and evidence that we must again, clear up the Blecherism that is being promoted regardin the staus of the United Grabnd Lodge of New York with the NGL.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Re-Print of READING OF THE MINUTES: REEVALUATING THE FORMATION OF FIRST INDEPENDENT AFRICAN LODGE OF PENNSYLVANIA

I am reposting this article that was published in the last issue of the Phylaxis Magazine. Many may not have access to the Magazine, but I wanted to give them the opportunity to get the information. This article can also be found on the Phylaxis website:
http://thephylaxissociety.com/index.php/our-magazine/published-manuscripts/111-the-reading-of-the-minutes-masterpiece

I am embedding the pdf directly from the website.

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http://landmarksofourfathers.com/

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Beware of Scheming Allegede Masons Peddling a Government Grant


Have you been receiving solicitations to apply for a federal grant from certain Facebook profiles of alleged members of the Masonic family?

Is the name of the new program, The Federal Government Empowerment program?

After receiving three solicitations from three profiles that appeared to be Master Masons, I decided to do some investigating. Being a certified Grant Writer and Consultant and operating a Nonprofit Services company, I had never heard of the program or the grant.

Whenever the Federal Government decides to allocate funds via grants, there will be an RFP or Request for Proposal sent out to various State agencies for listing or they will list them on their own website, grants.gov. Never will the Federal Government do third party solicitations for any of their RFPs.

I found out that the group is working through a website:
http://governmentgrant.com/

The issue arises when one visits the website and find this as a disclaimer:


"Please note that GOVERNMENTGRANT.COM a private website and is not associated with the U.S. government or any agency or department thereof. U.S. government agencies have not reviewed this information. GOVERNMENTGRANT.COM is a private advertising portal for third parties who advertise financial and grant related information. We may receive a commission or other remuneration from these third parties. Government grants may be obtained directly from the United States government and departments thereof, for free, without professional assistance at www.grants.gov, however qualification and other eligibility requirements may be required. This site is for general information purposes only and you should consult with a professional advisor or government official prior to applying for any financial assistance or government grants of any kind."



The "agents" doing the solicitations actually state that they are connected to the Community of Federal Domestic Assistance, which is another mistake, because that agency has a website:
https://www.cfda.gov/

The website has a disclaimer regarding "Unsolicited Contact". Their policy states:

"What should I do if I receive unsolicited contact from someone claiming to be a CFDA representative?

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) program does not use social media or contact individuals by phone to solicit, review, or make awards. Additionally, no government staff will call or message you requesting money in order to be eligible for an award. Please report any information and documentation that you have related to this incident to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) (www.ic3.gov) and your local law enforcement authorities."
Here is the solicitation used by one profile:
  • John Hairston


    It is, thanks for asking...Same extended...

    Where do you hail from?
  • Grady Cherry
    6/9, 8:39pm
    Grady Cherry


    Good I've try to reach you but couldn't get through you. I have something to share with you
  • John Hairston
    6/9, 8:40pm
    John Hairston


    Sure...
  • Grady Cherry
    6/9, 8:40pm
    Grady Cherry


    I was just wondering if you heard anything about CFDA (COMMUNITY FINANCIAL DOMESTIC ASSISTANCE)grants
  • John Hairston
    6/9, 8:40pm
  • Grady Cherry
    6/9, 8:41pm
    Grady Cherry


    It's a new program from federal government to encourage the empowerment of human right and poverty reduction. They help and support people who are interested in receiving fund for their business and personal use. Are you sure you have not hear about this yet?
  • John Hairston
    6/9, 8:42pm
    John Hairston


    No, but I will do some research on it...
  • Grady Cherry
    6/9, 8:47pm
    Grady Cherry


    Four people that i know got a grant and there tax refund from the federal government,and I also personally got it too,I am so happy I got $70,000,00USD in cash from the federal government

After explaining who I was and what I knew, the profile blocked me from being able to further expose the scheme. The same with this profile:



  • Frank Alston
    8/25, 6:56am
    Frank Alston


    Hi, how are you doing today ?
  • John Hairston
    8/25, 7:34am
    John Hairston


    I am good, You?
  • Frank Alston
    8/25, 7:50am
    Frank Alston


    I'm doing pretty good, hope you are good over there?
  • John Hairston
    8/25, 7:50am
    John Hairston


    No doubt...
  • Frank Alston
    8/25, 7:50am
    Frank Alston


    That's good to hear , how is your family been ?
  • John Hairston
    8/25, 7:51am
    John Hairston


    Been good...Yours?
  • Frank Alston
    8/25, 7:52am
    Frank Alston


    I'm good and very happy did i tell you that i won money from new federal government empowerment program?
  • John Hairston
    8/25, 7:54am
    John Hairston


    I have already had the program presented to me by two other Brothers.
  • Frank Alston
    8/25, 7:56am
    Frank Alston


    Really ?

    Tell me more about it then
  • John Hairston
    8/25, 7:57am
    John Hairston


    CFDA (COMMUNITY FINANCIAL DOMESTIC ASSISTANCE)grants

    It's a new program from federal government to encourage the empowerment of human right and poverty reduction. They help and support people who are interested in receiving fund for their business and personal use.

    Trust me, I have been presented with the program...
  • Frank Alston
    8/25, 7:58am
    Frank Alston


    Wow! so have you gotten your prize from them

    ?
  • John Hairston
    8/25, 8:01am
    John Hairston


    No, I haven't applied. I am a certified Grant Writer and Consultant...The program is not everything that they say it is...Trust me...
    For example...If there was a grant for that type of program, Grants.gov would have it listed on their site. As a Grant Writer and Consultant, I have access to RFPs that the common citizen has no clue of...I am registered with Puget Sound Grant Writer's Association....
    Now, give me the link to the program you are talking about...

    • John Hairston
    • 8/25, 8:04am
      John Hairston


      I was already aware that the program was a scam. I am too involved in Grant business to not have heard of the program...So when I investigated it, the facts came out that the government isn't offering the Grant, and I can bet you can't tell me which Federal Department awarded you the grant, and show me the award letter...
    • Frank Alston
      8/25, 8:05am
    • John Hairston
      8/25, 8:06am
      John Hairston


      They actually tell you this on the site:
      Please note that GOVERNMENTGRANT.COM a private website and is not associated with the U.S. government or any agency or department thereof. U.S. government agencies have not reviewed this information.

      So how can it be connected to the Federal Government?



After this conversation, I was blocked from the profile. Then today this profile attempted to try and present the scheme from a totally different angle:



  • Today
  • Gordon Keith Flowers
    4:31pm
    Gordon Keith Flowers


    I'm doing just fine thanks,good to hear that from you i have something to share with you
  • John Hairston
    4:32pm
    John Hairston


    Not the Grant money presentation is it?
  • Gordon Keith Flowers
    4:33pm
    Gordon Keith Flowers


    no what that all about ?
  • John Hairston
    4:33pm
    John Hairston


    Therr has been some PHA brothers trying to get brothers and sisters tied into a grant scheme...

    what you got for me?
  • Gordon Keith Flowers
    4:34pm
    Gordon Keith Flowers


    i was also told that did you apply

    ?
  • John Hairston
    4:34pm
    John Hairston


    It is a scheme
  • Gordon Keith Flowers
    4:35pm
    Gordon Keith Flowers


    yes

    i am going to apply for grant
  • John Hairston
    4:38pm
    John Hairston


    Good luck, I am a certified Grant Writer and Consultant. I have a membership with the Puget Sound Grant Writers Association and Grants.gov...I can assure you it is a fraudulent presentation
  • Gordon Keith Flowers
    4:39pm
    Gordon Keith Flowers


    so you mean i cant apply ?


Right before I could post the website for the fraud alert, this profile blocked me as well. Here is what Grants.Gov has to say about the alleged CFDA agents and third-party solicitors:


Scam Alert from the Federal Service Desk

June 3, 2015 - The Federal Service Desk (FSD) has recently been receiving claims from the public that CFDA agents have contacted them claiming that in order for the recipient to claim federal grant money they must first send the CFDA agent personal information or money.

Although the CFDA agent claims to be with the Community for Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) or a similarly named organization, and not the federally-run Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA), they do represent themselves as agents of CFDA.

CFDA does not use social media or direct phone contact to solicit, review, or make awards.

If you hear of anyone being contacted in this way, please advise them to pass all information to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) (www.ic3.gov) and their local law enforcement authorities.

So, if you are being contacted about this grant, it is a scam and fraudulent. It is my sincere hope that the profiles used were hacked, and that those Brothers were not involved in attempting to lure unsuspecting Masons and Eastern Stars into a fraudulent scheme utilizing the Federal Government as a cover.