Before I begin to expound on the “links” I would first like to show respect for our innumerable amount of brethren who are valuable members of both the Grand United Order of Oddfellows and the Prince Hall Masons. It takes dedication determination and discipline to embark on such an endeavor in life’s search for knowledge! Let us pay homage to our Founders thrice !!! If it weren’t for them we probably wouldn’t be reading this, if it weren’t for Them there would be no We…..
Black fraternalism began with Freemasonry in the late eighteenth century and spread among free blacks during the 1800s. By the late nineteenth century, black secret societies included not only the parallel Euro-American Elks, Masons, Odd Fellows, and Knights of Pythias, but also a variety of independent orders, including the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, the Independent Order of St. Luke, and the Grand United Order of True Reformers. Some of the national societies had quite large memberships by the early twentieth century: Odd Fellows (304,000), Pythians (250,000), Masons (150,000), and the Elks (70,000……
In order to circumvent the racially exclusionary policies of American orders, African Americans sometimes sought and received charters from European bodies (particularly from England, as in the case of the Prince Hall Masons and Odd Fellows). Even more than the white societies, black secret orders served multiple functions. They helped to shape African American identity through rituals of brotherhood; protected members against poverty and other misfortunes; and supported movements for social change, including the antislavery movement of the nineteenth century and the modern civil rights and black power movements of the twentieth century. Black secret societies also offered more opportunities for prospective members to join multiclass and gender-integrated orders than did their counterparts..
Odd Fellowship and Freemasonry are two unrelated independent, and yet interrelated fraternal organizations with different traditions, purpose and principles, not one is higher or better than the other. Historically, the two fraternities actually have a good relationship with each other. In fact, it was not uncommon to find men who were members of both, and also not uncommon for the two Orders to split the rent or share one single building. There are also Freemason lodges that meet in Odd Fellows Halls and Odd Fellow lodges that meet in Masonic Temples. As a matter of fact, Florence lodge 2212, currently meets in a historic masonic lodge in Florence, SC boasting a membership comprised of many proud Masons!
We share a strong history in this country in that our founders were forced to go to the source of the two orders (England) after being refused based not upon the heart or the mind but hue of a man…..No need to dwell on it because assimilation into the world of fraternalism on that end would’ve swallowed our own identities and not afforded us our illustrious history of triumphs in the pale face of adversity! Our pride in ourselves and the work we have done throughout history speaks for itself! Besides that we’re also holding the linkage to the Mother Lodges (yea we know) !!! We share a unique bond in that we both have contributed nothing less than honorable worthy individuals to add to the prestige of the Orders world wide!!! I could go on for days y’all ! No need to brag because these are historical facts…
A few Officers that we have in common have been posted on this blog or @guoofcarolinas on ig . I’ll name a few for you to do your own research!
Norris Wright Cuney who was the first MWGM of Texas and DGM of Texas GUOOF
Dr. C.C. Johnson PMWGM for SCGL and DGM for District 13 S.C. GUOOF
Rev. Irby Dunklin Davis Grand Treasurer for SCGL and Grand Director for District 13 S.C. GUOOF
Rev. Henry Hannibal Butler Prof: Grand Chaplain for the GL of SC 1924 , District 13 Grand Treasurer / Endowment GUOOF
Dr. Robert Shaw Wilkinson was Deputy Grand Master of SCGL and served various offices in District 13 GUOOF
I’ll have to post a part two!
In the bond of Friendship Love and Truth