WORSHIPFUL MASTER'S MARCH 2011 MESSAGE

WBro Shawn ToddWBro Shawn ToddBrethren,

Throughout history, we are often challenged as individuals, but many times as a people. Sitting around the dinner table this weekend, my youngest daughter described to me some lessons she had learned at school about Slavery, and the Underground Railroad in recognition of Black History month. After minutes of listening to a great description of fortitude and determination, I asked her this. Did she know that the organization that her father, 2 grandfathers, and multiple ‘family’ uncles belong to – was a key player in this freedom?

The Underground Railroad was an informal network of secret routes and safe houses used by 19th-century black slaves in the United States to escape to Free states and Canada with the aid of allies, many who were Freemasons, who were sympathetic to their cause. The Underground Railroad consisted of meeting points, secret routes, transportation, and safe houses. Individuals were often organized in small, independent groups, which helped to maintain secrecy, since some knew of connecting "stations" along the route. Those fortunate enough to escape, used quilts as a map. There were ten different quilt patterns, however only one was ever used at a time. The quilts were hung in windows as a sign. The quilts, similar to our order, used symbols and patterns constructed on small ‘squares’ of material (in a square pattern of all things) that described certain stories by allegory. Some quilts that were used, taught them to be cautious “and double back” to avoid attention, leaned heavily on astrology for navigation, and utilized metaphorical patterns in laying out the map and route. Two of the ten patterns were the “Bow Tie” pattern and the “Cross Road” pattern. The bow tie pattern is thought to have been a strong tie-in to some of the Masonic founders of the Railroad, and would remind those to whom to lay their trust in. The Cross Road pattern taught them to square themselves, and represented the living and the dead.

Freemasonry has a strong presence in many of history’s most defining moments. This is just another great example.

You are the future of the lodge.

Shawn Todd WM