Masonic Order of Liberia

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The Masonic Order of Liberia is a fraternal organization based on the principles of Freemasonry. It tended to restrict its members to Americo-Liberians and was very influential with the ruling True Whig party from its founding until the coup of Samuel Doe in 1980. It no longer has much if any political power.

Origins[edit]

The Masonic Order of Liberia was formed based on principles of Freemasonry, which had been gleaned by former slaves from their masters in the United States prior to their being "returned" to Africa under the auspices of the American Colonization Society. The Lodge was founded by Prince Hall Freemasons.[1]

Expansion[edit]

The Grand Lodge of Liberia was founded in 1867.[2] By the 1970s there were 17 subordinate lodges and the majority of Liberia's high-ranking officials were Masons.[2]

Political dominion[edit]

Matters of state are widely believed to have been decided from within the lodges.[2] Being a Mason was a veritable prerequisite for positions of political leadership in the True Whig Party.[2] Liberia's Masons were criticized for this, as well as for the exclusion of indigenous Liberians from their ranks.[2]

Banning and Re-establishment[edit]

Former Masonic lodge palace in 2006

After Master Sgt. Samuel Doe assumed leadership in a coup d'etat in 1980, the political monopoly formerly held by the Americo-Liberians and the Masonic Order was destroyed and the Masonic Order's influence in Liberia was greatly diminished. The former president of Liberia, William R. Tolbert, Jr. was also the order's Grand Master.[3] Freemasonry was banned by Doe in 1980.

In 1987 there was a special Prince Hall meeting held in New Orleans to elect a new Grand Master, and this was followed by a meeting in Monrovia in 1988.[4]

Civil War[edit]

During the First Liberian Civil War, the lodge palace in Monrovia was the scene of many battles.[5] and its ruins became home to 8000 squatters.[6] The Masons managed to evict them by 2005[6] and there are plans to rebuild the lodge.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Tragic History of Freemasonry in Liberia, Chris Hodapp, Freemasonry for Dummies Blog
  2. ^ a b c d e Monrovia - Masonic Grand Lodge
  3. ^ The Tragic History of Freemasonry in Liberia, Chris Hodapp, Freemasonry for Dummies Blog
  4. ^ The Tragic History of Freemasonry in Liberia, Chris Hodapp, Freemasonry for Dummies Blog
  5. ^ Old Ruling Elite Making a Comeback in Liberia, Tim Sullivan, Associated Press, September 29, 2001.
  6. ^ a b Liberia- No More War, Jessie Deeter, Frontline (PBS), May 2005.

External links[edit]