Radio station WGPR-FM has been in a bit of turmoil lately. It’s an “urban” radio station in Detroit with a very peculiar story. Currently, the station has been LMA’ed (leased) out to Radio One, the national “Black Radio” network based in Washington DC. If you read the account on Wikipedia, local listeners are outraged that the programming is now just canned music with no local announcers or community involvement – that’s not unique to this station as radio withers away.
Back in the mid 1980s (pre-internet) I got into an extended conversation on a BBS (Bulletin Board Service) with a black doctor close to Coleman Young, the mayor of the Black Nation of Detroit. The discussion started with his reaction to something I posted about affirmative action that he took offense with – over about a six month period, we had a wide ranging (but civil) discussion about the purpose of affirmative action and whether it would actually achieve its goals. Eventually, I put him on the defensive about the lack of women doctors in medicine, and wanted to know why that statistical difference didn’t prove deliberate sex discrimination and proposed that affirmative action should be used to solve the obvious discrimination that was oppressing women perpetrated by hateful men like him – and how the medical profession should end this violation of women’s civil rights and needed to adopt “goals and timetables” to resolve this denial of civil rights.
I went so far as to create the timetable and spreadsheet showing how it would still take decades to achieve balance if every single medical school was forced by the EEOC to require every student to be a female to correct the injustice. Suddenly, he decided that maybe affirmative action wasn’t such a good idea after all unless it only benefited him – and feebly asserted that maybe the reason there were so few women doctors was they didn’t really want to be doctors or didn’t want to work hard. 🙂
During that discussion, the subject of Masons came up – I’m a bit fuzzy on how – probably me wondering if he would agree that the FreeMasons / Shriners were part of a global conspiracy to oppress black people…. that’s the connection – I had brought up the “Shrine of the Black Madonna” (the church in Detroit at the heard of the Black Nationalist movement) and asked him if the Masonic Shriners that build hospitals to give free care to children were part of the conspiracy to oppress black people and had stolen the name Shriners.
I was more than a little surprised that he quickly agreed with that statement – that those white (arab? Scottish?) guys who ride around on little toy cars in parades wearing red fez hats are really the white racists running the world, and “stole” Masonry from Blacks (just as Jesus was really a black man and the “so called European Jews” had created a fake religion called Christianity to hide the truth and control black people). Okay…. We moved on from there, and I didn’t pursue it one way or the other. This bitter hatred runs very deep in the Black Communisty, and some people very close to the current President believe all of this nonsense as well and more.
The Wikipedia article mentions that the radio station is owned by International Free and Accepted Modern Masons. It turns out that in the City of Detroit, there was a group founded on exactly that idea in 1950, writing their own Charter and creating an entirely new organization. This is all tied in with the Black Nationalist movement that was emerging at the time primarily in Detroit and Chicago. I can accept that in 1950, the Masons didn’t allow black members, and maybe that’s still true today.
If you poke around the Internet (which didn’t exist when I had that conversation), it turns out this group is a “fake” mason organization that adopted the trappings of Masonry, but has no connection with the actual organizations. The self-description is a “new fraternal order founded upon those Christian principles that denied no person the right to fraternalize regardless of race, color, or creed. “, however you’ll be shocked to learn that all of its members are black – there is no exclusion based on race, of course..
2101 Gratiot Avenue is the world headquarters of the group.
The original Detroit Masonic Temple was built in 1926 and is a huge building. In this article, you can read the story of “From Grandeur to Ghetto” about how the Moslem Shriners finally gave up on paying rent and left the city leaving the building to its ultimate fate – it sits right next to the long ago abandoned Hotel Fort Wayne.
Both are within walking distance of the Michigan Central Train Station, another remnant of past civilization
The city where I grew up (Pittsburgh) had a similar Masonic Temple in Oakland that I remember being in at least twice
It was sold in 1993 to the nearby ever growing University of Pittsburgh for $8 million. For being the secret society that rules the world, the Masons sure don’t seem to be doing very well.