I have been posting a lot recently on the very diverse impact of Freemasonry on all sots of unsuspected aspects of culture. The British GUARDIAN just did a terrific piece on the relationship between Freemasonry and jazz – particularly Black Masonry of the Prince Hall tradition. I quote:
“Start digging into the history of freemasonry and you discover that [Duke] Ellington was just one of many renowned African-American musicians to be inducted into its mysterious world. He was joined by the likes of Nat King Cole, WC Handy, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton and Paul Robeson….
“By 1900, Prince Hall masonry had become a forum for politicised African-Americans, with Booker T Washington (1856-1915) and W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963) serving as active members. Throughout the 20th century, many key figures in the civil rights movement were attracted to freemasonry. The father of Martin Luther King Jr – Martin Luther King Sr (1900-84) – was a member of the 23rd lodge in Atlanta, Georgia. Medgar Evers, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) activist who was assassinated in 1963, was a 32nd-degree freemason in Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction. Alex Haley (1921-92), the writer of Roots and biographer of Malcolm X, was a 33rd-degree mason in the same order. Thurgood Marshall (1908-93), the first black member of the US Supreme Court, was supported by his Prince Hall lodge in Louisiana. The comedian Richard Pryor (1940-2005) joined a lodge in Peoria, Illinois, while actor and activist Ossie Davis (1917-2005), Paul Robeson (1898-1976) and the boxer Sugar Ray Robinson (1921-89) were all active Prince Hall masons.”
All the high notes indeed!