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Birth of The Southern and Western Supreme Council
ancient Accepted Scottish Rite



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The Birth of the Southern & Western Jurisdiction was in the year 1856.
Historical documents and archived records indicate several affiliated Members of the The King David Supreme Council of Philadelphia PA. located in Washington D.C. petitioned for the Scottish Rite degrees. On May 5, 1856 they were given the Scottish Rite degrees and worked under the King David Supreme Council from 1856 to 1869 in that year the D.C. members wanted to administer the Scottish Rite degrees for themselves. Therefore, In the year 1869, Edward M. Thomas 33rd, John P. Costan 33rd, John A. Gray 33rd, Henry H. Dade 33rd, John H. Smallwood 33rd, Adolphus Hall 33rd, and several others residing in the city of Washington D.C. petitioned to have a Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite (A.A.S.R.) duly organized and constituted at Washington, D.C. for themselves. That is when W. M. Thompson 33rd, Jonathan Davis 33rd, J. W. Warlett 33rd, W. H. Riley 33rd, Cyrus G. Burton 33rd, J.W. Henderson 33rd, and George W. Hopewell 33rd of the King David Supreme Council of Philadelphia, PA. on the 5th day of April, 1869, in the city of Washington, D.C. and in compliance with the Grand Constitutions of 1786, regularly organized and opened a Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for the Southern and Western Masonic Jurisdiction, United States of America. The Ill. William H. Thomas 33rd was elected as its first M. P. Sovereign Grand Commander. This United Supreme Council for the Southern and Western Masonic Jurisdiction has continued to meet regularly since 1869 down to the present time. In 2018 in N.C. the Ill. Otis F. Clopton 33rd turned over the leadership of this prestigious organization to the Ill. Joseph L. Thomas 33rd, and he now has the honor of being the present Sovereign Grand Commander. At one time there existed in this country, as late as 1881, five Supreme Councils among Colored Masons all claiming the right and authority to confer the several degrees and establish bodies of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite (A.A.S.R.) throughout the Americas. These Original 5 Supreme Councils operated independently of each other during their time of existence. And unlike today, members then could have membership in more than one Masonic Jurisdiction at the same time.
Unfortunately, that crossing over of Jurisdictions was the ground floor for the problems we have today with so many different Masonic Orders among historically Black Masonic Organizations, causing infighting and unhealthy competition for membership many times the same members. The Five Original Prince Hall Supreme Councils were...
(1.) 1854 King David Supreme Council in Philadelphia with David Leary.
(2) 1864 United States Supreme Council in New York with Peter W. Ray
(3) 1869 Southern & Western Supreme Council in Washington with William H. Thomas.
(4) 1870 Southern Supreme Council in Baltimore with Lemuel G. Griffin.
(5) 1871 King Frederick Supreme Council in Philadelphia with Joshua D. Kelley.
The constant discourse and lack of Masonic Harmony caused the separate groups of Supreme Councils to come together for a very important meeting to resolved their differences on jurisdiction and membership in New York on January 13, 1881, and was responsible for the Articles of Union. The results of this historic meeting proclaimed the following:
"We do hereby make it known unto you that there are Only Two Regular and Legal Supreme Councils of the thirty-third and last degree of the A. A. S. Rite of Freemasonry among Colored Masons in the United States of America.... King David Supreme Council in Philadelphia will Unite with the United States Supreme Council to form the United Supreme Council of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States of America with its Holy See at the Grand Orient of Philadelphia, in the State of Pennsylvania, to be presided over by the Ill. George W. Roper, 33 rd., M. P. Sov. Grand Commander (Completed on April 9th, 1881.) The other Supreme Council will have its Holy See at the Grand Orient of Washington, in the District of Columbia (D.C.), and it will be the Southern and Western United Supreme Councils to be presided over by the Ill. Thornton A. Jackson, 33rd (Completed on January 27th, 1887). These two Supreme Councils of the thirty-third degree are the only true, lawful and legitimate Supreme Councils among colored Masons in the United States of America, with relations of correspondence and amity established and the appointment by each of a Grand Representative near the other." In compliance with the Grand Constitutions of 1786, regularly organized and opened a Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for the Southern and Western Masonic Jurisdiction, United States of America. William H. Thomas 33rd was elected its first M. P. Sovereign Grand Commander and this United Supreme Council for the Southern and Western Masonic Jurisdiction has continued to meet regularly since 1869 down to the present time where the Ill. Joseph L. Thomas 33rd of LA, has the honor of being the present Sovereign Grand Commander.




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