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Monrovia - Masonic Grand Lodge

Before the 1980 coup, political power, social status, and economic affluence were clearly linked and clustered in about a dozen Arnerico Liberian families. It has been observed that virtually all members of the upper class knew each other, whether they were kin or not. This was partly because the elite were few in number and concentrated in Monrovia and the coastal counties. But their familiarity could also be attributed to their shared membership in the churches, clubs, and fraternal orders that dominated their lives. Americo Liberians both men and women were usually members of at least one, and often several, of these organizations.

The most important of the fraternal orders was the Ancient, Free, and Accepted Masonic Lodge of Liberia. Founded in 1867, it encompassed 17 subordinate lodges in the mid 1970s. Before the 1980 coup almost all important social leaders and True Whig Party officials were Masons; many of them held high office in the Grand Lodge, as the chapter in Monrovia was known. It was generally believed that important decisions regarding national affairs were made in the confines of the Masonic lodges, a situation that contributed to resentment on the part of nonmembers, most of then of tribal background. In the 1970s the Masons were a dominant force, but their role was reportedly called into question by some younger members of the Americo Liberian elite and by persons of tribal origin who had attained membership in the Masonic Order by virtue of their education and upbringing as wards of Americo Liberian families.

The Masons were outlawed for a time after the 1980 coup, when the country's new indigenous rulers denounced them as fossils from Liberia's past. During the civil war the lodge was often the scene of fighting, which transormed it into a burned-out palace. By 2001 a handful of Masons sometimes gathered at the Lodge at sunset, parking their Mercedes out front and pushing aside the squatters who live inside to make new plans amid the wreckage. ["OLD RULING ELITE MAKING A COMEBACK IN LIBERIA" Tim Sullivan, Associated Press, September 29, 2001]

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Old Monrovia

Masonic Grand Lodge

Masonic Grand Lodge - Location

Masonic Grand Lodge

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:53:18 ZULU