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6 The Reunion After Louisville the quarrel that sustained the great schism became increasingly complicated to explain and difficult to justify. The anger and the distrust remained obvious, but not so the underlying principle in the dispute. Sometimes it seemed only a legalistic excuse to keep fighting. The RWGL and reluctant white southerners made compromises that satisfied nearly all white members in the northern American states and Canada and many other Templars around the world, but not the leaders of the English and Scottish Grand Lodges or their Mrican American allies. At the London conference in October 1876, Hickman offered segregated black lodges and Grand Lodges in the American South, and Malins accepted in principle. This settlement failed over a secondary question: the status of the Hickmanite lodges in Britain during the months intervening between the London conference and the proposed simultaneous meetings of the rival international organizations . Mter rejecting an RWGL of the World olive branch in 1877, the old RWGL changed the Templar constitution in 1878 to promise Mrican Americans the right to membership through separate organizations . This concession came too late to appease the Malinites. In 1879 the RWGL of the World adopted a radical new policy of rubbing out the color line, to use a popular propaganda phrase, by prohibiting any kind of segregation.1 ,This insistence on racial integration made it much more difficult for the Malinites to accept a settlement that the Hickmanites could accept too. Ironically, the few lodges that the RWGL of the World managed to organize in the American South were de facto segregated. In 1881 the Hickmanites and Malinites negotiated for a second time. These London talks, which sought to terminate the expensive charter suit, included the leaders of the rival English organizations and their legal counsel. In December the negotiations broke down 126 The Reunion 127 over a narrow question: the Malinites' demand that black lodges in the former slave states be accorded the right to representation at the white Grand Lodge annual sessions when a black Grand Lodge did not exist. Negotiations revived in the mid-1880s. There was a false start. In 1884 Hickman suggested that the two factions restrict themselves to the Eastern and Western Hemispheres respectively, share passwords, and recognize each other's clearance and traveling cards. Under this proposal the RWGL of the World would surrender a very few members, mostly in Nova Scotia, while the RWGL would abandon many viable Grand Lodges from Ireland and Scandinavia to South Africa and Australia. When Malins asked Hickman's successor as RWGT if the suggestion was an official one, the answer was an emphatic no "in language that was rather more curt and less courteous than might have been desired."2 Another private intervention got negotiations going in earnest. In March 1886 a former secretary of the Hickmanite international organization, F.G. Keens of Nebraska, visited Malins at Birmingham . The GWCT of New York, W. Martin Jones, had written Malins to ask him to see Keens.3 Although Keens had voted for Oronhyatekha 's Substitute, he had supported the British at Bloomington in 1875, and when he had received a copy of the Manifesto he said he expected that Nebraska's executive committee would support it.4 Now, Malins suggested that Keens consult Dr. Lees, the most prestigious figure among the Hickmanites in England, and Stephen Wright, head of the Worthy Grand Lodge for the British Isles. This proved impossible because Keens was scheduled to leave England almost immediately. The failure to consult with Lees and Wright contributed to the subsequent sourness about reunion among the English Hickmanites. To supplement the briefinterview, Malins sent Keens a letter, in care ofJones, to present to John Finch, the head of the old RWGL. At first Malins minimized his interest in reunion and his willingness to make concessions. He told Keens that although he and his associates were "willing for a reunion, if it can be justly arranged," they did not "crave it." He insisted that the RWGL of the World, having eliminated the color line in its own organization, "cannot go back to the suggested compromise of 1876." He thought the only justification for the dual system would be a black organization's fear that it would be excluded from sharing power in an amalgamation. Despite his caution, Malins left the door open for negotiations: "We are doing very well as we are, yet we think the [temperance] cause 128 Temperance and Racism might be advanced by unity...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780813161518
Related ISBN
9780813119847
MARC Record
OCLC
903964986
Pages
224
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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