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What is the United National Supreme Council?

Ben Steelman
StarNews
The late Windell Daniels sits behind the wheel of one of his United National Tours buses at his Market Street headquarters. Daniels, a principal organizer of the United National Supreme Council, was a leader in Wilmington’s black business community before his death in July 2008. StarNews file photo

The late Windell Daniels sits behind the wheel of one of his United National Tours buse. Daniels was a leader in Wilmington’s black business community before his death in July 2008. StarNews file photo

The United National Supreme Council, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, is a Masonic organization headquartered in Wilmington at 810 Wooster St.

It is apparently the only Masonic group ever founded in Wilmington. Chartered by the state of North Carolina on April 8, 1980, it had its organizational meeting on May 31, 1980 at the Greentree Inn in Wilmington. The late Windell Daniels, a business and civic leader and a former board member for the Wilmington Housing Authority, was one of the principal organizers and was a longtime grand commander of the group in Wilmington.

The United National Masons, as they are known, have lodges and chapters in 10 states and the District of Columbia. The group also has a presence in Japan. Membership is primarily African American.

The questioner asked if the United National Supreme Council is “legit.” That can be a tricky question with Masonic groups, said William D. Moore, a former historian at the University of North Carolina Wilmington who is now an associate professor of American culture at Boston University.

During the 1800s and early 1900s, Prince Hall Masons – who accepted African-Americans as brothers – tended to split off and form separate grand lodge organizations, said Moore, the author of “Masonic Temples.:

“Tracking the history of these African-American Grand Lodges is difficult as they can be ephemeral and evanescent, and their records also don’t end up in libraries and other repositories where they are accessible,” Moore  said. “They also frequently have similar names drawn from Masonic culture such as King David Grand Lodge, King Hiram Grand Lodge, and Tyrian Grand Lodge.

“Although unrecognized by the white Grand Lodges and the Prince Hall Grand Lodges, these groups have members who are fiercely loyal and believe strongly in the importance of their own organizations.”

The United National Supreme Council recognizes 33 degrees, like mainline Scottish Rite Masons, and it has its own women’s auxiliary called the Order of the Eastern Star. The Wilmington, group, however, is not affiliated with the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite (Southern Jurisdiction), nor by the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of North Carolina.

It is recognized by The Haitian American Grand Orient of Florida, the King David Grand Lodge of North Carolina, the Tyre Grand Lodge of Texas and the Exodus Grand Lodge of Virginia.

Other mainstream Masonic bodies might dismiss groups like the United National Masons as “clandestine” or “unrecognized,” Moore noted. Nevertheless, he added, “they are taken seriously by their participants and serve a purpose within their communities.”

For more on the United National Supreme Council, visit its website at www.unmasons.com.

RELATED LINKS:

How has the Masonic Temple building changed over the years?

Are there any secret societies in Wilmington?

 

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tee johnston

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