Continuity of conscience

“….Seventy-five, seventy-six, seventy-seven, seventy-eight, seventy-nine, eighty” counted Past Grand Master William Calhoun and I in the hallway of Hannibal Lodge No. 1 this morning.
We were in the presence of a wall filled with distinguished portraits and photographs in top hats and ceremonial garb of every leader of the lodge since its chartering in 1852.
Since 1930, the lodge has been in the same building at Baker and Bush Streets in San Francisco.
In 1855, Hannibal Lodge with Victoria Lodge, also still active in San Francisco, was one of three lodges, along with Philomethian in Sacramento, to form the Grand Lodge of Prince Hall Masons in California.
They’re part of the five organizations that we’re featuring on Friday, Nov. 12 during the fourth annual Preserving California Black Heritage conference at 4 p.m. at Marcus Books, 1712 Fillmore St.
It’s also the 20th anniversary of Our Roots Run Deep: the Black Experience in California, Vols. 1-4 and the 10th anniversary of Come to the Water: Sharing the Rich Black Experience in San Francisco.
Professionally, Calhoun is a librarian so he is one of the legion of dedicated volunteers who have been the repositories of so much of the history of African-Americans. He and other church and organizational historians will be participating as we discuss how to make sure that the proper historic landmark status is accorded to the hundreds of black historic buildings that we have documented in our context statement study for blacks in San Francisco since 1770.
The relevance of those organizations is the continuity of purpose, values and objectives which has been a hallmark of the black population since before the Civil War.
As Dr. Amos Brown, pastor of Third Baptist Church, also formed in 1852, noted Saturday night at the NAACP Freedom Fund dinner, he is attempting now to have the name of Peter Burnett, the governor who signed the right of testimony act and the franchise act in 1851 that disenfranchised blacks, removed from a school in Bayview/Hunters Point this year. Brown is a former leader of Hannibal Lodge. Other members range from Mifflin W. Gibbs, who led the exodus of blacks from San Francisco to British Columbia in 1858 to Willie L. Brown, former speaker and mayor.
Join us on Friday as we discuss not only landmarking buildings but infusing this content into the educational experience for today’s young people.

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