United Supreme Council History
The first Scottish Rite organization among African-Americans was the African Grand Council of 1820 in Philadelphia, which was referred to as a Council of Princes of Jerusalem. This Council arose through West Indian migration, for Stephen Morin had propagated the Rite there. The Organization of the King David Supreme Council grew out of the conferring in Philadelphia (1850) of the 33rd Degree by Count DeSaint Laurent (also, Larine) of the Supreme Council of France and the Grand Commander of the Council of Spain on David Leary, the first Black Inspector-General of the Prince Hall Scottish Rite.
In New York City, a Supreme Council of the United States was established in 1864. Also in 1864, a separate Supreme Council was formed in New York, which was made up of members from the National Compact Grand Lodge, from which a Southern Jurisdiction split off with the Headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland. From the Philadelphia Council, a Southern and Western Jurisdiction defected with Headquarters at Washington, D.C. In 1871 a fifth was established in Philadelphia, and was named King Fredrick Supreme Council. In 1881-1887, these five merged into 2 United Supreme Councils of the 33rd Degree: one for Northern Jurisdiction and one for Southern Jurisdiction.
Ill. Edward M. Thomas petitioned the King David Council, since he was residing in the District of Columbia, for the 33rd degree to be conferred on representative Masons in D.C., and on May 5, 1856, the conferment was made and a council was established. A fourth council was set up in Baltimore, Maryland and a fifth Council in Philadelphia. These 5 Councils petitioned for unity in a conference in New York City on January 13, 1881, and was responsible for the Articles of Union and two Supreme Councils of the Northern Jurisdiction (PHA) and the United Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction (PHA).
The constitutions for the Southern Jurisdiction were established in 1887 and revised in 1917 and 1955. The Southern Jurisdiction for the United Supreme Council, PHA, consists of the states: AL, AR, FL, GA, KT, LA, MD, MS, Missouri, NC, OK, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV, the territories of Arizona, New Mexico, the District of Columbia, and Alaska. The Northern Jurisdiction consists of the following states: CO, Connecticut, DE, ID, Illinois, IN, IO, KA, Maine, Mass, MI, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, NH, NJ, NY, ND, OH, OR, Pennsylvania, RI, SD, UT, VT, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and that of the states outside Continental United States. Alaska shall belong to the Northern also.
As a result of the conference of the Sovereign Grand Commanders of the two Supreme Councils, Northern and Southern Jurisdictions A.A.S.R., PHA, on August 2, 1966, were established at the Cathedral, Fitzwater & Mole St. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The above divisions were made based on a boundary developed by a joint committee in Wilmington, Delaware on April 19, 1907 using the Mason-Dixon Line as an official boundary.
Below is an infinitely brief account of our seven Sovereign Grand Commanders.
Ill. James A. Handy, 33° (1887-1888), and the Supreme Council concerned themselves with organization birth pangs.
Ill. Thornton A. Jackson, 33° (1888-1904) continued the organizational trends, contended with the Jones-Seville faction, kept the "Ship of State" on an even keel and expanded Scottish Rite masonry wherever.
Ill. Joseph L. H. Smith, 33° (1904-1911) secured the rental of 1633 Eleventh Street, N.W. In 1906, the association brought the property. In 1907, boundary line were agreed by the two Supreme Councils
Ill. Robert L. Pendleton, 33° (1912-1929) continued the great work of his predecessors under the additional burden of recessional times.
Ill. Dr. Willard W. Allen, 33° (1929-1961) advocated in the strongest terms, the establishing excellent rapport with the Grand Masters; he further repaired the Cathedral and finally burned the mortgage in Atlanta, Georgia March 1944.
Ill. Dr. John G. Lewis, 33° (1961-1979) under whose incumbency the Cathedral had been abandoned as disclosed in a proceeding* paragraph. Indeed Dr. Lewis was one of the outstanding masons of all times. The publication, "Jno. G. Lewis-An end of an era: history of Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Louisiana 1842-1979 speaks of many of the accomplishments nationwide.
Ill. Dr. I. H. Clayborn, 33° (1979 to 1994) as his predecessor, greatly enhanced Scottish Rite masonry, gave increased scope to The Charitable Foundation, realized increased memberships. As his hand is always in God's hand, HE WILL ESTABLISH A CATHEDRAL FOR THIS SOUTHERN JURISDICTION!!
Ill. Dr. S. J. Bennett, 33° (1994 to 1999) See Dr. Clayborn dream realized.
Ill. Edgar Bridges, 33° (1999 to 2003) ushered in the Millennium and kept the United Supreme Council on solid footing.
Ill. Dr. Deary Vaughn (2003 to present) will carry on the legacy of all our pervious Sovereign Grand Commanders.
All of the above ten SGCs have greatly added to the prestige of our institution and with the continued help of the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Universe, we will continue our triumphs and affirm the indomitability of Prince Hall Scottish Rite Freemasonry.