10 Facts about the controversial Freemason Albert Pike
Albert Pike has the rare distinction of being the only Confederate member to have a monument in Washington DC. His statue was torn down and set ablaze by protesters on Juneteenth for his strong ties with the confederates and his alleged sympathy for slavery.
I have quoted and featured Brother Pike on many of my Masonic artworks but I realized that there's just so much that I do not know about him. Who is he? How can a man who once wrote, "One man is equivalent to all Creation. One man is a World in miniature." be called a racist and so reviled by some? Here are 10 facts about Albert Pike that I gathered from the internet (sources included).
- Born in Boston, Massachusetts on December 20, 1809 to an alcoholic father, a cobbler named Benjamin pike, and to a mother Sarah Andrews who tried hard to push him into ministry.
- In 1825, Pike was sent to live with his uncle who discovered that Albert had a photographic memory and was able to recall large volumes at will.
- He mastered several languages and passed the examination required for entry into Harvard when he was sixteen. Pike chose not to attend Harvard when the college requested payment of tuition fees for the first two years. Owing to financial difficulties, he opted for self-education and wrote several legal subjects.
- He organized the Know-Nothing Party (Order of United Americans), a reactionary political movement opposed to foreigners and came to see the continuance of slavery as better for the country than farmers importing foreign labourers.
At the same time he was pro-Indian, and as the representative of several tribes of Native Americans before the government, won some large settlements.
Pike was commissioned as a brigadier general at the beginning of the Civil War (1861-65) and given a command in the Indian Territory. After the Battle of Pea Ridge, Pike was faced with charges that his Native American troops had scalped soldiers in the field- a charge later found to be considerably lacking in evidence.
- Pike first joined the fraternal Independent Order of Odd Fellows in 1840 and joined a Masonic Lodge next. He became extremely active in the affairs of Freemasonry. In 1859 he was elected Sovereign Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite's Southern Jurisdiction. He remained Sovereign Grand Commander for the remainder of his life (a total of thirty-two years), devoting a large amount of his time to developing the rituals of the order.
- His monumental textbook, Morals and Dogma of Freemasonry, appeared in 1872. Since Pike had dumped so much material acquired from his memory (see fact no. 2), he refused to claim authorship as he could not determine what was his own contribution.
- In 1899 the Scottish Rites erected a statue of Pike in Washington. Ninety years later, civil rights activists brought up the old accusation of Pike having written the rituals of the Ku Klux Klan and demanded that it be removed. Lacking clear evidence of their accusations, they were unsuccessful.
- Protesters toppled Pike's statue in the nation’s capital and set it on fire on Juneteenth, the day marking the end of slavery in the US.
J. Paul Gomez
W. Bro. John Paul Gomez (aka Paul, JP, JPG) is an artist by trade and a full-time father-of-4. He currently serves as the W.M. for Doric Lodge No. 316 AF&AM in Ontario, Canada. He is a Senior DeMolay and an honorary member of Harmonie Lodge No. 699 F&AM in Buffalo, New York. He likes to cook and is a big fan of Muaythai.
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