The Prince Hall Masons – Ep.81

Omega Psi Phi – Ep.80
February 8, 2023
Delta Sigma Theta – Ep.82
February 22, 2023

Representatives of the Prince Hall Masons, Right Worshipful GM Assistant Charles Johnson and Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Master for the State of California David San Juan, share the history of the oldest African American organization and its social impact on accelerating civil rights in America. To learn more visit

Melyssa Barett:  Welcome to the Jali Podcast. I’m your host, Melyssa Barrett. This podcast is for those who are interested in the conversation around equity, diversity, and inclusion. Each week, I’ll be interviewing a guest who has something special to share or is actively part of building solutions in the space. Let’s get started. Hey, friends. This week I’m excited to have Charles Johnson and David San Juan. Join me from the Prince Hall Masons. The Honorable David San Juan is the most Worshipful Grand Master for the Grand Lodge of California. Charles Johnson is from Keystone Lodge, number 14 in Stockton, California.

All right, so I am excited this week to have representatives from the Prince Hall Masons join me for a conversation on the history of the Masons. And it’s so interesting to me because if I remember correctly, you all are the oldest African-American fraternal organization, which says a lot because I want to say it’s… You can school me, but I want to say I saw something that said, started in the 1700s and has been active since like 1855, which is amazing when you think about all of the history and all of the things that were going on in that timeframe. So I just want to welcome you all to the Jali Podcast and I am hopeful that we can just kick it off and talk a little bit about the history of the Prince Hall Masons. How did it get started? Why did it get started?

David San Juan:  Well, I’ll start and thank you for having us. It’s really a treat to be on and to talk about one of the things that I love the most is Freemasonry. First, I think you should know a little bit about what Freemasonry is, and Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that takes some of the stories from the Bible. It’s a system of morality that we use as a progressive science that teaches us lessons in how to be better men than we were when we first knocked on the door. But more than that, but also to our communities as well. And so Prince Hall, who is believed to have been born in 1735, and just think about the time 1735, and what that must have been like. Because of his name, Prince, we know he was a slave because that’s a slave name.

Prince, Pompey, Rex, King, these were all slave names, so there’s no doubt he was a slave. He was born a slave. We also know that he was a slave because we have manumission papers when he was freed in 1770. So without having the records that we have in modern times where you go down to the county clerk’s office and you can pull up anybody’s birth certificate and so forth, that didn’t happen back then. And so the story has changed about his life, his birth. There was a point to where it wasn’t believed that he was a slave, but we know he was. So if we look back at his time and his era, we know that he got his manumission from a Thomas Hall. There were rumors that he was actually born in Barbados, in the British West Indies, but there’s actually no proof.

They can’t provide proof and we don’t have that proof, but that’s what’s been told many years. And so we know that in 1770, that Prince Hall was educated. I’m sure a lot of it was self education. He was very articulate in his speeches as well as in his writing. We know that he petitioned not only Massachusetts, but also Connecticut to turn… He was our… He’s the father of civil rights. He was an abolitionist. He worked to change the fugitive slave laws that happened at that time. And I’m sure that there were a lot of freed Africans that were walking around in Boston, Massachusetts, where he lived during that time, that were kidnapped, put on ships and sent right back down south.

Melyssa Barett:  Right.

David San Juan:  And so he fought against that. When I say civil rights, it was more than just the rights of Africans and whether they were enslaved or freed. He also opened up the very first public school. He opened it up for Native Americans and African-American little boys and girls.

Melyssa Barett:  Oh, wow. That’s awesome.

David San Juan:  And so he was also a Methodist minister. And because he knew of Freemasonry, he applied to get membership in a Masonic lodge. And of course, he was turned down a number of times, but he was finally given… He was made a mason in an Irish footsoldier’s regiment that was fighting on behalf of the British Army, who we were at war with.

Melyssa Barett:  Oh, wow.

David San Juan:  He and 14 others became Masons and that was in 1887. And he was given… Well, I’m sorry, that was not 1887. That was 17… Help me, Charles. 17?

Charles Johnson:  No, it was 1787. Excuse me.

David San Juan:  Thank you. 1787.

Melyssa Barett:  Okay.

David San Juan:  Well, I had it right the first time. But he was made of Mason and eventually he applied for a charter so that he and his brothers could meet. And eventually he got that and in 1787, and the Mother Grand Lodges, the United Grand Lodge of England, it still is, they’re the ones who give us regularity, they gave him a charter to meet and to celebrate St. John’s Day, as well as march in parades or processions for funerals. And so he started the first Grand Lodge for African American men and eventually he passed on and we were able to have a Grand Lodge, and it was called the Sovereign Grand Lodge, and he became their Grand Master. It was African Lodge number 87, I’m sorry, 459. And we became a Grand Lodge. So a Grand Lodge is comprised of three lodges that come together and they make a Grand Lodge.

Melyssa Barett:  Okay.

David San Juan:  And so in California, we have a Grand Lodge, of which I’m the 57th Grand Master.

Melyssa Barett:  Oh, wow.

David San Juan:  And so we organized in June of 1855.

Melyssa Barett:  In California?

David San Juan:  In California, just think about that.

Melyssa Barett:  Oh, wow. Okay.

David San Juan:  Before the 14th Amendment had been adopted or I should say ratified in this state, which was in 1863.

Melyssa Barett:  Yes.

David San Juan:  But I’m going to go back. I’m farther back again. I’m going to go back again and I want to talk about some Masonic history as far as how it relates to the African American culture.

Melyssa Barett:  Okay.

David San Juan:  So Prince Hall was also a soldier.

Melyssa Barett:  Uh-huh.

David San Juan:  And there have been Prince Hall Masons to serve in every war and conflict since 1776.

Melyssa Barett:  Oh, wow.

David San Juan:  That’s an amazing stat, right?

Melyssa Barett:  Yes. Yeah, it is.

David San Juan:  And why that is so important is the fact that during slavery, there would’ve been no Underground Railroad if it weren’t for Prince Hall Masons it would’ve been impossible for that to have happened. And the reason why I say that is because those Masons, those footsoldiers, who served during the Civil War, no one knew all the passageways and no one knew where the enemy was better than the Masons, those soldiers who were in the fight. They knew all the paths through the woods and so forth. And so at the time, as you can imagine, there was no privacy in the church. There was no privacy there. But the Masonic Lodge is a private meeting and there they would pass messages and so forth to all the conductors in the Underground Railroad. They made it possible through their meetings.

Melyssa Barett:  Wow.

David San Juan:  Yeah, it’s an amazing story. I’ll move it forward again, 1855. We actually started getting together and meeting in 1848 as Masons. As a matter of fact, those who we know as Keystone Lodge in Stockton.

Melyssa Barett:  Yes.

David San Juan:  Started meeting in 1848 in near a mine near Mokelumne Hill.

Melyssa Barett:  Oh my goodness. Okay.

David San Juan:  So the Prince Hall Masons in California, not everybody knows this, but it’s too bad that not everybody understands that slavery was in California.

Melyssa Barett:  Yes. Yes.

David San Juan:  Between 1848 and 1851, there were 1,500 slaves that walked from the Deep South to California.

Melyssa Barett:  Oh my goodness. Yes. Uh-huh.

David San Juan:  So whether California was going to be a slave slate or free was debated for a very long time in the California legislature. And it was because some Prince Hall Masons, who at that time we were not called Prince Hall Masons, we were actually the Sovereign Grand Lodge at that time.

Melyssa Barett:  Okay.

David San Juan:  It’s because they as well as another prominent Mason, a Caucasian Mason, his name was Thomas Starr, was also a minister and an abolitionist in San Francisco. And they went to the California legislature and they argued their case. And one of the problems that they ran into was some of the legislators who were in our State capitol were also former slave owners and slave owners.

Melyssa Barett:  Right.

David San Juan:  And so obviously it’s easier for them to have a slave to dig for them than to go out there themselves, and that’s what they did. A whole bunch of carpetbaggers also came across from the Deep South, but they found themselves digging next to slaves and that became a problem.

Melyssa Barett:  Right.

David San Juan:  And that problem was exploited by those, including Thomas Starr and some of the Prince Hall Masons, the shoulders that we stand on in Stockton. There was at one time a slave revolt in Stockton.

Melyssa Barett:  Really?

David San Juan:  It was a huge slave revolt and a good portion of the free African American community in Stockton fled for their lives. Some went to Marysville, some went to different parts of Northern California, some went into even the Sequoia area. And when the coast was clear, many of those families came back. There were like five different families that came back to the Stockton area and they organized a lodge and it was called King Solomon Lodge.

Melyssa Barett:  Okay.

David San Juan:  We were called King Solomon Lodge, and then eventually we were Pilgrim Lodge, and in 1906, after the Great Earthquake in San Francisco, we became Keystone Lodge Number 14. And we’ve been operating as Keystone Lodge ever since. I’m going to let Charles jump in because…

Melyssa Barett:  And that’s a picture behind you, right?

David San Juan:  That is Keystone Lodge in 1908.

Melyssa Barett:  Oh my goodness.

David San Juan:  That us. And so the women that you see there, those are members of the Order of the Eastern Star.

Melyssa Barett:  Okay.

David San Juan:  So it’s like the women’s side of this whole Masonic culture. And I have so many slides I wish I could have shown you tonight on some of the events that have taken place historically, events that have taken place with Prince Hall Masons in California. But there used to be a time when we would all get together and there would be four trains that would leave Barstow, California and travel all the way up to Portland and we would have a big meeting in Portland. And then after we had our meeting, the train would come back. And I have photographs of that that I wish that I could have shared with you tonight. And-

Melyssa Barett:  Well, we’ll have to have you come back then.

David San Juan:  … I would love to do that. I don’t know if you’ve talked about Biddy Mason or about William Leidesdorff.

Melyssa Barett:  No, no, no.

David San Juan:  Or Mary Pleasant.

Melyssa Barett:  No. You can come back anytime. We can spend some more time talking. I lay at your feet just listening, it’s such a wonderful history. So I know you wanted to kick it over to Charles to talk a little bit about Keystone Lodge.

Charles Johnson:  Yeah, absolutely. I think I want to go back just a little bit and kind of reiterate some of the things that San Juan said with regards to just the place of Masonry and the history as it relates to America. Prince Hall Masonry has really been at the fabric of helping African Americans, especially in the South, really to traverse some of the issues that were going on during that time and even to today as in moving forward. So I think it’s really important to note that we are really deeply woven into the fabric of helping our people to do better, helping our people to survive. Even some of the worst of incidents such as the incident in Rosewood, the incident in the Greenwood District, we were very instrumental in all of those uprisings to help bring peace and harmony back to our African American society, and our way of life, and our root.

And a lot of times we don’t think about it that way because although we are Masons, we operate as men first and women first. So those who you may recognize in society as being a prominent person, they’re oftentimes in a lodge or in a chapter with the OES and have done such great work and have benefited just our way of life and continue to do so. I think that that’s a really important part that we kind of pause on for a moment and talk about.

Melyssa Barett:  Yes.

Charles Johnson:  Because it’s a beautiful legacy within the ranks of what it means to be Prince Hall. And that’s really kind of a binding fabric for me, is that we have been deeply in the trenches in every single area of American society and we have really, in large part, kind of helped to frame what it means to be kind of in the world the way we exist today. So one thing that I’m extremely proud of as being a representative of not just Keystone Lodge, but Prince Hall Masonry in general. And then also just in terms of the work that we’re doing at Keystone Lodge, like Grand Master said, we have such a rich and deep history in the city of Stockton, and that has continued on. A lot of the individuals that you see doing things in the city of Stockton are affiliated with our Lodge, either as members or they have worked with us in some capacity to help us to build some of the things that we have tried to do in the city of Stockton.

We have deep roots with the NAACP, not just in our city, but on a state and national level as well, where we work with them with regards to voter rights and voter registration, as well as helping to just sustain the fabric of what the NAACP is, and so we do great work there. In addition to that, we’re also doing some things that people really don’t know about, such as the CE Town Fund, the Masons permits, which in that situation, we help young people across the Central Valley and in the Bay Area. We donated this year or last year, well over a million dollars to kind of help push forward that initiative and get young kids interested in baseball and opportunity to play by having met some. They’ve partnered with organizations like the Junior Giants and other organizations to help to bring that to fruition.

And we’ve also donated over, really it’s about 10 to 15K a month, $13 million round about in total with the Red Cross. So we’re doing some really, really great work locally, regionally, and nationally to kind of help move forward some of the things that we feel are beneficial not just to the African American community, but to the community at whole. And that’s just not even to really mention the Prince Hall Memorial Scholarship. Another thing that we do for students as well as individuals who are looking to go to college and further their education as they matriculate from high school. And Prince Hall and Keystone Lodge, I’ve had a pleasure of being a member for a while now. I’m getting to a place where I’m kind of an old hat.

Melyssa Barett:  I find that hard to believe.

Charles Johnson:  Well, I’ve been a member for a little over 20 years now.

Melyssa Barett:  Oh, wow. Okay. You’re older than you look.

Charles Johnson:  Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And been in Keystone Lodge, roughly about, I don’t know, it’s getting close to 10, 15 years now, just helping to build up the work that we’re doing locally in the city of Stockton. And we’ve partnered with several organizations, not just the NAACP, to do a lot of different things, Stockton Black Family Day, as we’re always a part of that, as well as a lot of other things that have gone on in the community. And again, it’s one of those situations that we may not always represent ourselves as Masons, but we’re representing ourselves as men and collectively we come back as Masons to have these discussions about what is needed in our community and how can we best help to move forward the agendas that we see are beneficial for our people.

Melyssa Barett:  I love that. I love that. I think and I mean, obviously you all know, but full disclosure for everyone else, I had the pleasure of my husband being affiliated with the Keystone Lodge before he passed away, and I know it was near and dear to his heart. So the Jali Podcast is kind of a head nod to him, so I know he would be excited to have me talking to you all about this wonderful organization. Let’s pause for a moment. We’ll be right back.

Anything else you want to share with us? I know there’s so much, and we are definitely, Brother San Juan, we want you to come back and talk to us about some of this history because they’re talking about reparations and all sorts of other things, the reparations committee is hitting on, that clearly you have a lot of that rich history as well.

David San Juan:  There are a couple of things. One of the things is we talk about the history and the fabric of the culture. You got to remember for so many years, a couple hundred years, there were very few safe places for African Americans to-

Melyssa Barett:  That’s right.

David San Juan:  … To coexist with one another. You had the church, you had the lodge. There weren’t very many other options. And so it’s always been a safe place, a safe haven for the African American community. Of course, things have changed now. There are a lot of other options, but those of us who cling onto the history, the rich history, we continue to work in our community and we represent Prince Hall Masonry. Our ladies also do a lot of work, and we have youth organizations. I came up through the youth organization, our OESs work very, very hard in the community. And they too are the stewards of the history going back to the 1870s actually in this state.

Melyssa Barett:  And you all call OES, Order of the Eastern Star, is that right?

David San Juan:  That is correct.

Melyssa Barett:  Okay.

David San Juan:  Order of the Eastern Star.

Melyssa Barett:  Yes. We can’t forget the ladies.

David San Juan:  Oh, no, no.

Melyssa Barett:  They’re doing lots of work on their side as well. And can you talk a little bit about what they do and maybe the differences between or the collaboration, I guess I should say, between you all?

David San Juan:  Well, it is exactly that. It’s a collaboration. So it was a Mason who wrote the Constitution and the Ritual for the Order of the Eastern Star. So a lot of the allegorical lessons that are taught in Masonry, and these are lessons that teach you to be a better person, they do the same kinds of things. It’s different, but it’s the same kind of things. They’re deeply, deeply entrenched into the community, and especially for the youth. They have some wonderful youth programs. Like I said, I have so many photographs that will just drop your jaw. I have photographs of us here in California where there were literally 600 women and men all together. There was so many of us representing that we had to go to the bleachers at a huge stadium just to take the photograph.

Melyssa Barett:  Oh, wow.

David San Juan:  Yes. Yes. So I mean, we’re not that large anymore, but our hearts are certainly there. I’m going to clarify that number. It’s actually, we average about anywhere between 10 and 15 million dollars a month of relief that’s being distributed throughout the United States-

Melyssa Barett:  Wow.

David San Juan:  … In other Prince Hall Grand Lodges, as well as other organizations or when Kentucky had their tornadoes?

Melyssa Barett:  Yes.

David San Juan:  It was easy for me to tap the Grand Master of Kentucky, hey, we have 18 semi truckloads full of brand new furniture and appliances to those who lost everything.

Melyssa Barett:  Oh, wow.

David San Juan:  Besides the money that was there for them through the Red Cross and there’s 48 other organizations that partnered with the Red Cross. And so we’re a part of that and we distribute every single month millions and millions of dollars throughout the United States. We have programs on home fire prevention and we give away free fire detectors. And we have a lot of programs going on right now to help communities, not just in California, but throughout the United States. In California, when we had the fires?

Melyssa Barett:  Uh-huh.

David San Juan:  We were able to secure more than a million cans of fresh drinking water from Anheuser-Busch Corporation. Truckloads, they shipped it in to all the firefighters who were fighting the fires in the Hemet area, as well as in the Sequoia National Forest area, also Yosemite and that area as well. And so we’ve had communities that were put together by Masons.

Melyssa Barett:  Yes.

David San Juan:  The community in Weed, California, sadly they burnt down this past fire season, that community burnt down, but they were all Masons, and they all worked for the railroad, and they were all moving lumber in and out of Oregon, and California, and so forth. So we have a lot of lodges that have basically, they’ve split and they form new lodges and so forth in California, as well as the chapters of the Order of the Eastern Star. But we’re in every corner of the state. We used to be a little bit more broad than we are now, but we’re in every corner of the state. And it’s just a pleasure for me to be able to serve. And like I said, I don’t know how many, I never did the arithmetic to figure out how many Masons that we’ve had since 1855, it’s a staggering number.

Melyssa Barett:  I’m sure.

David San Juan:  It’s very unique to become the Grand Master, and I’m the 57th, and our motto is service to our communities, and we do just that. We’re proud to serve.

Melyssa Barett:  Absolutely. Well, that’s fantastic. I think what’s so interesting to me, even as an African American, yes, I’ve heard about Prince Hall Masons, but I think you have definitely dropped some knowledge, you and Charles, that I definitely did not know. And so I know there are lots of people around that probably have not heard this history as well. But I think it really goes to show you that not only how important and critical the organization is for African American culture, but for American culture.

David San Juan:  Yes.

Melyssa Barett:  And the shift around the country and even now the relief that you’re providing and all of those things. So I think it’s fantastic to hear so much about what you all are doing and the impact that you have on the community. So I just appreciate you all being here and telling us some stories.

David San Juan:  Well, it’s so important that we tell these stories because they’re not in the history books.

Melyssa Barett:  Right.

David San Juan:  We have to tell these stories. We have to teach the truth about the history and you’re not going to get it from the history books, it’s here or there, it’s hit and miss if you’re lucky and depending on what state you live in. But like I said, you never heard of Biddy Mason.

Melyssa Barett:  Right.

David San Juan:  She walked from Oklahoma to California.

Melyssa Barett:  Oh my goodness.

David San Juan:  California became a free state and she got her freedom.

Melyssa Barett:  Yes.

David San Juan:  She was emancipated and she got her freedom. And the person, the man, who owned her had to turn around and run out of here because he was going to go to jail because he brought a slave that was against the law to bring a slave into California. She became one of the most wealthy women, humans, in Los Angeles. Biddy Mason was an amazing woman. Mary Pleasant was the wealthiest woman on the west in San Francisco and she was born a slave in New Orleans, came to California, settled in San Francisco. She married more than once. She was quite a lady. She owned the most beautiful hotel that San Francisco ever built. Of course, it burned down. But the man who built the first hotel in San Francisco, his name was Leidesdorff, I believe he was Swedish, and his mother was from somewhere in the Caribbean. I can’t remember exactly what island now, but he purchased a steamboat and he used that steamboat to move gold and lumber from the gold country into San Francisco.

Melyssa Barett:  Okay.

David San Juan:  He too was one of the wealthiest men to ever walk in the 1840s, 50s. He’s the one who got the settlement in Negro Bar. It’s now called the African-American Miners Camp, but originally, it was called Negro Bar because that’s the only place that African-Americans slave or free could live and pan for gold.

Melyssa Barett:  Oh, okay.

David San Juan:  Yeah. There’s a huge movement behind that right now. If you read about Negro Bar, it’s where Granite Bay, in that area, that’s where Negro Bar was. And along with it, different parts of the country where they try to take your history from you, that’s one place we have to always remember because it was so important to the history and like we said earlier, the fabric.

Melyssa Barett:  Yes.

David San Juan:  What we are going to be doing on the first Sunday in March, I went last year and we’ll be going back again this year, is to Selma to walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Melyssa Barett:  Yes. Okay. Uh-huh.

David San Juan:  You can probably YouTube the video of us and it’s amazing when you see 700, 800 Prince Hall Masons marching across that bridge.

Melyssa Barett:  Yes. Absolutely.

David San Juan:  So many of those civil rights leaders in the 60s were Prince Hall Masons, Medgar Evers, John Lewis. Oh, they were all Prince Hall Masons.

Charles Johnson:  Philip A Randolph, Thurgood Marshall.

David San Juan:  Thurgood Marshall.

Charles Johnson:  Nelson Mandela, brother W.E.B Du Bois, there’s so many of them.

David San Juan:  Yes.

Melyssa Barett:  Well, this is so interesting because I think we were talking before about how you see a Prince Hall Mason, let’s say Thurgood Marshall for example, and then you see Thurgood Marshall in the NAACP. And so you start really being able to connect some dots on some of these stories about how you think that one person can’t have an impact, but you can see how much impact they actually made when you start telling all these other stories because you didn’t realize they were connected in so many different ways.

Charles Johnson:  Most of our progressive organizations for African Americans, there has been influence from Prince Hall Masons. Every fraternity within the Divine Line has at least one member of its founding fathers that is a Prince Hall Mason. So yeah, definitely. Absolutely what you’re saying is correct.

Melyssa Barett:  Yeah. That’s amazing. I mean, and maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think we tell enough of these stories to really get some of this rich history, especially for young folks who may not know. They may want to join a fraternity or sorority, but they don’t necessarily understand the legacy they’re stepping into all the time. So it’s so great that you all are able to shed some light on this for us.

Charles Johnson:  And that’s one area that I will say that I’m extremely proud of and something that I usually share with individuals who have intrigue in Masonry is that we are not just members of any organization. We are definitely members of the richest historical organization. And to be a member within this organization, it’s something not only to take pride in, but also be humbled by, because you have to take into consideration those that came before you and making sure that the things that you’re doing, even in representation of that organization, honor their memory just as much as you would want your legacy honored as an individual.

Melyssa Barett:  Absolutely.

David San Juan:  Yes.

Melyssa Barett:  Absolutely.

David San Juan:  You know what’s amazing? Over the years I’ve met a lot of folks who once I encourage them to go back into their own family history and they find out how many of their family members were Eastern Star and Prince Hall Masons, and they come back and they say, “Wow, I didn’t know. He served in World War II,” and he this and that. All have to do is go back just a couple of generations and you’ll find that the expectation was that you were going to belong to someone’s church, someone’s Masonic Lodge, or someone’s OES chapter. Those were the expectations. And so it’s no surprise to me when they come back and say, “Oh, wow, I found out my grandfather, and his brother,” and so forth. It’s in your family. It’s there.

Melyssa Barett:  Yes, absolutely. I mean, know my husband, his father was a Mason, and I think he never quite understood what that was until he came across you all, and I think you all provided him some education that he didn’t even have and he was pretty deep on the history, but you guys definitely educated him as well. But thank you guys so much for being here. I look forward to continuing conversations. Welcome you back anytime. I would love to hear more, not only about the Prince Hall Masons, about our rich California and San Joaquin Valley history as well. So definitely the invitation is open.

David San Juan:  There’s plenty of it to tell. And like I said, I came on without any expectation of being able to provide photo photographs, or slides, or anything like that.

Melyssa Barett:  Well, no, and if you want to put some slides up or anything, we can use that for social media as well.

David San Juan:  Okay. I have plenty.

Melyssa Barett:  I mean, if you wanted to send over a few or we can definitely add that to the social media marketing components so that we’ll put a few out there so that people can see and kind of understand some of that rich history.

David San Juan:  Yes.

Melyssa Barett:  That’s fantastic.

David San Juan:  I will. Okay.

Melyssa Barett:  Fabulous.

David San Juan:  That sounds great. It’s been wonderful just to have you invite us to be here and talk about who we are and what we do. It’s so important that we reach out to the community for the fact that our life’s blood is the community. Our membership comes from the community. So the more we get out there and talk about who we are and our history, the better off we are. And I do quite a few of these, so I’m looking forward to seeing this later on.

Melyssa Barett:  Awesome. Awesome. Thank you so much. Charles, anything else you want to add?

Charles Johnson:  Want to thank you for this opportunity, again, just to have us present as well as being a keeper of our history and our legacy and being willing to share that to our communities. That’s so important. And we need more people like you in our communities and in our cities to help tell these stories that people may not know about. So thank you.

Melyssa Barett:  I appreciate that. Thank you.

David San Juan:  I have a question for you. Yeah. So I recognized Jali, I recognized that name, but what I recognized it for is probably different than the reason why you’ve chosen it. In architecture, because we’re Masons and we work in stonework, and we’re building, we’re always building ourselves up, we’re coming in rough and then hopefully by the time we leave this earthly existence, we become perfect stones that to be fit in the wall of the temple that God has created for us. And so a Jali is fancy brick work. It’s brick work that has been layered in a certain way to give the architecture a lot of character and complexity. And so I thought it was interesting that you chose that word. I think you’re probably thinking of the Jali as the storyteller.

Melyssa Barett:  Yes. My husband actually called himself the Jali.

David San Juan:  Oh, is that right?

Melyssa Barett:  Yes. As a professional storyteller, his call sign was really the Jali. And so it actually makes complete sense to me the way you describe the complex brick work that you’re talking about, because that totally sounds like Peter Barrett to me. So I love it. I love it. I always learn something new and it never ceases to amaze me how things show up in your life. So thank you so much for that education. Any last words from you, Grand Master?

David San Juan:  Again, I’ll just reiterate what I said already and piggyback on what Charles said, and thank Charles for being on here with me. Charles is my administrative assistant and so Charles stays busy. Charles is someone that likes to work behind the scenes and be out of the limelight, but he does so much for me and us, and I appreciate you, Charles. Thank you, sir.

Melyssa Barett:  Thank you.

David San Juan:  All right, love you, Charles.

Charles Johnson:  Love you too.

David San Juan:  All right, brother.

Melyssa Barett:  All right. Thank you all so much.

David San Juan:  Thank you.

Melyssa Barett:  Thanks for joining me on the Jali Podcast. Please subscribe so you won’t miss an episode. See you next week.