History of Rameses Temple No. 51
Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order of the Mystic Shrine
Rameses Temple was charter August 12, 1912 in Charlotte, NC Some of the officers were Noble B.F. Martin, ILL, Potentate and Noble C. R. Blake, Jr. Chief Rabban. Some of the Imperial officers were: Nobles Eugene Phillips, Imperial Potentate, Joe H. Sherwood, Imperial Deputy Potentate, A.J. Sellers, Imperial Assistant Rabban, and J.H. Murphy, Sr. Imperial Recorder. Noble Caesar R. Blake, Jr. a railway postal clerk of Rameses Temple No.51 in Charlotte, NC was elected Imperial Potentate in 1919. He served from 1919 to 1931 he died while in office.
On December 14, 1918, there were those in the land who, because of the difference of race, questioned our tights to be known as Shrines and sought to deprive us of the privilege of practicing our ancient mysteries. To accomplish this purpose, they brought suites against us in the courts of Texas, and the courts of Texas issued orders, which if allowed to stand, would have destroyed us. Noble Caesar R. Blake, Jr. who was Imperial Potentate and a member of Rameses Temple No. 51 Charlotte, NC went up and down the land urging the nobility to battle; on the third (3rd) day of June in 1929, Mr. Justice Van Devanter confirmed our right to work and act as Shrines. This decision enables all black groups to have benefits of the American Way of Life.
Other members of Rameses Temple who served with Noble Blake were: Bishop Dale, who served as Imperial Recorder, Noble Zachariah Alexander, Sr. (plain Z), who served as Imperial Deputy Potentate.
Rameses Temple has participated in many state, local and national activities. Rameses Temple Drill Patrol was organized under the administration of Ill. Potentate Noble L.N. Smith in the year 1955. Under the leadership of Noble Walter P. Holmes, who was an officer in the U.S. Army Reserves, the patrol won seventeen (17) state championships. This group performed though out North Carolina as well as in other parts of the United States. This patrol was also in the top three (3) team in the United States for a number of years.
In 1970 Rameses Temple sponsored Miss Evett Walker in our state Talent and Scholarship Contest. She won the State contest and went on to win the Imperial Council Talent and Scholarship Contest in Boston, Mass., becoming the first and only girl from NC to become the National Queen.
Rameses Temple also participated in a Long Underwear Baseball Game, which was played between Temples to raise funds. The Temples involves were Rameses, Kindal #62, Fayetteville, NC Sethos # 170, Winston-Salem, NC and Zafa # 176, Durham, NC The game was played on home bases. This brought good relationship among Temples; the Rameses Temple #51 won all games. The members of the winning team were Noble GE MeKeithan, LN. Smith, Willie L. Little, William Walker, Eugene Potts, Herman Thomas, Thomas Simmons, John Weathers, Allen Derrant and Walter P. Holmes.
Rameses Temple #51 CO-sponsored with Rameses Court #78 The Issettes, a group of thirty-four (34) or more girls in a youth group. This group of girls was trained by Noble Walter P. Holmes and under the leadership of Daughter Grace Hill, who was the Ill. Commandress of Rameses Court #78 and Daughter Emma Dunlapp, who was the Deputy of Oasis of Rameses Court #78, this group was Number Two (2) and number three (3) in the United State for a number of years,
In the year of 1962, with Noble Walter P. Holmes serving as the Ill. Potentate of Rameses Temple, the Temple worshipped with him at his church (East Stonewall A.M.E. Zion) as an honor to him on his birthday, February 10. This was the second (2nd) Sunday in February. As a result of this, it was voted to have our worship service the second Sunday in February thereafter.
The North Carolina Gala Day was held in Charlotte in 1964, and again in 1968. Both times that Rameses hosted these ceremonies we had the largest number of noble and daughters ever to attend a Gala Day function. We numbered well over 1500. Noble W. P. Holmes, Imperial Deputy of the Oasis, was the local chairman in 1964 and in 1968 he was the Gala Day chairman. Noble Holmes invited the noble and daughters to his church for the Sunday morning worship service. A motorcade was formed at the then Hotel Charlotte to the church (East, Stonewall A. M. E. Zion) where Dr. Henry Hester delivered the sermon. Noble Hester was Past Imperial Potentate. This was the beginning of the Gala Day Worship Service.
Rameses Temple has two (2) nobles who played a great part in the sport program for the state, The Shrine Youth Bowl, sponsored by the Desert of North Carolina. The Games were designed to aid Boys Clubs of the State. Noble W. P. Holmes of Rameses Temple was the State Chairman and Noble Edward High was the Financial Secretary. Under their leadership, the game was very successful. This game was played annually until 1967 when the chairman, Noble Holmes, invited Jimmy Kirkpatrick (BLACK) and Harris Woodside (WHITE) to play in the Shrine Youth Bowl Game. The issue was that Kirkpatrick was not picked to play in the All White Shrine Bowl Game because of his color, so the chairman thought it would be OK to play in the Negro Shrine Bowl Game. IT was then that we found out that if he played, it could possibly result in a year's probation after a player entered college.
After several meetings with Simon Terrell, secretary of the N.C.H.S. Athletic Assoc. in Chapel Hill, NC as to why Negro boys could not play in the all-white Bowl Game, Noble Holmes and Noble Edward High found out the real reason the white high schools belonged to the N C High School Assoc. and the Black high school belonged to the N C high School Conference. In order to play in the all-white Bowl Game you had to belong to the NC High School Athletic Assoc. Noble Walter Holmes and Noble Edward High with the help of the late Noble Kelly Alexander, Sr. and Noble Dr. Craig Phillip, then Supt. of Charlotte-Mecklenburg County School, met again with the Board of Education concerning the All Star Game. The next year West Charlotte High in Charlotte in Charlotte, NC became a member of the NC High School Athletic Assoc. thus making all Black High schools eligible to become members. That same year Titus Ivory of West Charlotte High School became the first (1st) black to play in the formerly All white Shrine Bowl Game of the Carolinas. As of today 50 per cent of that Game's players is of color. Hats off to Noble Holmes and Noble High and Noble Kelly Alexander, Sr. for a job well done!
Other highlights of Rameses temple were: For two (2) years Rameses Temple CO-hosted the CIAA North/South Champions Bowl with the CIAA and West Charlotte
Optimist Club. This endeavor provided funds for medical research, scholarship, and youth activities. Noble WP Holmes was the Project CO-ordinate. Noble GE Mckeithan and his committee planned and executed the Christmas party for underprivileged children held on Christmas morning. His committee was Noble E. High, Noble E. Potts and Noble Dr. Walter Washington. This was later changed to Help A Child To Smile.
In 1962 Rameses Temple had its first (1st) Annual Banquet. Noble Walter Holmes was presented a plaque as a symbol of being honored as Shriner of the Year, the first (1st) for Rameses Temple.
During the years, The "Black Camel" have invaded our ranks and claimed many of our Nobles, just to name a few Nobles who have made great contributions to Rameses Temple:
Members of Rameses Temple who have served as Imperial Officers are:
Noble Caesar R. Blake, Jr., Imperial Potentate, 1919-1931
Noble Zack Alexander, Sr., Deputy Imperial Potentate, 1939-1954
Noble Bishop Dale, Imperial Recorder
Noble Walter P. Holmes, Imperial Deputy Commander of Foot Patrols
Noble Jesse Younge, Imperial Deputy of the Desert of NC
Noble Fred D. Alexander, lmperial Organizer
Noble James A. Shands, Imperial Advisor
Noble Joseph M. Powell, HPIP, Imperial Deputy of the Desert of NC
Members who have served as Deputy of the Oasis are:James A. Shands;G E Mckeithan; Walter P. Holmes;David H. Garris; Fred D. Alexander;Edward J. High; Sylvester Currence; James Bennett; James Eves; Dillon McManus
During the year, Rameses Temple has had several dedicated members who have served in various positions in the community and State. Here are some of those outstanding members and their positions:
James A. Shands-!9th District Deputy Grand Master M.W.P.H.G.M.
James (Jim) Richardson-Postmaster and NC House of Representatives and NC State Senator
Fred D. Alexander-Charlotte City Council and NC Senate, Grand Secretary NC, Grand Chapter Order of The Eastern Star.
Charles Costner- Grand Worthy Patron-NC Grand Chapter Order of the Eastern Stars
Edward J. (Ed.) High-Charlotte Mecklenburg Airport Commission
Walter P. Holmes-Park and Recreation Commission
Rowe Motley-County Commission, NC. State Senate
Fred Alexander-l9th District Deputy Grand Master, 33rd. District Deputy Grand Master. Western Region K.O.P. Director.
James E. Harrell-32nd District Deputy Grand Master, Special Deputy Grand Master, M.W.P.H.G.L. Chairman Grand Chapter Trustee Board Order of the Eastern Stars of NC.
David H. Garris-32nd District Deputy Grand Master
Leo Lower-Right Eminent Grand Commander-Tar-Hill Grand Commandry
Lecola Mungo- Right Eminent Grand Commander-Tar Hill Grand Commandry, Most Worthy Joshua H.O.J. Grand Court
James Mungo-Grand Worthy Patron- NC Grand Chapter Order of the Eastern Star
From 1923 to 1977 Rameses Temple met in the M.I.C. Building on Bevard and Third St. When it became necessary to move the Temple because of improvements being made by the city, the Temple moved to a building at the corner of Beatties Ford Rd. and LaSalle St. In 1977 Rameses bought the Lodge Hall that Formerly housed The Moose Lodge, located at 119 E. 8th St. for the sum of $50.000.00 and again in 1984 because of improvements of the city we were again without a home, so in 1984 Rameses sold this building for $300.000.00. In 1989 Rameses brought 4. I acres of land for $55,000.00 in the Northwood Section on the West Side of Charlotte under the leadership of Thomas McLaughlin. We were hoping to construct the Temple and move in sometime in 1990 The GroundBreaking was December 1 l, 1992. The officers of the Temple at that time were: James Bennett- Chief Rabban, Paul Ford-Assistant Rabban, Elliott Martin-Recorder, James F. Alexander-Treasure, Walter P. Holmes-Chairman Trustee Board.
During the time when we first moved into our newly attained building, money was tight H.P.P. Romeo Alexander was our Treasure, and it was times that we didn't have the funds to pay bills, Noble Alexander would paid money out of his pocket in order to keep out creditors off out backs.
In 1990 Ms. Michelle Dolphus, a student at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City represented Rameses in the Desert's William C. Parker / Scholarship Pageant at Gala Day.
One of our biggest highlight of the year is the end of year activities, our New Year's Eve Dance that was being held at the Charlotte Civic Center for a number of years. and is now held at the Temple.
We can speak in glowing terms of all our Potentates for we have had a fruitful and challenging past, but lest we forget, may we review the servants of our Temple.
Caesar R. Blake, Jr.*
Zack Alexander, Sr.*
Fred D. Alexander*
R. P. Reeder*
Dr. Percy Carter*
James A. Shands*
Walter P. Holmes
James E. Harrell
* Denotes Decease
Rameses Temple has several members who are Honorary Past Potentates; they are:
Walter B. Taylor
Subsequently the property in Northwood Estate was sold and property on Beatties Ford Rd. was purchased at a cost of $37,000.00. Ground was broken in October 1992 and construction started in February 1993 during the Administration of P.P. James Eaves.
After several work stoppages, a new contractor was hired and funding was secured through the assistance of the NAACP The present edifice was completed in August 1996 under the Administration of and leadership of Illustrious P.P. Walter Lewis, Sr.
PRINCE HALL SHRINEDOM embraces all of the basic fundamental
concepts of the Masonic Order, but is more colorful, with a
broader spectrum of visibility by the manner in which it
dispenses charity in the community, and the care for its
John George Jones, the founder, is said to have been introduced to the ritualistic mysteries of the Order by one Ali Rofelt Pasha, Deputy and representative from the Grand Council of Arabia, during the World's Colombian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.
Shrinedom, because of its pageantry, has on occasions been referred to as the "Display" House in Masonry, causing men to sometimes join the prerequisite Houses solely with the intent on becoming a Shriner.
There are 224 Constituent Temples throughout the Imperial Domain (the World), with a membership of over 25,000 - and growing.
Shrinedom is thought of as a Fraternal, Social, and Charitable Organization: FRATERNAL in the sense of using passwords and symbols to remind the members to ever strive for inner self-improvement; SOCIAL from the standpoint of the enjoyment of good times within its own ranks; and CHARITABLE for its unselfish giving of goods and services on both the local and national level.
Heading the list of recipients is the NAACP, the Legal Defense Fund, the Urban League, and United Negro College Fund, along with Annual Grants to several institutions of higher learning and hospitals throughout the land, for medical and other research projects.
Substantial grants are awarded to colleges annually to supplement the education of economically deprived youth, along with a program of financial aid to fight drugs, crime and delinquency. There is also a national scholarship grant program for young ladies between the ages of 17 and 24 to attend colleges and universities of their choice. They also strongly endorse the Assault on Illiteracy (AOIP), amid an engagement in development programs with Third World Countries.
The Shrine Organization is 123 years old and takes great pride in its Auxiliary, which is composed of wives, sisters, mothers and daughters of the membership - officially styled, the Imperial Court.
They are 106 years old and mirror, in some respect, the activities of the parent body. Both share offices in the organization's Headquarters Building located in Memphis, Tennessee.
The Shrine is headed by the Imperial Potentate, and the Imperial Court by the Imperial Commandress. The red Fez is worn by the men and the white Fez by the women, both of whom are community oriented - and definitely on the move!
The Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order Nobles Mystic Shrine of
North and South America and Its Jurisdictions, Inc. has a
long and colorful history. The order was established as an
Imperial Council of Prince Hall Shriners on June 3, 1893, in
Chicago, Illinois, by 13 Prince Hall Masons under the
leadership of John George Jones. They met in the Apollo Hall
on State Street where Palestine Temple was organized. On
June l0, 1893, Jones and his associates organized the
Imperial Grand Council of Prince Hall Shriners. Jones, who
was an attorney, immediately went about organizing Prince
Hall Shrine Temples in Los Angeles, California, Washington
D.C., Jacksonville, Florida, Indianapolis, Indiana,
Baltimore, Maryland, Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri,
New York City, New York, Cleveland, Ohio, Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, Providence, Rhode Island, Alexandria and
Richmond, Virginia. In September of 1889, Isaac L.W.
Holland, the Illustrious Potentate of Pyramid Temple in
Philadelphia, sent out a call to members of Prince Hall
Shrine Temples within the nation to meet with him for the
purpose of reorganizing the Imperial Grand Council. On
December 12, 1900, a meeting was held in Philadelphia with
officers and members attending from Temples in Philadelphia,
Pittsburgh, and from Alexandria, Virginia, At this meeting
the Imperial Council was reorganized and the order adopted a
new name: Imperial Council of the Ancient Egyptian Arabic
Order Nobles Mystic Shrine of North and South America and
its Jurisdiction, Incorporated.
The first annual session of the newly organized Imperial Council was held on September 25, 1901, in Newark, New Jersey, it was here that a Constitution was formally adopted, establishing the fraternity as it is today, and designating the Imperial Council as a charitable, benevolent, fraternal. and social organization, dedicated to the welfare and extension of Prince Hall Freemasonry, and decreeing that membership in the order be confined to regular freemasons who were members of lodges descended from African Lodge #459 (African Lodge #459 established on September 29, 1784, was formally African Lodge #l formed on July 3, 1776; Massachusetts).
The Worldwide Fraternal Shrine Family has a membership of approximately 35,000 in some 227 Shrine Temples and 200 Courts, its women's auxiliary, the Imperial Court, throughout the Continental United States, Canada, Germany, Italy, England, Spain, Hawaii, Japan, Korea, Guam, Thailand, Panama, and the Bahamas. The Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine is primarily a benevolent, charitable and fraternal organization, Its membership is dedicated to the principle of fostering civic, economic and educational development programs throughout the world.
The Fraternal Order has fostered the following programs:
WE PLEDGE OURSELVES, as citizens, to conduct ourselves with
due propriety, conforming to our established laws, in
cooperation with our nation and its authorized officials.
WE PLEDGE OURSELVES, to maintain exacting high standards in our respective community life, that "DEMOCRACY" may become a living reality.
WE PLEDGE OURSELVES, to the promotion, along with other thoughtful citizens, of modern and practical legislation enacted by any government agency, that will redound to the benefit of our "AMERICAN" way of life.
WE PLEDGE OURSELVES, to support duly constituted authority for the elimination of anti-social conditions, wherever found to exist, that we and all other people may enjoy a rich, round and full life.
WE PLEDGE OURSELVES, to morally support and encourage every social agency, that has for its purpose the maintenance of the highest ideals of the people of the nation.
WE PLEDGE OURSELVES, to cooperate fully in disseminating "TRUTH", among the people of the earth, to the end that "DEMOCRACY" shall prevail forever, and the peace of every nation be preserved.