All-white Moose lodge gets black applicant in Frederick

March 01, 1994|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Western Maryland Bureau of The Sun

FREDERICK -- The Hagerstown Moose lodge's rejection of a black applicant has prompted a civil rights activist here to seek membership in Frederick's all-white lodge.

Edward B. Jenkins, 51, an air traffic assistant with the Federal Aviation Administration in Leesburg, Va., said yesterday that he has completed a membership application and is looking for a sponsor among the 1,900 members of Frederick Moose Lodge 371.

"I believe Frederick is quite different from Hagerstown," Mr. Jenkins said. "We think in terms of the 1990s here, and I don't think my membership will be a problem."

The 7,500-member Loyal Order of Moose Lodge 212 in Hagerstown is the subject of a discrimination suit pending in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. It was permanently closed Thursday by Moose International leaders.

Although Mr. Jenkins wants to be a test case for Frederick, he said he is sincere in his aim to become a Moose member. "I want to be a Moose. I'm not doing this just to be a card-carrying member," he said. "I want to be involved in the activities there and be treated the same [as everybody else]."

Thomas Warfield IV, administrator of the Frederick lodge, said Mr. Jenkins is the first black to apply for membership in that lodge during the five years he has been administrator.

Henry Moulder, the lodge governor, said he couldn't recall whether the Frederick lodge has ever had a black member. He said he doesn't have any objection to Mr. Jenkins' seeking membership. "If he gets qualified sponsorship, his application will be treated just like everybody else's," he said.

"I want to be a Moose; I'm not doing this just to be a card-carrying member," Mr. Jenkins said.

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