First African American Masonic Lodge could receive local landmark designation
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Giblem Lodge No. 2, the first African American Masonic Lodge, is set to be reviewed by the Wilmington Historic Preservation Commission on Thursday for a recommendation to give it a local landmark designation.
Three stories high and located on 19 N. 8th Street, the lodge was first built in 1871. Isabelle Shepherd with the Historic Wilmington Foundation says the lodge was a symbol of Black culture before the 1898 massacre.
She says after the coup, it lost members and funding, and it later was used as the city’s Black library during Jim Crow. It fell into disrepair in the mid-1900s, but efforts are ongoing to rehabilitate the building. Masons still hold meetings at the historic building.
“Giblem Lodge stands today as a symbol of the deep-rooted ancestry of Wilmington and its Black population. The Lodge since its inception has been a place of gathering, idea sharing, and community building. The structure, as well as the people that built it, and the people that continue to maintain it, is a powerful physical reminder of resiliency, agency and support of a community that has and continues to strive for an equal society,” states the application for designation.
If it is recommended by the Wilmington Historic Preservation Commission on March 9, the request will then head to City Council. You can find agendas for the commission on the city website.
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