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Hear from Enoch Woodhouse, Tuskegee Airmen and a man we are so proud to call our Brother.


General Enoch Woodhouse 32°: My name is Enoch Woodhouse. My friends call me Woody. You can call me General Woodhouse. Now, I was born in Boston, Massachusetts, January 14th, 1927. I was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, where most people, not most, but all people of color lived.


General Enoch Woodhouse 32°: And it was a good neighborhood. We knew everyone and everyone knew us. We weren't concerned with a person's color because most of the people we saw were the same.


General Enoch Woodhouse 32°: And I was fortunate to be the son and grandson of clergy people. So you might say religion was our family business. So I was fortunate to start out in a wholesome family environment with values. We did the right thing.


General Enoch Woodhouse 32°: So going to Yale, that was getting accepted and so forth. That was a big cornerstone of my life. When you got your letter of acceptance. So my grandfather had a smirk on his face. A smirk. Didn't congratulate me or anything. So, his words, and I remember them like yesterday.


General Enoch Woodhouse 32°: He said, so you're going to Yale. And he just, he wasn't happy. He says, who are you? And he whispered over in my ear, he says, I'll tell you who you are and what you are. He says, you're an N. And used the N word to me.


General Enoch Woodhouse 32°: My Mother and Grandma said, “Oh William, don't start with that boy.” He said, “No. I'm telling him that because I love him. And I don't want him to be hurt when he goes away to Yale. I want him to be able to shove it off and take it up.”


General Enoch Woodhouse 32°: What kept me steady was knowing who I am and knowing the other people. And when I go out and speak, I have to say this. I say, you know, all of us have our own different lives and own different experiences. And all of us have to realize not everyone loves us. The whole world doesn't love us, except our mother.


General Enoch Woodhouse 32°: And the reason why we were called the greatest generation, we weren't the greatest group of blacks. We were not the greatest group of whites or whatever. We were all great people. Because we had one objective. We were united. Everyone.


General Enoch Woodhouse 32°: So we went in to enlist to save America. An Americanist democracy. That's all we had. Hey, I want to save America. You know. And then people would say, well, gee, why would a black person want to do that? We're at war with a foreign country. So my mother said, boys, we're at war. I want you boys to serve your country. Can you imagine a black woman saying that to all she had in the world with her two boys? She'd want us to give up our lives for that: America.


General Enoch Woodhouse 32°: Our duty assignments were in Squadron F. Now Squadron F, at the front of the field where you don't even go on the front line and so forth, all black. And your only duties were housekeeping. You clean the streets. You removed the snow. You drove the trucks. You guided German prisoners.


General Enoch Woodhouse 32°: And incidentally, when we would go to the movies, the German prisoners could sit anywhere in the theater but black prisoners had to sit in the back. We had to sit in the back and German prisoners could sit anywhere they wanted. America. Our America. And we took it. And still taking it.


General Enoch Woodhouse 32°: I tried to get something good out of not an evil system. It was evil to us. But that was the system America operated under. And I understood that. But I had to realize that systems can break down. They're breaking down here in America.


General Enoch Woodhouse 32°: So when I say I finagle, I try to find some way to contribute without degrading myself. I wake up in the morning, meditate, and thank our Creator that I'm here and I've met so many good people by doing the right thing.


General Enoch Woodhouse 32°: Freemasonry was not new to me because I've lived that all my life. I'm just not a mason during meeting time or when I have to contribute or be reminded of an obligation. This is the way I live. To me, it's natural because of the values that I bring into masonry.


General Enoch Woodhouse 32°: Some people, this is new. Not new values, but this is a formalization of the way they have lived. There are many people that are Masons that don't know they're Masons. There might be better Masons than the actual Masons.


General Enoch Woodhouse 32°: Now, the audience is unseen out in the world. And if you're in Alaska and Timbuktu, I just have to say, just do the right thing. Thank you.

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