Our story began in a meeting some 70+ years ago when Dr. William Venoid Banks held a meeting in Ohio with 21 other friends to conceptualize International Free & Accepted Modern Masons, Incorporated and Order of the Eastern Star (IFAMM). We were organized in 1950 by Dr. William V. Banks with the two additional signers on the founding documents being Rev. William Kirksey and Brother Henry Allen. The focus was to form a Christian Fraternal Society that held very high ideas about the development of men, women and children. IFAMM’s purposes are moral, financial, benevolent, and charitable leadership with the focus to serve the present age, hence Modern in the name.
Since our beliefs are firmly rooted in the Bible, our members are taught to be charitable and of service to all mankind. Our intentions are to induce an ethical way of life which brings about those improvements necessary to the construction of good, clean respected citizenship.
IFAMM, Inc. and OES adheres to the ancient moral principles and landmarks set up during the initiation formation of Freemasonry in England back in the 1700’s. However over the course of time and due to the advancements in technology, information sharing, and societal norms; things were modified in order to remain current and allow us to offer modern benefits to our members and society as a whole. IFAMM, Inc. and OES has no quarrels with other Masonic Bodies, and we are glad to work with other Fraternal Orders to build Masonry as a brotherhood and sisterhood based on the principles of the Holy Bible.
Regarding recognition, there is no official authority in the world that oversees Freemasonry, there are model Fraternal Orders in all parts of the world. Some Masonic Bodies operating within the United States were set up before the country gained its independence and acquired a charter from England.
Every legally operating Masonic body set up after 1776 in the United States has acquired recognition from a State Governing Authority (i.e. Secretary of State). IFAMM, Inc. and OES was founded and incorporated August, 1950 in Dover, Delaware. IFAMM, Inc. and OES is empowered to practice Freemasonry, and operate as a Masonic Order throughout the United States, its possessions and territories as stated in our founding documents and language. We have the same rights as those with charters issued directly from the Grand Lodge of England. The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is the governing body of Freemasonry in England, Wales and the Channel Islands ONLY and does not regulate Freemasonry worldwide (as stated on their website).
It is important to note that when the United States acquired its independence in 1776, Freemasons in the United States were no longer required to gain a charter from the United Grand Lodge of England to operate in the United States.
Our Youth Courts’ mission are to inculcate certain moral principles, as exemplified by the Holy Bible and other moral sciences, which are highly regarded by our Masonic Order.
IFAMM, Inc. and OES was founded upon Christian values that deny no person the right to fraternalism, regardless of race, color or creed. Our five cardinal principles are to appeal to membership in such a manner as to:
- Promote better understanding and coordination.
- Improve such fields of thought which tend to ensure sound judgment.
- Install in the minds of youth the necessity of intellectual progress.
- Regard all that tends to develop character and wholesome personality traits.
- Establish only such assets or liabilities which are within the financial range of the membership.
There are many institutions of Freemasonry across the United States and in other parts of the world who share their pride in our progress, education and the work we continue to do to maintain the integrity and honor of Freemasonry. We owe a large portion of gratitude to the well-known reputation Freemasonry enjoys throughout our nation and around the world.
Alongside Freemasonry must be the focus of helping members and communities economically thrive and grow. Under Dr. Banks’ leadership, IFAMM, Inc. and OES set up the first Black owned Broadcasting Facility for both a radio (WGPR – 107.5FM) and TV station (WGPR – TV62), along with the Universal Barber College, International School of Cosmetology, as well as allowing the Industrial College to put the organization in a position to render unbridled service far beyond that of any other Fraternal Order.
These medians of service, coupled with other modern services, such as monetary benefits and those of prestige, and enjoyment, brought Freemasonry to a new level and where no one can doubt that International Free & Accepted Modern Masons, Inc. and Order of the Eastern Star renders services not duplicated by any other Organization.
As of July 2023, our Fraternal Order has a presence in 38 states; Commonwealth of the Bahamas; and Liberia, West Africa. Our Supreme Headquarters is located in Detroit, Michigan at 2101 Gratiot Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48207 where Illustrious Kenneth L. Hollowell, 33° serves as the Supreme President/Chief Executive Officer. He is the fifth person to ever hold this position. We have five active National Districts (i.e. Eastern, East Central, Gulf Coast, Midwest, and Southeast), they are composed of Grand Lodges and Grand Chapters whereby Heads of State are endeared with the title Grand Master and Grand Matron, respectively.
“We have an obligation to do good wherever we operate and expand that good to those places that may have never heard of Freemasonry. As men and women of a Fraternal Order, the good works required by our obligations must shine bright.” – Illustrious Kenneth L.. Hollowell, 33º