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The history of

THE Derwin Brown Lodge, UD

On June 22, 1954, in Fort Knox, Kentucky, the world was blessed with the birth of Derwin Brown. Brown was the first born child of Burvena and George Robert Brown. He was raised in Long Island, New York where he attended Woodfield Road School and Malverne Jr. High School for his elementary years of grade school and Malverne High School.  Derwin graduated from Malverne High School in 1972 and studied criminal justice and sociology at the C.W. Post campus of Long Island University. After graduating from C.W. Post with a double major, he decided to live for a while in California. He then entered the Marine Corps and came out with an honorable discharge. He moved to Georgia in 1977. He began working toward his master's degree in social work at Atlanta University. He soon met and married Phyllis O. Brown. He left school to work full time and never finished the degree. 

Derwin entered the service of DeKalb County Government in 1977 as a youth group supervisor within the juvenile justice system. Several months into his government service he applied for a position with the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department. Derwin was hired and began what would become a 23-year stellar career in law enforcement. 

He later applied to the DeKalb Police Department in 1979.  After completing the academy, Derwin hit the streets of DeKalb County as a Police Officer-I to protect and serve its citizens.  On March 3, 1990, Derwin was promoted to Lieutenant to serve as a Precinct Watch Commander in the Uniform Division.  In 1996, he unsuccessfully ran for office of DeKalb County Sheriff. Lastly, Derwin was promoted to Captain on August 1, 1999. He was serving DeKalb County as an Assistant Precinct Commander of South Precinct before his unprecedented victory in unseating an incumbent Sheriff and truly becoming "The People's Sheriff", when on August 8th, 2000, Derwin Brown defeated Sidney Dorsey in an election runoff.   On December 15th 2000 Derwin was tragically assassinated.  

derwin brown

Three Brothers from Louis Styles Lodge #163 International Free and Accepted Modern Masons, Bro. Casey Thomas, Bro, Everette Schoates, Bro. William Thomas gathered at the then Outback Steakhouse on Flat Shoals Rd. in Decatur in October of 2000.   These first meetings were set up to communicate desires to start a new journey. These brothers began researching the steps needed to charter their own Lodge.  After the tragic assassination of Sherriff-Elect Derwin Brown, they decided to honor Derwin Brown's legacy and requested special permission from his widow, Phillis Brown, to organize a lodge that was styled as his name. On January 17, 2001, Bro Gregory Styles, WM of Louis Styles #163 signed off on the request made by seven members of that lodge to seek dispensation from the Grand Master to start a new lodge.  On January 18, 2001, dispensation to work as a lodge was granted by the Grand Master.   The first Meeting was held on Wednesday February 7th, 2001 at a building on Glenwood Ave., what would be Derwin Brown Lodge’s first meeting hall.  As word of the new Derwin Brown Lodge spread around the International Masons community, some brothers met the new lodge with resistance due partly to the fact that the new lodge was being formed out of Louis Styles #163 and Dr. Styles, of whom the Lodge was named after, had been a pioneer in building International Masonry throughout the State and Country.  Although the Grand Master had promised his support to the new lodge to which he had granted dispensation, he reneged on his promise to have the lodge chartered at the next Grand Lodge meeting.  People found out about the Grand Master being supportive of this group of young masons (the oldest member was 30 at the time), and voiced objection to such a young group of masons having their own lodge.  Feeling the pressure from these masons that did not want expansion in Atlanta, the Grand Master postponed chartering for a year so that “Brothers could have time to consider what adding a new Lodge in the Atlanta (DeKalb County) area would do.”

Shortly after that June Grand Lodge meeting, another former member of Louis Styles #163 contacted Worshipful Casey Thomas after hearing of the plights of the Derwin Brown Lodge.  Bro Kelly Brown, Jr., had been a one time Junior Warden in Louis Styles and had seen most of the works of these young members first hand.  He had since left Louis Styles #163 and was now Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Lazarus Grand Lodge of Georgia which was under the jurisdiction the General Grand Masonic Congress.  M.W. Brown extended the right hand of fidelity and brotherhood to the struggling brothers of Derwin Brown.  The brothers of Derwin Brown continued to fight the good fight and complied with the Grand Master of International Masons and complied with each directive or request that the Grand Master gave.  After working with the Grand Lodge, and the National Headquarters, (this organization had both National and Supreme bodies of authority) Derwin Brown had finally completed all tasks that had been named as prerequisites to being chartered.  In July 2001, the Derwin Brown brothers was informed that although they had complied with all the instructions given, the Lodge Charter would continue to be held until brothers of the Atlanta District could determine whether a Lodge in DeKalb County (the ONLY lodge that would meet outside of the International Temple in Atlanta) would be a positive thing for the Atlanta District.  The conclusion had be drawn that if Derwin Brown was allowed to meet outside of the Lodge Temple in Atlanta, other lodges would want to relocate to other places and the building in Atlanta would fold.  Unsatisfied by the resistance to change and growth, the brothers of Derwin Brown Lodge accepted the hand that had been extended to them by GM Brown of Lazarus Grand Lodge.  In August 2001, Derwin Brown Lodge continued their dispensation, but now, under the authority of GM Brown and the Lazarus Grand Lodge.  

  On October 6th 2001, Derwin Brown #4 was Chartered under The Most Worshipful Lazarus Grand Lodge of Georgia by Most Worshipful Kelley Brown Jr.   The first Master was RT Worshipful Casey Thomas.  Bro. Thomas led the lodge through 2002.  In 2003 Bro. Everette Schoates was elected to the chair to carry them on a forward path.  RW. Casey Thomas was elected Grand Master that same year.  Bro. William Thomas was elected to the chair and these three since, have been the only three Masters of the lodge.

During the course of the next several years, the feeling of being “incomplete”  still remained with the brothers of Derwin Brown.  They had long studied the origins of Masonry in the US and its roots in America.  As history would reveal to them, Prince Hall was father of all “regular” masons in the Black community.  A great desire to be Brother Masons in its truest and most historic form now consumed the brothers.  They came to the conclusion that in order to complete their journey in search of light, they would need to join the mother lodge of “regular” made masons to be complete, Prince Hall.

In August of 2009, Brother Casey Thomas, under the guidance of Bro. Jermaine Green, contacted the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the Jurisdiction of Georgia to inquire about joining the Prince Hall family.  Soon, through the authority of GM Davis, RW Charles Truitt, DDGM called Brother Thomas to answer his questions and to offer to them, his services.  By the end of the month of August, Bro Thomas had met with DDGM Truitt and the relationship was born.  DDGM Truitt extended his right hand of brotherhood, and THE Derwin Brown Lodge accepted this gesture.  They were given applications to be healed into the PHA family.  Deputy Truitt cleared the way for Derwin Brown to be welcomed into the Prince Hall Jurisdiction of Georgia by requesting and receiving the authority to grant dispensation for the brothers to be healed and to begin work.  

On October 2, 2009, THE Derwin Brown Lodge, under the authority of MW Davis, Grand Master, became Anchored in Prince Hall Affiliated Masonry.  Under the direction of Bro. Charles Truitt, DDGM acting as Worshipful Master of True Level #595, the brothers of THE Derwin Brown Lodge were healed and welcomed with the open arms of the PHA family, a dream come true.  Bro. Jermaine Green, the Worshipful Master of True Level #595 was requested to be, and accepted the role as, mentor and to guide the new Lodge while under the Grand Master’s dispensation.   Bro Green has had a long relationship with Derwin Brown Lodge dating back to his own travels prior to joining the PHA family.  On October 7, 2009, THE Derwin Brown Lodge opened for the first time under the dispensation of the Grand Master of Masons for the Jurisdiction of Georgia.  Its officers, Casey Thomas, WM, William Thomas, SW, Josten Smith, JW, Jerome Edwards, SD, Delton Schoates, JD, William Adams, Secretary, Shannon Miller, Treasurer, Elijah Thomas, SS, Forrest Mouton, JS, Everette Schoates, Chaplain, and Tony Leonard, Tyler.  This marked a great day and the completion of finally finding “HOME”.  So Mote it be.