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History of Rameses Temple No. 51

Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order of the Mystic Shrine


Rameses Temple was charter August 12, 1912 in Charlotte, NC Some of the officers were Noble B.F. Martin, ILL, Potentate and Noble C. R. Blake, Jr. Chief Rabban. Some of the Imperial officers were: Nobles Eugene Phillips, Imperial Potentate, Joe H. Sherwood, Imperial Deputy Potentate, A.J. Sellers, Imperial Assistant Rabban, and J.H. Murphy, Sr. Imperial Recorder. Noble Caesar R. Blake, Jr. a railway postal clerk of Rameses Temple No.51 in Charlotte, NC was elected Imperial Potentate in 1919. He served from 1919 to 1931 he died while in office.

On December 14, 1918, there were those in the land who, because of the difference of race, questioned our tights to be known as Shrines and sought to deprive us of the privilege of practicing our ancient mysteries. To accomplish this purpose, they brought suites against us in the courts of Texas, and the courts of Texas issued orders, which if allowed to stand, would have destroyed us. Noble Caesar R. Blake, Jr. who was Imperial Potentate and a member of Rameses Temple No. 51 Charlotte, NC went up and down the land urging the nobility to battle; on the third (3rd) day of June in 1929, Mr. Justice Van Devanter confirmed our right to work and act as Shrines. This decision enables all black groups to have benefits of the American Way of Life.

Other members of Rameses Temple who served with Noble Blake were: Bishop Dale, who served as Imperial Recorder, Noble Zachariah Alexander, Sr. (plain Z), who served as Imperial Deputy Potentate.

Rameses Temple has participated in many state, local and national activities. Rameses Temple Drill Patrol was organized under the administration of Ill. Potentate Noble L.N. Smith in the year 1955. Under the leadership of Noble Walter P. Holmes, who was an officer in the U.S. Army Reserves, the patrol won seventeen (17) state championships. This group performed though out North Carolina as well as in other parts of the United States. This patrol was also in the top three (3) team in the United States for a number of years.

In 1970 Rameses Temple sponsored Miss Evett Walker in our state Talent and Scholarship Contest. She won the State contest and went on to win the Imperial Council Talent and Scholarship Contest in Boston, Mass., becoming the first and only girl from NC to become the National Queen.

Rameses Temple also participated in a Long Underwear Baseball Game, which was played between Temples to raise funds. The Temples involves were Rameses, Kindal #62, Fayetteville, NC Sethos # 170, Winston-Salem, NC and Zafa # 176, Durham, NC The game was played on home bases. This brought good relationship among Temples; the Rameses Temple #51 won all games. The members of the winning team were Noble GE MeKeithan, LN. Smith, Willie L. Little, William Walker, Eugene Potts, Herman Thomas, Thomas Simmons, John Weathers, Allen Derrant and Walter P. Holmes.

Rameses Temple #51 CO-sponsored with Rameses Court #78 The Issettes, a group of thirty-four (34) or more girls in a youth group. This group of girls was trained by Noble Walter P. Holmes and under the leadership of Daughter Grace Hill, who was the Ill. Commandress of Rameses Court #78 and Daughter Emma Dunlapp, who was the Deputy of Oasis of Rameses Court #78, this group was Number Two (2) and number three (3) in the United State for a number of years,

In the year of 1962, with Noble Walter P. Holmes serving as the Ill. Potentate of Rameses Temple, the Temple worshipped with him at his church (East Stonewall A.M.E. Zion) as an honor to him on his birthday, February 10. This was the second (2nd) Sunday in February. As a result of this, it was voted to have our worship service the second Sunday in February thereafter.

The North Carolina Gala Day was held in Charlotte in 1964, and again in 1968. Both times that Rameses hosted these ceremonies we had the largest number of noble and daughters ever to attend a Gala Day function. We numbered well over 1500. Noble W. P. Holmes, Imperial Deputy of the Oasis, was the local chairman in 1964 and in 1968 he was the Gala Day chairman. Noble Holmes invited the noble and daughters to his church for the Sunday morning worship service. A motorcade was formed at the then Hotel Charlotte to the church (East, Stonewall A. M. E. Zion) where Dr. Henry Hester delivered the sermon. Noble Hester was Past Imperial Potentate. This was the beginning of the Gala Day Worship Service.

Rameses Temple has two (2) nobles who played a great part in the sport program for the state, The Shrine Youth Bowl, sponsored by the Desert of North Carolina. The Games were designed to aid Boys Clubs of the State. Noble W. P. Holmes of Rameses Temple was the State Chairman and Noble Edward High was the Financial Secretary. Under their leadership, the game was very successful. This game was played annually until 1967 when the chairman, Noble Holmes, invited Jimmy Kirkpatrick (BLACK) and Harris Woodside (WHITE) to play in the Shrine Youth Bowl Game. The issue was that Kirkpatrick was not picked to play in the All White Shrine Bowl Game because of his color, so the chairman thought it would be OK to play in the Negro Shrine Bowl Game. IT was then that we found out that if he played, it could possibly result in a year's probation after a player entered college.

After several meetings with Simon Terrell, secretary of the N.C.H.S. Athletic Assoc. in Chapel Hill, NC as to why Negro boys could not play in the all-white Bowl Game, Noble Holmes and Noble Edward High found out the real reason the white high schools belonged to the N C High School Assoc. and the Black high school belonged to the N C high School Conference. In order to play in the all-white Bowl Game you had to belong to the NC High School Athletic Assoc. Noble Walter Holmes and Noble Edward High with the help of the late Noble Kelly Alexander, Sr. and Noble Dr. Craig Phillip, then Supt. of Charlotte-Mecklenburg County School, met again with the Board of Education concerning the All Star Game. The next year West Charlotte High in Charlotte in Charlotte, NC became a member of the NC High School Athletic Assoc. thus making all Black High schools eligible to become members. That same year Titus Ivory of West Charlotte High School became the first (1st) black to play in the formerly All white Shrine Bowl Game of the Carolinas. As of today 50 per cent of that Game's players is of color. Hats off to Noble Holmes and Noble High and Noble Kelly Alexander, Sr. for a job well done!

Other highlights of Rameses temple were: For two (2) years Rameses Temple CO-hosted the CIAA North/South Champions Bowl with the CIAA and West Charlotte

Optimist Club. This endeavor provided funds for medical research, scholarship, and youth activities. Noble WP Holmes was the Project CO-ordinate. Noble GE Mckeithan and his committee planned and executed the Christmas party for underprivileged children held on Christmas morning. His committee was Noble E. High, Noble E. Potts and Noble Dr. Walter Washington. This was later changed to Help A Child To Smile.

In 1962 Rameses Temple had its first (1st) Annual Banquet. Noble Walter Holmes was presented a plaque as a symbol of being honored as Shriner of the Year, the first (1st) for Rameses Temple.

During the years, The "Black Camel" have invaded our ranks and claimed many of our Nobles, just to name a few Nobles who have made great contributions to Rameses Temple:

Caesar R. Blake, Jr. Henry A. Ferguson
Zachariah Alexander Joe Hinton
Bishop Dale         Herman Thomas
William B. Harrison Willie (Snooke) McDowell
Jimmie Howell Bobby Stevenson
J. Ellis Hunter Willie McKnight
L N Smith Trent Murray
Edward Lock       Sylvester Currence
John Choates William Crawford
Oliver Grier Colvin M. Edward
William Chisholm (Rock Hill, SC)  Kelly Alexander, Sr.
Dr. W. Percy Carter (Gastonia, NC) G E Mckeithan
Dave Moore Grover C. Gray
Fred D. Alexander Thomas W. Simmons
Eugene (Gene) Potts Cleo Nesbit
Arthur Holloway, Jr. Calvin B. Barnhill
Charlie S. Caldwell John E. Gist
Isadora Milledge            Caleb McManus
Albert Roseboro Walter B. Taylor, Sr.
William A. Wall Clarence Perry
James F. Alexander Andrew R. Brewton
Craven D. Funderburke Thomas L. Helms, Jr.
Robert L. Moore Lewis J. Jackson
Moses S. Sharpe Ollie Tillman
Ankarum Wilson Walter Patterson
Andrew Bright William Allen
Joe Brown            Josiah Frazier
Johnny G. Johnson Walter McDaniel, Jr.
Thorny Nash James A. Stitt
Sidney G. Waddell Clarence Zeigler
Charlie Donaldson John McBeth
Wilbert H. Ferguson James F. Alexander


Members of Rameses Temple who have served as Imperial Officers are:

Noble Caesar R. Blake, Jr., Imperial Potentate, 1919-1931

Noble Zack Alexander, Sr., Deputy Imperial Potentate, 1939-1954

Noble Bishop Dale, Imperial Recorder

Noble Walter P. Holmes, Imperial Deputy Commander of Foot Patrols

Noble Jesse Younge, Imperial Deputy of the Desert of NC

Noble Fred D. Alexander, lmperial Organizer

Noble James A. Shands, Imperial Advisor

Members who have served as Deputy of the Oasis are:

James A. Shands Fred D. Alexander
G E Mckeithan Edward J High
Walter P. Holmes Sylvester Currence
David H. Garris James Bennett


During the year, Rameses Temple has had several dedicated members who have served in various positions in the community and State. Here are some of those outstanding members and their positions:

James A. Shands-!9th District Deputy Grand Master M.W.P.H.G.M.

James (Jim) Richardson-Postmaster and NC House of Representatives and NC State Senator

Fred D. Alexander-Charlotte City Council and NC Senate, Grand Secretary NC
Grand Chapter Order of The Eastern Star.

Charles Costner- Grand Worthy Patron-NC Grand Chapter Order of the Eastern

David Manns-Postmaster

Edward J. (Ed.) High-Charlotte Mecklenburg Airport Commission

Walter P. Holmes-Park and Recreation Commission

Rowe Motley-County Commission, NC. State Senate

Fred Alexander-l9th District Deputy Grand Master, 33rd. District Deputy Grand Master. Western Region K.O.P. Director.

James E. Harrell-32nd District Deputy Grand Master, Special Deputy Grand Master, M.W.P.H.G.L. Chairman Grand Chapter Trustee Board Order of the Eastern Stars of NC.

David H. Garris-32nd District Deputy Grand Master

Leo Lower-Right Eminent Grand Commander-Tar-Hill Grand Commandry

Lecola Mungo- Right Eminent Grand Commander-Tar Hill Grand Commandry

Most Worthy Joshua H.O.J. Grand Court

James Mungo-Grand Worthy Patron- NC Grand Chapter Order of the Eastern Star

From 1923 to 1977 Rameses Temple met in the M.I.C. Building on Bevard and Third St. When it became necessary to move the Temple because of improvements being made by the city, the Temple moved to a building at the corner of Beatties Ford Rd. and LaSalle St. In 1977 Rameses bought the Lodge Hall that Formerly housed The Moose Lodge, located at 119 E. 8th St. for the sum of $50.000.00 and again in 1984 because of improvements of the city we were again without a home, so in 1984 Rameses sold this building for $300.000.00. In 1989 Rameses brought 4. I acres of land for $55,000.00 in the Northwood Section on the West Side of Charlotte under the leadership of Thomas McLaughlin. We were hoping to construct the Temple and move in sometime in 1990 The GroundBreaking was December 1 l, 1992. The officers of the Temple at that time were: James Bennett- Chief Rabban, Paul Ford-Assistant Rabban, Elliott Martin-Recorder, James F. Alexander-Treasure, Walter P. Holmes-Chairman Trustee Board.

During the time when we first moved into our newly attained building, money was tight H.P.P. Romeo Alexander was our Treasure, and it was times that we didn't have the funds to pay bills, Noble Alexander would paid money out of his pocket in order to keep out creditors off out backs.

In 1990 Ms. Michelle Dolphus, a student at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City represented Rameses in the Desert's William C. Parker / Scholarship Pageant at Gala Day.

One of our biggest highlight of the year is the end of year activities, our New Year's Eve Dance that was being held at the Charlotte Civic Center for a number of years. and is now held at the Temple.

We can speak in glowing terms of all our Potentates for we have had a fruitful and challenging past, but lest we forget, may we review the servants of our Temple.

Bishop Dale*

Bill Lowe

Sylvester Currence*

Caesar R. Blake, Jr.*

Jessie Younge

Leo Lowery

Zack Alexander, Sr.*

Eugene Barringer

Fred D. Alexander*

W.B. Harrison*

David Garris

R. P. Reeder*

Dr. Percy Carter*

Thomas McLaughlin

James Bennett

James A. Shands*

Edward High

James Lilly

L.N. Smith*

Julius Watson

Walter P. Holmes

G.E. McKeithan*

Walter Lewis

James E. Harrell

James Eaves

John James*


* Denotes Decease


Rameses Temple has several members who are Honorary Past Potentates; they are:

James Grier

Romeo Alexander

Lecola Mungo

Walter Burns

Charles Hill

Elliot Martin

Albert Franklin

Charles Costner

Walter B. Taylor


Subsequently the property in Northwood Estate was sold and property on Beatties Ford Rd. was purchased at a cost of $37,000.00. Ground was broken in October 1992 and construction started in February 1993 during the Administration of P.P. James Eaves.

After several work stoppages, a new contractor was hired and funding was secured through the assistance of the NAACP The present edifice was completed in August 1996 under the Administration of and leadership of Illustrious P.P. Walter Lewis, Sr.