, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 595-603
Date: 25 Jul 2012


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The Allure of Black Fraternal Organizations

Fraternal organizations hold a storied place in the Western world. Sometimes romanticized and occasionally framed as malevolent and controlling forces, fraternal organizations are often thought to influence, if not rule, the social order from the shadows. Membership in these organizations is often simultaneously revered and misunderstood. The reverence toward these organizations is both a product and a cause of recent popular cultural fascination with the secret world of fraternal orders. For example, the 2006 film The Good Shepherd portrayed Matt Damon's character's coming of age via the Yale University secret society “Skull and Bones,” all against the backdrop of the burgeoning Cold War and McCarthyism. Dan Brown's recent books qua films (The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, and The Lost Symbol) follow Tom Hanks' character “Harvard Professor Robert Langdon” and his attempts to disentangle the web of deceit and manipulation that supposedly cha ...