Melvin J. Bazemore

The Current
Soverign Grand Commander

About The Illustrious
Melvin J. Bazemore

Melvin J. (Johnathan) Bazemore is originally from Portsmouth, Virginia, and now resides in Randallstown, Maryland.

As a youth he relocated to Paterson, New Jersey, when his father—the late Rev. John L. Bazemore Sr., an adjutant bishop of the Church of God in Christ—relocated due to a pastoral re-assignment.  Reverend Bazemore was integral in persuading the mayor of Paterson, New Jersey, to offer a proclamation calling for the observation and celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.  It is this foundation which imbued Melvin with the desire for more progressively responsible citizenship.  An effusive and unyielding positivity infuses any conversation held with him.

After attending and graduating from the primary and secondary schools of Paterson, Melvin matriculated to and graduated from Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) in May 1976 with a Bachelor of Science degree in political science. A few years after earning his bachelor degree, he moved to the Motor City of Detroit to begin a career with General Motors (GM). Furthering his scholarship, he earned a Master of Arts degree in public administration from Oakland University (Detroit) in May 1983. To cap it all off, Melvin, being thoroughly immersed in continuing education, earned his third and terminal degree of Juris Doctor from Wayne State University (Detroit) in May 1992.

In recognition of the significant body of work as it pertains to his personal, professional, civic, and fraternal involvement and accomplishments, Wilberforce University bestowed an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in May 2022.

Concurrent with pursuing and completing higher education, Melvin steadily progressed through the corporate ranks of GM until being named as Director of Corporate and Government Relations/External Affairs.  In this position he actively engaged the business community and other key stakeholders directly involved with and tangential to the business of GM policy advocacy.  Proving himself essential and integral to this mission, GM transferred him and his family to the Washington, DC, area in 2005 to strengthen relationships and increase access to strategic partners and congressional lawmakers.  In 2009, Melvin retired from GM ending 34 years of service.  Enjoying an active retirement, he eventually began to lobby the federal government on behalf on numerous clients.

As a direct consequence of his position with GM Melvin became heavily involved in various civic and professional activities/organizations.  He is a lifetime member of the Detroit Regional Chamber and served as an NAACP Special Contribution Fund Trustee.  He also served on the Corporate Advisory Board of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Westchester and Rockland Countries, Inc.; Corporate Advisory Board of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; Corporate Advisory Council of the National Black Mayors Association; National Black Caucus of State Legislators Corporate Roundtable; National Coalition on Black Civic Participation; and the National Fair Housing Alliance Advisory Committee.

Taking his first steps into the Prince Hall masonic fraternity, Melvin joined Geometry Lodge No. 49 of Detroit in November 1989, and served as Worshipful Master in 2001.

Apart from freemasonry, Melvin saw it through to become a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. being initiated by and belonging to Nu Omega graduate chapter in Detroit in November 1998.

Further exploring the fraternal world available to him, Melvin became a Noble of Marracci Temple No. 13, AEAONMS and a Frater of Wolverine Consistory No. 6—both of Detroit.  He is also a member of the York Rite masonic bodies of Detroit and Metropolitan Lodge No. 962, IBPOEW, Detroit.  However, it was his experience with the Scottish Rite that embedded the desire to apply his professional talents thereto—and that he has done with much aplomb.

Enjoying a rapid (and steady) progression through the Scottish Rite ranks, Melvin was honored by being Elevated to the Thirty-third and Last Degree of Scottish Rite Freemasonry in May 1996 as a part of the Frank M. Summers Class.  Shortly thereafter he was reclassified to the executive ranks of the national Scottish Rite organization—the United Supreme Council, Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, P.H.A., Northern Jurisdiction, USA, Inc. (USC NJ)—and appointed as the Corporate Liaison where he secured more than $500,000 for USC NJ programmatic activities.

In May 2007, Melvin’s track record of success was acknowledged and rewarded when he was elected as the Illustrious Grand Minister of State—the third ranking officer of the organization.  In May 2016, he was elected as the Lieutenant Grand Commander—the second ranking officer of the organization.

Capping a stellar and unblemished Scottish Rite career, Melvin ascended as the 20th Sovereign Grand Commander of the United Supreme Council, Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, P.H.A., Northern Jurisdiction, USA, Inc. in July 2018.

The theme for his administration is a clever mnemonic device that portends his action plan for the years to come—“United in Service and Commitment:  Action, Accountability, Sustainable Results.  We do what we are—the USC AASR.  In doing so, excellence becomes a habit and is not just a singular act.  The mission of the USC NJ is “Securing the Future by Enhancing the Scottish Rite Experience.”

Melvin was married to his childhood sweetheart, Anita Francine Bazemore (Reed), for 42 years until her passing.  Three children were born to this union—Brian, Derrick, and Courtney.  He is “Pop Pop” to 9 grandchildren.

In his spare time Melvin enjoys fellowshipping with the members of his church (The Good Shepherd COGIC) and mentoring the younger members of the organization in the finer points of leadership.

The United Supreme Council, Northern Jurisdiction’s main objectives are community outreach; personal and fraternal development of its members; and the awarding of scholarships to need-based college students in underserved communities.  The United Supreme Council, Northern Jurisdiction owns and operates the Scottish Rite House and the Scottish Rite Tower offering more than 200 units of affordable housing for South Philadelphia’s elderly population.

The United Supreme Council, Northern Jurisdiction has operated continuously since April 1881.  Since that time the Jurisdiction has expanded to 23 Orients comprised of 29 states as far north and west as Alaska; as far east as Maine and as far south as Kansas; (1) territory (Guam); three (3) countries (The Bahamas, Barbados, and the Philippines); and a presence in seven (7) other countries (Bahrain, Canada, England, Germany, Japan, Korea, and Kuwait).

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