Thursday, August 4, 2011

Boston's Prince Hall and Black Freemasonry

Prince Hall (d. 1807) was the nation's first black activist, and throughout his life he petitioned Massachussets legislature for black rights. Hall's early years are sketchy, "but it is certain that by 1770 Prince Hall was a free, literate, black man living in Boston...and had served in the Massachusetts militia during the American Revolutionary War."

Prince Hall and other educated free men in Boston founded the first black Freemason lodge called African Lodge No. 1 and named Hall their Grand Master. For a time its 35 members outnumbered the white Freemason lodge in Boston.

Hall's African Lodge No. 1 received its charter from the English Grand Lodge "and was thus entitled to all Masonic rights...without prejudice." By 2008, 41 out of the 51 mainstream U.S. Grand Lodges recognize Prince Hall Grand Lodges. Those that don't are in the South.

Hall is buried in an historic cemetery in Boston with other notable Colonials. Many free black men were buried without headstones, but Hall had one. In 1835, a permanent memorial was erected in his honor.

This man's life was very interesting. You should read it for yourself.

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