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The Most Worshipful



Prince Hall

A Pioneer of Freemasonry

 Who was Prince Hall?

It is a question that has been asked many times over the past 240 years and has almost as many answers.

Prince Hall is considered to be the founder of "Black Freemasonry" in the United States, which is more commonly known today as Prince Hall Freemasonry.

On March 6, 1775, Prince Hall and fourteen other free black men were initiated, passed and raised in Military Lodge No. 441, an integrated Lodge attached to the British Army and then stationed in Boston.  When the British Army left Boston in 1776, the black Masons were granted a dispensation for limited operations as African Lodge No. 1.  They were granted a charter by the Premier Grand Lodge of England in 1784 as African Lodge No. 459.

In 1791, black Freemasons met in Boston and formed the African Grand Lodge of North America.  Prince Hall was unanimously elected its Grand Master and served until his death in 1807.  The African Grand Lodge was later renamed the Prince Hall Grand Lodge in his honor. 

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PRINCE HALL ORIGIN: The name Prince Hall being associated with a Grand Lodge resulted from a Grand Warrant issued by the National Masons (Colored), to the Prince Hall Grand Lodge in Boston, Mass. in 1848; one year after the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Ancient York Masons (Colored), to the Prince Hall Grand Lodge in Boston, Mass. It was on April 28, 1848 that the National Grand Lodge presented the Old African Grand Lodge of Boston a new State warrant under the name Prince Hall Grand Lodge. In most of the early States the warrants and charters for constituting a Grand Lodge were granted by the National Grand Lodge. From 1848 to 1888 the National Grand Lodge issued nearly all of the Warrants and Charters for Grand Lodges. Around 1863 there came dissension and disagreement among the members of the National Grand Lodge and some of the delegates walked out. From the group that left the National Grand Lodge, charters were secured by them to practice masonry under the sanction of the State. This group later took the name Prince Hall Masons, who are often referred to as “State Rite” Masons.