Prince Hall Day celebration
By Staff writer
In January of every year, we celebrate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. There are very few people that have a need to ask why we celebrate his birthday. But before there was a Dr. King, Malcolm X, W.E.B Dubois, Thurgood Marshall, or any other civil right leader, there was Prince Hall, a man who devoted his life to social, political, and economic empowerment for the advancement of Black’s here in the United States.
Prince Hall is best known as the founder/Father of Black Freemasonry in the United States. Prior to becoming the first Black mason in the United States, Hall lobbied tirelessly for the rights of Blacks. Prince Hall pushed for the rights of Blacks to receive an education, gain the right to vote, serve in the military, own property and even fought for the abolishment of slavery. In addition, Hall was one of Boston’s most prominent citizens.
Prince Hall was given his freedom a month after the Boston Massacre. Hall was listed as a voter, property owner and taxpayer. It is believed by many the served in the military and fought in the battle of Bunker Hill. The Masonic fraternity was extremely attractive to free Blacks in the18th century, but membership was granted only to whites. On several occasions, Hall was denied membership to become a Free-mason. After several years of pushing for what he desired, Hall and 14 other Black men were granted membership and initiated in 1775.
The members of his lodge voted Hall as Worshipful Master. The election did not keep Hall for fighting for the rights of Blacks; in fact he used his position as Master of the Lodge to continue the fight for equality. In addition to all of these accomplishments, Prince Hall was one of the first Blacks to push for a Black to Africa movement.
On July 3, 1775 Prince Hall and several others helped to establish the first Black Order of Black Free and Accepted Masons anywhere in the world. Prince Hall died in 1807 at the age of 72. Shortly after his death, His lodge honored him by naming its Grand Lodge after him. Over the past 237 years of service, many lodges have been established on several military bases, all across the United Stated, and abroad. W.E.B Dubois, Booker T. Washington, Thurgood Marshall, Jesse Jackson, Governors David Patterson, Douglass Wilder, and P.B.S Pinchback all are Prince Hall masons.
If you would like to learn more about Prince Hall, come and celebrate Prince Hall Day with us on Sept. 16, 2012 at Mt. Hermon AME Church at 3 p.m. The preacher for the service will be Rev. Dr. Kyle C. Gibson, senior pastor of Metropolitan A.M.E Church in Liberty City.