Short History of Prince Hall Masonry

Today, the Prince Hall Fraternity has over 4,500 lodges all around the world and has hundreds of thousands of members.

It was Prince Hall Masonry that opened the doors to Freemasonry for African Americans, even though it was not an easy task.

Following is a brief history of Prince Hall Masonry and more about African American Masonry and its infamous founder.

PRINCE HALL

Who Was Prince Hall?

Even though it is not quite clear where he was born, Prince Hall lived in America and was part of the “free blacks” which basically means that he was not a slave and was born a free man.

He always had great aspirations for black people in society and shared some of Freemasonry’s ideals even before he became a Mason; He believed in equality and freedom, which were values many African Americans wanted and what Freemasonry offered.

Hall wanted to obtain citizenship for black people and dreamed of black and white men being equal in front of the law. He was not only opposed to racial discrimination but he was also against class discrimination and fought for his ideals.

In 1796, for example, he built schools for black teenagers to give them the opportunity to educate themselves and take a step higher in society.

Prince Hall As A Freemason

Sharing many Freemasonic values, Hall sought admittance to the Craft in Boston St John’s Lodge together with another fourteen African American men. However, they were not allowed to become part of Freemasonry since at the time African Americans were not really allowed to enter the Craft.

However, Prince Hall and the other fourteen men did not give up there, and they were finally admitted to the Grand Lodge of Ireland where they were initiated in 1775.

While this was already a step forward, the struggle for African American Freemasons did not end there.

Until 1784 they had very limited privileges and were not allowed to do everything the other Freemasons did. While they were allowed to meet as an African American Lodge they were not very much accepted outside of their own lodge.

On the 2nd March 1784 Prince Hall finally put an end to this by petitioning for a warrant to the Grand Lodge of England.

He succeeded and thus founded the first African American Lodge and allowed people of color to become part of the Fraternity.

Until today, the warrant granted to Hall is the most precious document owned by the Prince Hall Masonic Fraternity as it marks the birth of African American Masonry in the world!

All this is owed to Prince Hall, and his successes as a Freemason do not end there. In 1791, Hall was appointed Provincial Grand Master, and at the same time he was the first Grand Master for the Prince Hall Fraternity, an office he kept until his death in 1807.

The Prince Hall Masonic Temple located at 1000 U Street, NW in the U Street Corridor of Washington, D.C.

Prince Hall Masonry Today

Today, Prince Hall Masonry has more than 300,000 members, with lodges from the United States, to Canada to Liberia.

Prince Hall is very often referred to as the father of black Masons in the United States as it is thanks to him that black Freemasons started being recognized and accepted as members of the fraternity. Bearing his name; the Prince Hall Fraternity will make sure this great man is never forgotten.


Are you a Prince Hall Mason? Please drop a comment below and let us know your thoughts about Prince Hall. I would love to hear all of your replies.

For a more detailed history of Prince Hall Masonry check out the interesting video below!

Thanks for reading and I hope you found this article enjoyable. If so it would mean a lot of you could share this with other brethren.

Till next time….


Short History of Prince Hall Masonry




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40 Comments

    • A beautiful piece of history. I am an American Mason living in the south United States. I belong to an old southern masonic lodge in a small southern city. I have a neighbor that is a Prince Hall Mason and he knows that I am a Mason. It’s unfortunate that we cannot communicate with each because of the atmosphere in our particular lodges. Such a pity.

    • Thanks for recognition for the Prince Hall Family. This Men & Women had a lot to do with American History. Nice work.

    • That is a nice knowledge there, a lot of that still going on today where some of the Scottish Rite hall are telling Afro-American to go Prince Hall . There reasoning is you’ll feel better with your on kind that is what I was told. We still have to deal with racist ideology no matter where we go. Even thou it is 2016 people are seeing so much negativity in the news and here in the United States. The state I live in a lot of our people living up to all the stereotype type, love to blame everyone else for there problems and mistake. We as a culture need to take the our responsibility seriously we need to start moving forward not backward.

    • It’s a shame that Prince Hall bro.can’t be recognized as AF&AM I am sure they would want to be recognized by 4 letter lodges I have friends in PH and can’t labor with their lodge or anything such a shame they have a rich history that can be shared with all just sad

    • Very enjoyable reading and I thank you for your article. Over the years I have witnessed the change and growth in my lodge. We have tried to welcome all freemasons to come together but hopefully the day will come. Again thank you.

    • This article is pretty old but still provides a good introduction to Prince Hall Masonry for the unaware. However, there is an error of fact regarding the date & event of 1791 when allegedly Prince Hall was appointed a Provincial Grand Master of Masons (English Constitution).
      This so called event has been debatable, and has not been verified to date.

    • I am a Prince Hall Free and Accepted Mason and I thoroughly appreciate the history lesson More of information like this need to be brought up about what this man has done and the brothers that came with him

    • I published a book called “Divine Intervention why me”. As a Mason for over 35 years, you know I can not lie to another Mason, therefore, my spiritual encounters are true and real. The reason I am posting this is because I met Jesus four times. The third time I met him and he gave me some advice. His words and not mine. “Seeks the help of the Masons”. I am still at a lost of why he said that. I communicated with several lodges and NEVER received a response from any of them. I’m going to assume that the Lord wants me to share my encounters with every lodges. I really don’t know. Since this is a Mason site, “I need your help”. No, I don’t want anyone’s money, but I would like to see Masons around the world read my book. The book will be available around February. I am willing to come to you whether it’s to share or book signing. I live in the Las Vegas, NV area, so there should not be any expenses on me or you. Outside the area, you may need to get involved in the transportation and or lodging. It’s up to you. I don’t charge. Thank you. Vinnie Esposito

  1. Even though I now belong to a “main stream” lodge, I was originally introduced to Freemasonry by a brother
    from a PHA lodge in CA. What an adventure! I learned SO
    much about my African American Brother’s rich history…and the African American’s contributions to our society, that we take for granted, and just don’t think about. Whether you be lack or White…I strongly suggest you read the assorted books like: Black Compass & Square, The History of the Buffalo Soldiers,
    The Masonic Life of Prince Hall, then re-watch the movie: Glory. I was totally amazed with the rich history we, as a country, was…and is blessed by the brethren’s commitments and integrities. I wouldn’t trade my enlightenment for anything.

  2. Greetings in the name of the Grand Architect of the Universe!

    I am a Prince Hall Mason and this article is AWESOME!!! I met a Brother Mason that is a member of AF & A Lodge in GA. He was traveling through MN when I live in Grand Forks, ND. He too wouldn’t communicate with me because I am a black mason until…..I was 1st officer for Mesaba Airline (co-pilot). So when I greeted him on the phone, I saw his light, greeted him with hand shake and he rejected me. I was hurt but understood. See in ND, White and Black masons did away with not working together by having joint degree work together and join each other’s lodge. However, we were delayed by whether getting back to the Twin Cities, MN and he missed his connecting flight. Northwest, whom we are a feeder airline for in there normal mess up’s, left a voucher for him to stay in a hotel 2 miles from the airport, but because of the snow storm, the airport was closed. He had no way to get to his hotel. So after I post flight check the plane and finished our end flight logs, I noticed this brother standing at the counter upset about his situation. At first I just walked away, BUT my OBLIGATION wouldn’t allow me too. Since this was my home base, I had my Explorer and took him to his hotel, picked him up in the morning and made sure he got back to the airport in time for his flight. He was so surprised at that I did, after the way he treated me, that he demanded that his lodge change, or he would demit to a lodge that acknowledged Price Hall Masons.

  3. Greetings brethren, I am an English brother who is a member of a Prince Hall lodge in the UK. Our Grand Lodge is recognised as regular by the GLE and I am able to visit English Lodges, I am always made to feel welcome when I attend, on one occasion I was asked to give a short talk about Prince Hall Masonry.

    What I have realised is that although our rituals may differ there is no real difference we all take the same obligations.

    We are when all is said and done members of the same great fraternity.

  4. I am a Prince Hall Mason in Atlanta GA.
    Nice and informative article. We must remember that it is The Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man, one day we will meet together on the level as upright Men and Masons.

  5. I am a 40+ year member of Freemasonry & a “Past” in all parts of the York Rite. When I was first made a Mason Prince Hall Affiliated Masons were considered clandestine by my Grand Lodge. While change comes slowly in our ancient fraternity, it does eventually happen, and I am pleased to say that my Grand Lodge eventually saw the light & arranged mutual recognition with PHA Masonry. So Mote It Ever Be.

  6. This was a great article. I’ve often wondered about Prince Hall and my African American Brothers. I belong to a Lodge in a small town in Indiana. We don’t have any African American brothers in my Lodge but we have a Prince Hall Lodge in town.

  7. A beautiful brotherhood we all share and a great history to remember. We are a family of one as we build ourselves to be better men no matter what race. Downey United 220 in California.

  8. When I was going through degrees in 1961 FA&AM in Scotland, Paisley St Mirren 129 was visiting Lodge Moorpark 1263 to do a degree. One of the officers was from Ghana, was black and you could not have met a nicer person as a brother. When I came to the California I could not believe I could not attend a lodge of blacks, this surprised me as I was not aware that whites were not allowed to visit PH lodges as in Scotland it did not matter. I don’t think they had PH that we knew off.

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