Prince Hall and the Prince Hall Masons

Prince Hall

Prince Hall

Prince Hall (1748-1807) is the honored founder of the Prince Hall Masons, who are celebrating their 228th anniversary in the United States in 2003. Founded July 18, 1887, Iowa Prince Hall Masons are celebrating their 116th year.

Their mission is to disseminate charity; promote the spirit of brotherly love; teach and encourage the idea of peace, harmony and good will among the people and loyalty to the constituted authority of our state and country.

On March 6, 1775, John Batt of the Grand Lodge of Ireland initiated Prince Hall and 14 other free black men into Masonry in Army Lodge No. 44. When the British left Boston on March 17, 1776, Batt authorized Prince Hall and his brethren to form African Lodge No.1 on July 3, 1776. For nine years this Lodge enjoyed limited privileges as Masons, distressed that Prince Hall’s attempts to formally associate with Caucasian Grand Lodges were frustrated by racism.

In 1787, African Lodge received a Charter from the Grand Lodge of England and began the parallel lines of black and Caucasian Freemasonry which existed almost to the present day. Over time, Prince Hall and the original African Lodge established other Lodges. Prince Hall died in 1807.

The descendent Grand Lodges of the original 18th century African Grand Lodge changed their names to “Prince Hall Grand Lodge” with two exceptions. Throughout the world, there are now 44 “Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodges,” 5000 subordinate Lodges and over 300,000 Prince Hall Masons.

For many years, church and such fraternal organizations as Prince Hall Masonry were among the strongest organizations in the black communities. Masonic Lodge Halls often housed church services and literacy classes. Prince Hall Masons provided college scholarships and sponsored community charitable projects.

On July 15, 2000, a Resolution of Recognition was signed by The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge, F. &. A.M. of Iowa and Jurisdiction, Inc. On September 16, 2000, a similar resolution was signed by the Grand Lodge of Iowa, A.F. & A.M. Both mutually agreed to “Dwell together in harmony. To develop…appropriate liaison contacts and plan future cooperative events and activities. To recognize the other as legitimate proponents of brotherly love, relief and truth within the State of Iowa and do accord each other rights of visitation in Grand Lodge and subordinate lodges….”