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Submitted: 9/13/20 • Approved: 9/14/20 • Last Updated: 9/14/20 • R17199-G0
1748 - 7 Dec 1807
Masonic Grand Master. The best scholarship for Hall's birth is based on records found in Barbados. He may have been the son of an English leather worker and a free black woman, and was therefore a freeman, but this is unconfirmed. It is alternately speculated that he was the slave of one William Hall of Boston who freed a man named Prince Hall in 1765, but that particular Prince Hall cannot be conclusively linked to any one individual, as several men named Prince Hall were living in Boston at that time. It is known, however, that in 1762, Hall joined the Congregational Church in Boston. By 1773, he had acquired real estate and qualified to vote. In 1775, Hall and fourteen other black men were admitted into Masonic Lodge Number 441, Irish Constitution. In 1776, when the British evacuated Boston, the Irish lodge, which was attached to the 38th Regiment of Foot, gave Hall and his follows the right to meet as African Lodge Number 1. By 1777, Hall was distributing anti-slavery petitions, drawing parallels between the principals of the American Revolution and the emancipation of slaves. By 1784, Hall had made no progress in Boston for the full acceptance of his lodge, and petitioned the Grand Lodge Number 55 of London to charter an independent African Lodge. The charter was issued, and in 1787 the African Masonic Lodge was officially established. In 1791, black Freemasons met in Boston and formed the African Grand Lodge of North America. Hall was unanimously elected its Grand Master. In 1798, Hall established a private school for free black children, the African Free School, in his son's home. After Hall's death, funeral rites were held for him in accord with Masonic ritual. He was buried in Boston in late March, 1808, after a large procession followed his body to the gravesite. Within a year of his death, Hall's followers renamed the African Masonic Lodge Prince Hall Masons in Hall's honor. Today, Prince Hall Grand Lodges exist in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and Liberia numbering some 4,500 lodges worldwide, with a membership of over 300,000 Masons.
Bio by: Iola
Contributed on 9/13/20 by tomtodd
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Record #: 17199