Building bridges with our Prince Hall Brethren

Discussion in 'Prince Hall Freemasonry' started by Blake Bowden, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    As Masons, one of our primary objectives is to shine the light of knowledge into the darkness of ignorance. One such dark area that shows itself over and over amongst our Brethren across the state is our ignorance of the history and regularity of our worthy Brothers laboring under the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas.

    Prince Hall was a black man in Massachusetts during the mid-late 1700s. On March 6th, 1775, he and 14 other black men were made Masons at Castle William Island in Boston Harbor by Lodge #441 of the Irish Registry attached to the 38th British Foot Infantry. A year later the unit left Boston due to the Revolutionary War, leaving Prince Hall and the others without a lodge. The Worshipful Master of that lodge left these Brothers with a permit to meet and perform Masonic funerals, but not to perform degrees or bring in any new members. On March 2nd, 1784, this Lodge petitioned the Grand Lodge of England for a charter to meet as a regular Lodge with all rights and privileges to bring in new members and perform other Masonic work. The Grand Lodge of England issued this charter on September 29th, 1784, authorizing this lodge to work as African Lodge #459. In 1791, Prince Hall was appointed Provincial Grand Master, and several years later, he authorized several other lodges in New England to begin work under African Lodge’s charter. On December 4th, 1807, Prince Hall passed away. A year later, the Brethren of the lodges he organized decided to form a Grand Lodge, and on June 18th, 1827, they declared themselves free from the control of the Grand Lodge of England, officially establishing themselves as African Grand Lodge #1. Twenty years later, the name would be changed to Prince Hall Grand Lodge. At this point, Prince Hall Grand Lodges began to spread across the rest of the country, and now 47 Grand Lodges can claim lineage from the original Prince Hall Grand Lodge.

    In August of 1875, representatives of five “Negro Lodges†operating in Texas under the Grand Lodge of Kansas met to form the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas F. & A.M. On August 20th, 1875, Brother N.W. Cuney was elected its first Grand Master. It then grew steadily from those five original lodges in Southeast Texas to encompass the state.

    On March 8th, 1995 the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts A.F. & A.M. and the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts joined in mutual recognition. This set off a chain reaction across the country. In 2007, the Grand Masters from the Grand Lodge of Texas, A.F. & A.M. and the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas, F. & A.M. came together and signed a compact declaring that both Grand Lodges have shared territorial jurisdiction since 1875, and declared each other regular and Masonic, unfortunately however, we do not yet have visitation or Masonic communication, as they do in many other states.

    There seems to be much confusion in and about the Temple on our part concerning this compact and its implications. We have a difficult time locating it, whereas it is shown visibly on the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas’ website, along with pictures of it being signed. I have asked numerous times for clarification of what “Masonic communication†means, and have yet to receive satisfactory or even consistent answers.

    For those of us of the younger generations, our biggest question is why we are one of the remaining few states without visitation? With the territorial dispute put to rest with the signing of the compact, it leaves few other reasons. That is another question you are guaranteed to get inconsistent answers to. I’ve asked this question numerous times to many people. Answers range from we didn’t want it, they didn’t want it, the time isn’t right, etc. Myself having been born after the “separate but equal†days, much of this is beyond my scope of comprehension. A phrase that should speak to the hearts of all worthy Brothers says this: “Behold, how pleasant it is for Brethren to dwell together in unity…†My Brothers, the key word here is together. Not separate. TOGETHER. Why is this such a cloudy issue? Why are answers so hard to find? With one of our principle tenets being Truth, why do we hide from it?

    So, again I ask what is “Masonic communication?†My interpretation relies on common sense and conscience. We obviously can’t sit in a tiled function together at this point, but we can do things open to the public. We can attend public fundraisers, lodge functions open to the public, etc. I would recommend we take advantage of these opportunities we have. Today we can set the example for what will become tomorrow’s standard. Brotherly love knows no boundaries except for those we put there. Let’s do the right thing and stop letting a repressive history get in the way of creating a progressive future.

    Source: Bro. Tom Shelton, PM Fort Worth No. 148
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2010
  2. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    Prince Hall Masonry

    This is an article that will soon be featured in our newsletter that we are in the process of putting together. The article is on the history of Prince Hall and Masonry. It was written and researched by Thomas Shelton, who is also a Grand South Candidate this year.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2010
  3. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Maybe this would work..lol

    "In recognition of the fact that both Grand Lodges are regular in origin and legitimate in nature, now therefore be it resolved that:

    It is mutually agreed by The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Texas and The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Texas on this ___ day of ___, ___, that we dwell together in peace and harmony, and each do hereafter fraternally recognize the other as legitimate proponents of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth within the state of Texas and do accord to the other rights of visitation in Grand Lodge and constituent lodges wheresoever assembled, subject to the rights, powers and authority of the Grand Masters and the Masters of the constituent lodges to preside over their respective Grand Lodges and lodges."
     
  4. Dave in Waco

    Dave in Waco Premium Member

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    Perhaps this is something that RW Carnes will address this coming year.
     
  5. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    I pray he does.
     
  6. Jamesb

    Jamesb Registered User

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    +5 to his agility
     
  7. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Good work, Blake!
     
  8. Hippie19950

    Hippie19950 Premium Member

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    I ask again.... Does PHA want this? If not, why are we pushing for it? I have talked with the few I know, and they are happy with the way things are, but this may not be in other, larger areas. Here in this small rural area, the PHA Brothers are happy with just being able to recognize each other...

    Paul Munsel
    Golden Rule 361
    Hearne, Texas.
     
  9. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    From what we hear in Ft Worth a good majority of PHA brothers want full recognition.
     
  10. blackbeard

    blackbeard Registered User

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    sticky subject. my GL recognizes PH and likewise here....but when a PH brother from atlanta showed up here i found out that he couldn't sit in my lodge because the PHGL of GA didn't recognize us because we were not PH....really? yep, really.
     
  11. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

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    "under whose jurisdiction I may be"
     
  12. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    At our just concluded Grand Annual Communication the chairman of the Fraternal Relations Committee reported that GLoT had received a letter from PHAoT requesting full relations, including intervisitation, and that they were going to get together & discuss it early in 2011.
     
  13. TCShelton

    TCShelton Founding Member Premium Member

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    Nice. Delighted to see this.
     
  14. Brojay357

    Brojay357 Registered User

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    @Blackbeard my brother the story you heard about the Georgia masons was not the whole story at all georgia has refused to recognize PGA masonry every step of the way and it's all about color I'm sure we can remember only about three are four years back the grand master non pha stopped the initiation of a duly elected worthy qualified candidate in Georgia
     
  15. robert leachman

    robert leachman Registered User

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    Probably alot of resistance on both sides.
    That being said, I think it will happen...just not sure when.
     
  16. Dave in Waco

    Dave in Waco Premium Member

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    The first step is usually the hardest.
     
  17. Rell357

    Rell357 Registered User

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    This is a great piece. I am a Prince Hall Mason in the state of GA, and unfortunately we are not recognized in this state although the GLE declared recognition to PH lodges in 1784 and AGAIN(due to being stricken from the rolls in the late 1790's) in 1994. I am glad to see that my home state of TX recognizes PH as an equal. I have personally experienced being shunned by other brothers here in GA just because of my prince hall affiliation. Which is very confusing because those types of actions are the exact opposite of what we learn as masons. Essentially why do we need a sheet of paper with signatures on it in order to recognize each other as brethren, I understand the importance of following the by laws of a masons respective grand lodge, but at the end of the day, it's really a lot more simpler than its being made out to be. Landmark XXII teaches THE EQUALITY OF ALL MASONS. We should put the working tools of a master mason to work to establish a bond between all masons, no matter the affiliation.
     
  18. Bro.BruceBenjamin

    Bro.BruceBenjamin Premium Member

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    The part of this I object to is affiliation. We cannot affiliate with clandestine masons.
    The ordinary meaning of this word is secret, hidden. The French word clandestin, from which it is derived, is defined by Boiste to be something fait en cachette et contre les lois, a phrase meaning in the French language Done in a hiding place and against the laws, which better suits the Masonic signification, which refers to what is illegal, or not authorized. Irregular is the word which is often used for small departures from custom.

    Source: Masonic Dictionary
     
  19. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    Yes, there are some 'affiliations' that I don't want to be associated with. Those that don't require belief in a supreme being, etc.

    That sheet of paper does become important at times.
     
  20. Rell357

    Rell357 Registered User

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    True. I should have been more specific in that statement.
     

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