Keeping myself in check.

Discussion in 'Prince Hall Freemasonry' started by Mike Cameron, Aug 11, 2011.

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  1. Mike Cameron

    Mike Cameron Registered User

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    I would like to begin this by assuring everyone that these are MY thoughts and beliefs and I do not intend to disrespect anyone by stating these beliefs. I write this asking for my Brothers thoughts concerning my ideals in order to be sure that in arriving at these ideals, I haven't missed something that will allow me to be be blinded to the light that I search for.

    I know that there is a lot of talk about the recognition of "Prince Hall" Masons. There are people who say that the entire debate is fueled by racism. Here are my thoughts as a newer Brother who has attempted to educate himself through Masonic research. First of all, I am absolutely possitive that there are many good and great men within the "Prince Hall" Masons. However, it seems to me that this organization is cut off at the knees right from the beginning. This is simply a purists viewpoint. Correct me if I have the wrong understanding please. Prince Hall was born a slave and later freed. (I am simplifying the story) He founded the "Prince Hall" Masons. Thank God we moved away from the slave days. When I was initiated I was subject to the requirement that I was "Free Born". The fact that the "Prince Hall" organization was founded by a man who was not "Free Born" completely seperates that organization entirely from our AF&AM. If you are angered or feel disrepect by this so far, please keep reading. I have no problem believing that the "PR" ideals are very similar to ours. However, the organizations do not align on a fundamental level. I have no intimate knowledge of the "PR" "work", but I understand that it is very different from the AF&AM work. This further misaligns the two organizations. For these reasons I don't believe that the "Prince Hall" Masons will ever truely coexist with the AF&AM weather the Grand Lodges recognize them or not. The "Prince Hall" Masons are not the same as the AF&AM. Please, keep reading. Now having said all that, I have one more oppinion to share. I would welcome any member of the "Prince Hall" Masons to visit their local AF&AM lodge, fill out a petition, be investigated, and be initiated as an EA, thereby becoming a true worthy brother. I have no problem with any man of any race or nationality becoming an ANCIENT FREE & ACCEPTED MASON. Afterall, I am Obligated to ALL of Mankind. I think that we need not lose ourselves by comprimising our fundamentals in an attempt to increase funding or membership, assuming that these are some of the larger reasons. Again, I have no doubt that the Prince Hall Masons are comprised of GOOD and GREAT men but the fact is that the organization is a seperate one from the AF&AM.

    Brothers, Please read this and reread it and give me your thoughts so I can square myself. Thank You.
     
  2. Nate Riley

    Nate Riley Premium Member

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    This is a tough conversation. First, I have a friend that is a Prince Hall Mason and from our conversations (nothing inappropriate of course), I have determined that they would be as opposed to a merger as much as a regular lodge would. You state correctly that their work is different, and they would not want to change that. So, as far as I can tell there will likely never be a complete joining of the two.

    Referring to the differences in work, you stated that, "This further misaligns the two organizations." It is true that there are fundamental elements of the work that have to line up, but please note that the work is different in most every state and definitely overseas. Case in point, I went to a lodge meeting in FL last week (my first time to attend lodge outside of Texas) and there "work" is wildly different than Texas. I actually enjoyed seeing things done diffently (BTW, being a good Texan, I think the Texas work is better!) Yet because certain fundamentals remained true I was able to sit in that lodge.

    So, unless those differences you are referring to are fundamentally different, I don't see where simple differences in the work "misaligns" us.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2011
  3. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    My main concern would be over their membership requirements. More specifically, former GLOTX masons that got booted so they join PHGL. Mind you, I don't actually know anything about their requirements for admissions though.

    I don't see differences in work as much of an issue, as mentioned already masonry differs in practice all over the world so I can't really see why we couldn't recognize each other over that.
     
  4. Mike Cameron

    Mike Cameron Registered User

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    Yes there are many differences in work between the states. I have worked in the majority of the lower 48 states and even had my FC confered in Indiana. However, I have a friend who was guard in the Texas penal system. There was two prisoners who continually talked to him in some obscure way that caused him to think that they werent right in the head. Later, he discovered that they were Prince Hall Masons who were trying him. Point one: The work was un decernable to him. Point two: He was told that once you are a Prince Hall Mason you are always one. If I am correct, we would be suspended depending on the crime.
     
  5. choppersteve03

    choppersteve03 Premium Member

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    I have a question,was prince hall truly born free in africa,or born to slaves?
     
  6. Mike Cameron

    Mike Cameron Registered User

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    I really cant say that I know the answer to that question for sure. However, he lived near the time of the abolition of slavery. He spoke english and was educated. Since slavery went on for generations I tend to believe that he was born a slave. This does merit further investigation though and I will follow up on it. Thanks for your input.
     
  7. Mike Cameron

    Mike Cameron Registered User

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  8. kwilbourn

    kwilbourn Registered User

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    Prince Hall lived during the American Revolution, about 100 years before the abolition of slavery. His origins aren't very well known, but from what I just read, he is believed to be a former slave of William Hall, who worked in Boston as a tanner; his manumission likely occurred in 1765, but there were several men by the name of Prince Hall living in Boston at that time.
     
  9. Mike Cameron

    Mike Cameron Registered User

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  10. Mike Cameron

    Mike Cameron Registered User

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    I stand corrected on when I thought he lived.
     
  11. choppersteve03

    choppersteve03 Premium Member

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    Well if he wasnt freeborn how can he be made a mason?its a requirement to join,just like belief in deity,so i guess a aitheist can join too? Right? But the freeborn issue leads me to think pha could be construed as clandestine. Just putting it out there.
     
  12. kwilbourn

    kwilbourn Registered User

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    Some histories have him as freeborn in Barbados in 1735; and his manumission in 1770 was granted for "21 years of steadfast service". Assuming the purported birth date of ca. 1735 is correct, Hall would have been freeborn and become a slave later in life. Prince Hall was just one of 14 freedmen who were initiated into an English military lodge attached to the 38th Foot Regiment in March 1775. With the onset of the Revolutionary War (of which Prince Hall was an active supporter), the freedmen were granted dispensation to meet as a lodge and bury their dead, and later a permanent charter from England.
     
  13. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    So let me get this correct before we delve deeper on this subject. The question is that Prince Hall Freemasonry may be clandestine because it is assumed that since Prince Hall was born 100 years before the abolition of slavery that he must have been born into slavery. Is that correct? If so a simple Google search of the Biography of Prince Hall would result in a few findings and each of which I have found that he was born outside the US and was brought here into slavery. Thus, making him freeborn.

    African Lodge (what it was known as before the death of Prince Hall) had to go through the same recognition status that every other Grand Lodge has to go through to seek "regular" Masons status of the time. It was more stringent than the current method or the method used by the GLoTX. At the time the only way to get recognition is by the UGLE. Another GL could not grand a charter.

    The bold notations is my doing.
    The Grand Lodges of the world have, for ages, recognized the UGLE as a governing body for recognition since it is the system set up by them that allows members of the Grand Lodge of Texas, AF&AM to travel and visit.

    Here is an article if you truly seek knowledge on this topic. It is lengthy but it answers any question you may have.

    Information on the Legitimacy of Prince Hall Freemasonry - http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/LIGHT_ON_A_DARK_SUBJECT.pdf


    ------------------------------------------------------------

    On a separate topic, but one I feel needs to be addressed since it was use in a previous post, one could not assume that only AF&AM lodges are recognized. Keep in mind, although the Grand Lodge of Texas is AF&AM we received our Charter from the Grand Lodge of Louisiana who is F&AM. There are several others that the Grand Lodge of Texas, and other Grand Lodges, recognize such as the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia F.A.A.M.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2011
  14. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    In addition to my previous post I would like to submit the following.

    I am asked from time to time, "Why don't the 'blacks' join the Grand Lodge of Texas we let them in?" My answer to that is we have not always and because man is flawed many lodges still do not. There are more states in the US, including Texas, that recognize their Prince Hall Grand Lodge their share jurisdiction with. Of the remaining stated that do not recognize the Prince Hall jurisdiction all of them are "southern" states. Of those southern states research shows at one time many had that Masonry was a whites only organization in their modes of rules or regulations.

    I submit that an image of the paper above that references Art. 36 of the Laws of the Grand Lodge of Texas, AF&AM.
    Art 36.jpg

    To say that race does not play a part in this argument of recognition I think would be hard to prove when for over 100 years now there is documentation to say Prince Hall is regular Freemasonry. Why does this organization continue to have to prove themselves?
     
  15. Mike Cameron

    Mike Cameron Registered User

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    Please don't forget to read the origonal post.

    If the Prince Hall Masons are Regular Masons then why are they not just Freemasons? Why were they ever a seperate organization?
     
  16. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    Do you not see the image of the Article 36 stating that a "negro" as illegal to be a Mason? They were not recognized by many Masonic jurisdictions due to race. They do consider themselves as "Freemasons" but we, through ignorance, have learned to call them "Prince Hall Freemasons" as to take away from the legitimacy. It would equate to someone calling me a "Texas Mason". I really don't understand where you are going with the question. There should be a joke that goes something like this; "What do you call a a Master Mason that was raised in the Prince Hall? A Brother." But the fact is our education on the topic has been so mis-informed on the facts that stories and beliefs have become the truth on the subject, much like traditions often are thought of as law in many blue Lodges over time.

    I also take it that you have not looked at the article I submitted above. It even goes to say that if one is to question the legitimacy of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge then you should be questioning three-quarters of the Grand Lodges in the United States since none have a more noble lineage than Prince Hall. Keep in mind that article was not submitted by a Prince Hall Lodge. It was submitted by M.W. William Upton in 1899. (see http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/william_h_upton.htm)

    It is our job as Masons to find the facts and educate our members on the subject. If we can educate ourselves then we have no choice but to educate others on the untruths of the subject.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2011
  17. TCShelton

    TCShelton Founding Member Premium Member

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    If people weren't even allowed to drink at the same water fountains less than 50 years ago, why do you think we would all be able to sit in lodge together? Come on people.
     
  18. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    So am I understanding things correctly? Prince Halls lodge was chartered by the UGLE?
     
  19. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    The original in Massachusetts yes. Then from that there were others allowed to be formed, much like many Grand Jurisdictions in the United Stated.
     
  20. kwilbourn

    kwilbourn Registered User

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    Since African Lodge 459 (which was renamed in Prince Hall's honor after his death) was chartered prior to the unification of UGLE, was it chartered by the Ancients or the Moderns? It doesn't have any impact on the discussion at hand, but I am simply curious.
     
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