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Why Prince Hall Masonry?


Registered User
First let me say Bro. Jones, thank you for your thoughtful and detailed response as I am enjoying the discussion.
I'd like to retort on some of the points listed.

"I, too, am also a proud member of a Black Greek Letter Collegiate Fraternity. I am a Spring 1989 Initiate of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, and pledged 12 weeks to EARN the right to WORK for, share bonds with Brothers within, and represent this Fraternity that I love dearly. My Chapter has a Charter issued by the National Organization, and operates to this day under Key #453, the MU NU Chapter, chartered April 24, 1976. It is recognized by our National Organization as a legitimate Undergraduate Chapter at an accredited institution of Higher Learning. As a true student of history like yourself, I aspired to become a Freemason once I discovered the ties that my Founders had to Prince Hall Freemasonry. I decided to become a Mason, and eventually became initiated, passed, and raised in what is known as a Black Four Letter Lodge here in Houston, Texas. (Mt. Sinai Grand Lodge"

I relate to you well Brother as I too am a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, Initiated into Xi Lambda Chapter, April 10, 2005, and indeed regardless for that alone Goodwill is truly the monarch of this House...
That being said I enjoy the LIGHT being shared here. And you are absolutely right. The GO recognizes the subordinate chapters of the Fraternity and has to be from an accredited four year university. I do not argue that in the least bit.
Let me however direct you to Point 4 of the Landmarks of Freemasonry. With that alone one depending on interpretation has the opportunity to question the very Masonic Legality of the UGLE. As the question I pose is, what was Masonry BEFORE 1717? If the "story" we so ardently read is true then what makes 1717 so precious in the space of time as it comes off to the untrained eye and ear that Masonry didnt exist PRIOR to 1717. This "Revival" goes to the aristocratic nature of Masonry being adopted was by far more speculative than operative.

Now lets also consider point 25 of the Landmarks. And again this is not for argument or changing anyone's mind who is in eye or earshot just debating. Based on point 25, of the landmarks. Could not the very thing that made F&AM and AF&AM be considered a violation of the Landmarks? Just a point to consider and we haven't gotten to PHA or the PHA/PHO debate.

To some critics , they point to point 13 of the Landmarks but what reference is made to a MOTHER Lodge? Or United depending on language. as well point 17 can be said to supercede that. Which in organizational structure would make the Craft different from the Frat, as we know our Frat has regions but the regions deal at the behest of the GO.

As well Brother you bring up within America and we focus on America and England. Playing devils advocate to myself I see your point but are we truly naive enough to believe that we can only obtain a Master's wages between England and North America. The very nature of what makes us "Free" is to travel. And again I stress this is not to be combative as I am learning and I do see your points but I can help but to ask, the question that might be blasphemy to some, but WHO was the UGLE to make itself the MOTHER if we are part of something that goes back to the days of the Temple. There seems to be a vacuum that no one either has or wants to address that fascinates me and fuels my knowledge...more to come on that Brother Jones

It has NOTHING to do with classcism, and everything to do with what is recognized as adherence to Landmarks, Constitutions and By-Laws, and Oaths of Allegiance taken by Prince Hall Brothers in every Jurisdiction. It isn't an adherence that possesses hostility, racism, classcism, or even egotism.......It is an adherence to something that was not CREATED by Brother Prince Hall, but rather BESTOWED upon him and 14 other Men by Sgt. J D Batt of an Irish Military Lodge Foot Regiment, working under Charter issued by the Grand Lodge of Ireland. It was this "something" that earned Prince Hall the right to ask for and receive the Charter for African Lodge #459, which is the foundation of a form of Masonry which the UGLE has determined is regular in practice. Each and EVERY Prince Hall Affiliated (PHA) Lodge can tie their lineage back to this particular Lodge."

Penny for your thought good Brother.Prince Hall asked and received the Charter for 459# correct? It is documented fact that after Prince Hall passed there was a vacuum. So where did the phrase PH Masons come from and how is it assumed that it is under the Grand Lodge of England when Ireland "Irish Military Lodge" was under GL of Ireland which considered itself and Antient (Ancient). A good example of this reference I make is even seen in all places a movie, not counting scholarly sources of Masonry, which I can send you but I dont want to inundate the board with links. When you get a chance Brother, revisit the movie Rosewood and look when they are in the Lodge again. and you will see something that might catch your eye. and that is just a movie indeed. However I am willing to share true scholarly references as we men of scholarship as well.

I have much more to say yet work awaits me but I humbly await your response and others on this matter and this is a good discussion and I hope to learn more on the subject

Bro. Stewart


Premium Member
Well Brother, I have read your points, and all I can suggest to you is that you continue on your quest for knowledge. Your line of questioning is indicative of your hunger for knowledge, which is good. You should continue to converse with more well-informed Brethren, which can enhance your knowledge. Debates are what some insecure Brothers do, but please understand that I won't do that, nor do I feel as if I have to "defend" Prince Hall Affiliated Masonry; I have 237 years of History to back me and my form of Freemasonry. Prince Hall Affiliated History is intertwined with American History. Most of us that are true students of this "progressive science" with trained eyes and attentive ears are fully aware that Freemasonry didn't ORIGINATE in 1717. There are reports which date the mention of Freemasonry back to King Athelstan in England as early as 926 CE, and even a little poem called the "Regius Poem" in the 1300's. TRUE scholars are already aware that there is no documented "beginning" for WHAT WE KNOW NOW as FREEMasonry.

When you question how affiliations were styled, i.e., F&AM, AF&AM, etc., this relates to the discussion between the "Antients" and the "Moderns", in early European FreeMasonry. This isn't anything secret, so I won't be in violation of my Masonic obligation by pointing this out to you. Look it up. The information is available, and once you discover WHO these gentlemen were and what their differing philosophies were in relation to the Craft, then you will get a better understanding and a deeper respect for how they came together on common ground under the auspices of the Duke of Sussex in 1813.

The year 1801, and the State of South Carolina both carry some historical significance for what is commonly known as MODERN American based Freemasonry. I will direct you to a Man named Albert Pike, and also another Man named Albert Gallatin Mackey, neither of whom believed that Freemasonry was to be shared with the Black Man. It is simply a closed-minded opinion held by the two. However, they each have a strong legacy left behind in American Freemasonry, with Pike's "Morals and Dogma", and "Mackey's Jurisprudence" being two literary offerings that come immediately to mind. The PHA/PHO debate isn't a hard one. At THIS time, Prince Hall Origin is NOT currently recognized by either the PHA or Mainstream Grand Lodges in either State. There is some history behind that, in regard to what was known as the National Compact in 1847. I can suggest a book for you with further LIGHT, titled, "Inside Prince Hall", by David Gray. For ANY student of the Craft, it is a great read. It delves into the history of Prince Hall Masonry, and how it is intertwined with American History, and also discusses the root of what we call "Black 4 Letter" masonry. I got it on Amazon.

The Landmarks are and were established as GUIDELINES for the Craft. I made no mention of being limited in MY ability to travel and receive Master's wages, because the PHA Masonry to which I am affiliated allows me to travel to States and Countries other than USA and England, and visit other Lodges, both PHA and Mainstream. Unfortunately for you, the Masonry styled "AF&AM" in Black communities, commonly referred to as "4 Letter masonry", will most definitely limit which Lodges YOU can visit, due to it being "regular, but NOT RECOGNIZED". Four and Five Letter Brothers (IFAAM) often grow tired of this as it is mentioned, but this is the system of Masonry which we practice, and one SHOULD NOT want to affiliate with a Masonic Body that does not offer FULL rights and benefits. This is one of the reasons that I left, and petitioned a Prince Hall Affiliated Lodge, Brother.

ALL of the research, studying, lively debates, Offices held, etc., didn't equate to ANYTHING, because here in Houston, and in most cities around the Country, these "4 Letter Grand Lodges" that co-exist in the same cities, don't even affiliate with EACH OTHER. And, furthermore, and most importantly, I was unable to visit Masonically with my friends and co-workers who were Prince Hall Brothers, because the MWPHGLTX does NOT recognize Black 4 Letter Masonry, and neither does the GLoTx, AF&AM. So, I was in a precarious position, so to speak. The only Masons that recognized me were the Brothers in my own "Grand Lodge", and General Grand Masonic Congress affiliated (John G Jones) "Grand Lodges" in other States, NONE OF WHICH were recognized in their respective States by PHA or Mainstream Grand Lodges. Had I chosen to stay there, these were the only Lodges with whom I would be able to legally and masonically affiliate. I didn't become a FREEmason to be limited in my travels or my thinking.

Another thing you have to understand is that sometimes, brothers in this day and time judge Freemasonry and things done in the past based on what and how we practice TODAY. The UGLE is considered the hub of MODERN Freemasonry as we know it; NO ONE in a Regular and Recognized Lodge will debate that, due to the establishment of the Modern form of Freemasonry and its ways and means which eminate from England, Ireland, and Scotland. In regard to your reference to "The Temple", what a student of History reads about in Biblical and Masonic History and research in reference to the Temple is indeed considered an ancient operative tradecraft, with secret signs, symbols, touches, and apprenticeships, and for some, even a requirement of family lineage or relation.

Masonry was mentioned as early as the book of Genesis, Chapter 3, as the Tower of Babel was constructed, but it is fully operative in scope and function, and can be considered a PROGENITOR of what I practice. I am truly a SPECULATIVE Freemason of a Progressive Science, who lives his life according to GOD's word, as well as the morals and lessons that are taught using symbols and tools once used by Operative Stonemasons, to inculcate a series of lessons and a moral standard for my daily walk.

I am also a student and avid reader of the esoteric teachings found regarding Alchemy, Mysticism, Pagan Rite and Ritualism, The Temple at Cheops, Egyptian Mystery Schools, Jesus and the Essenes, African Pantheism and its evolution into modern religion, etc. But, please be careful and mindful that no matter what you read or become exposed to in your studies, NEITHER OF THESE are or should be practiced in conjunction with or in place of PURE FREEMASONRY in a REGULAR AND RECOGNIZED Masonic Lodge. Mainstream and Prince Hall Affiliated Masonry have evolved, and are a lot more organized in scope and function than they were 100 years ago; a good example is THIS FORUM, where one can exchange ideas with another across the country via the Internet.

And a word of caution for you, since you are young in your Masonic travels. There are some VERY spurious forms of BOGUS MASONRY out there, some of which contain as many as 96 DEGREES, and will attempt to convince you that you must infuse an African (Egyptian) influence into what we practice in Modern Freemasonry. They will also attempt to convince you that you must conform to Masonry with an "Egyptian influence" in order to be closer to your African heritage. I am NOT a Shriner yet, however, I know enough about Esoteric Teachings at this point to know that the knowledge is already THERE; YOU JUST HAVE TO AFFILIATE YOURSELF WITH THE PROPER LODGES AND HIGHER HOUSES TO RECEIVE THE PROPER KNOWLEDGE FROM LEGITIMATE SOURCES. No need to continue to practice what some term the BOGUS, un-recognized, or clandestine Masonry as others do, and ADD or subtract information to or from an already established system of Masonic education; just affiliate yourself with the right Lodge, and study each of your Degrees from the PROPER RITUAL, and you will DISCOVER THE INFLUENCE. Others NOT affiliated with either Mainstream or PHA Masonry will attempt to tell you that none of what I'm saying matters, because "it's all the same".

Trust me, I have seen BOTH sides, IT ISN'T THE SAME. That's why I don't feel the need to debate, simply enlighten......And last, but certainly not least, where are you getting your Prince Hall history? There was no "vacuum" in the practice of Masonry after Prince Hall's death in 1807. Also, you questioned where we got the phrase "PH Masons" from. Our form of Masonry was renamed such as a dedication and testament to the Man who did his part to make this legacy possible here in America for the Black Man. We declared our independence from the United Grand Lodge of England in 1827, by printing a letter in a Boston newspaper, and forged ahead with the plan to continue to make Free and Accepted Masonry available to the Man of Color in other States, namely Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Ohio, New York, and other States west of the Allegheny Mountains, for starters. The State of Ohio is one of the MOST influential in the expansion of Prince Hall Freemasonry, as it spread to States to the South and West.

The Council of Grand Masters again agreed to name each PHA Grand Lodge as such in 1944, as States agreed to style themselves Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of ......, Free and Accepted Masons. If you purchase the book I made mention above, it will outline information for you about that which you are inquiring. Prince Hall Affiliated Masonry has been recognized as "regular in origin" since 1994, by the United Grand Lodge of England. Prince Hall and 14 others were raised in a Military Lodge on March 6, 1775, which was under the control and governance of Grand Lodge of Ireland.

So, I didn't develop a sense of identity and pride in Prince Hall Affiliated Freemasonry simply because the UGLE made a statement "declaring us to be regular" in 1994. My pride eminates from the fact that Prince Hall requested and received a Charter from the Premier Grand Lodge of England in 1787, while many of our people were still in bondage, allowing him and the Brothers of African Lodge #459 to operate as a regular and recognized Lodge of Free and Accepted Masonry. This Charter is still in a Bank Vault in Boston, Massachusetts. NO need to beg for recognition, when you've had it the entire time..............I hope you were able to receive some LIGHT that you desired, Young Brother. And, do yourself a favor, pick up that book.......I have a list of others whenever you're ready..........see you on the other side..........Bro. Vincent C. Jones, Bayou City Lodge #228, P.H.A., F&AM, Houston, Texas


Registered User
Why Prince Hall Masonry? In the begining I did not know that there were AF & AM and F & AM. When I first decided to petition for degree work, I called the closest Lodge (AF&AM) and spoke to the Secretary, set up an appointment, even came ten minutes early. The day of my appointment I knocked on the door, to be greeted by a Mason, who not only did not let me in the door but told me "you might want to try the Lodge in------------" whose name I will not dispose. So I was thinking he came at me in an awkward way. I brushed it off and was like I'm thinking about it the wrong way.

But to my suprise I was right in the way I was approached. I went to the Lodge, that he suggested, which was also AF & AM. I was told by the WM that it may be hard to get in, but he is willing to stick his next out for me. And that if I do not get in he would step down. So I petitioned the Lodge and got blackballed for 5 yrs. Exact words of the WM "some rednecks came out that night, thought it was funny, and voted against you"

Sure enough WM Noyce stepped down. I contacted GLofTX months later and filed a complaint/report. But they had no record of me even petitioning the Lodge. Needless to say I sturred up some commotion. Months later I moved to Beaumont, TX and was Initiated, Passed, and Raised at Pride of Beaumont Masonic Lodge #291, P.H.A.

So back to the question: Why Prince Hall Masonry?
Answer: this was in 2003 with this incident. Here it is, I have been a Prince Hall Master Mason since November 2003, and the same issues still apply. The issue is racism.

There are some AF & AM white Masons that will pull up along side me and throw me a sign, and there are others that will not even acknowledge me. In my opinion and this is coming from being a Mason almost ten yrs: F & AM will let a white man in quicker than AF & AM will let a black or hispanic man in. So the real question should not be "Why Prince Hall Masonry?" But something along the lines of "Why is Masonry still segregated?"

If this organization is about brotherly love, relief, and truth, making good men better, applying the same tools as Operative Masons to build up ourselves, then why is there so much hatred and disbelief, and racism.

Last point: If you say you are a Freemason, do you live the life of a Phre-Massen. Or do you just pay dues, go to meeting and functions, wear emblem, etc. Or do you square your actions, knock off the superfluities of life, and spread the cement of brotherly love. How well do you use your 24 inch gauge?

Abdurrahim muhammad

Registered User
Why is it that a majority of African Americans prefer Prince Hall? Is it because you felt unwelcome in a "mainstream" aka a non-PHA Lodge? Were you serving overseas during that time and had no other option? Did PHA seem more in touch with you and your community?

I've heard of a FEW cases where racism has reared is ugly head on both sides. PHA doesn't need the "white man" in it's ranks and a small minority of "mainstream" members would refuse to sit in Lodge with a "ni**er". Sorry for the language, but let's call out bigotry and racism.

IMO, we could be like the general public and sweep things under the rug and pretend they don't exist, but I'll put my dues card on the line to call things out. Trust me, I'll be the first person to admit they're far from perfect. I'm not commenting to demean a Brother, no matter what his thoughts are, but to address certain issues we all have in the back of our minds.

FYI, I'm what you consider "mainstream" and/or "non-pha", that being said, the relationship between our respective Masonic bodies facinaties me.

It is strange to see this thread. I just got back from the McAlester Valley Scottish Rite Reunion this weekend and me and a few others were talking about the same thing. We have in our Valley almost all white members. There are a few from other ethnic backgrounds but none are African-Americans. Well, there is one that is African-American but he is white. In my town we have a "Brother" that is a PHA Mason, but he will do whatever he can to keep some of the potential petitioners that are African-American away from our Lodge. The problem is that the closest PHA Lodge is over 30 miles away and for some that just wouldn't be the ideal situation. If some of these were to petition our Lodge they would be welcomed but there would be problems from him. It is a sad situation to say the least. I think that a lot of the problems we see in this debate come from both sides. While we here in Oklahoma do have visitation and such with PHA and are no longer fighting that fight there are other smaller battles to be fought still. I think racism plays a big part. Whether it is admitted to or not it comes from both sides.
i don't think in most cases its a matter of racism, its a matter of comfortability. the demographics is different, and one tends to go where they are mostly drawn too. i live in Houston and my lodge is in Houston and the demographic here is mostly black, so when choosing a lodge, comfortability is important. having amity and recognition with mainstream lodges is beautiful and knowing we can visit their lodges and vice versa is beautiful but joining is a matter of being comfortable. I'm not saying this is the case for everyone, but this is the more than likely reason. but we need to break this barrier.