Prince Hall Memorial - 2009

By Frederic L. Milliken

 

Cambridge, Massachusetts abutting Boston is the place where a monument or memorial will be erected to the memory of Prince Hall.  The memorial will be placed on the historic Cambridge “Common” or Green near the memorial there to George Washington.  The Cambridge Common is the place where George Washington first formed the Continental Army.

Groundbreaking has been done.  Donations are now being accepted at www.princehallmemorialfund.org to complete the project.

Prince Hall was not only the founding father of African American Freemasonry but according to the Mayor of Cambridge, E. Denise Simmons, he was also a founding father of this United States.

“The decision of Prince Hall to side with the Colonists was not easy. You know of the rejection he received from the American Masons. The South joining with the North with George Washington as the Commander in Chief and a major slave owner practically assured if the Americans won the war, slavery would continue. Great Briton had outlawed slavery and the Britisharmy was the greatest military power in the world.

 

There were many Tories or British loyalist opposed to the war. Ben Franklin’s son, William Franklin, was the Governor of New Jersey and a Tory. He spent two years of the Revolution in jail. But the Vision of Prince Hall for a new Nation, where all men would be equal, was more real than a dream. For he was sure that the principles of Freemasonry, grounded in religion and the great philosophies, would some day be a reality, where the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man would prevail.”

 

“When we look at the lists of traditional Founding Fathers, we see their names on the Declaration of Independence, but we don’t see them on the army muster rolls. Now the name Prince Hall, Listed six times. All of them black men? We also don’t see General Joseph Warren listed as a Founding Father. He was killed at Bunker Hill. I didn’t see Paul Revere’s name either, except when I was told to look at a web page of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. He (is) listed there as Founding Father, but no place else.”

 

“When we looked for someone to represent the contributions African Americans made to our City and to our Nation, the name Prince Hall immediately surfaced, except no one, except Masons and older Black Americans, knew anything about him. The name Prince Hall when I was a child was better known. My Grandfather and other men of my family were Prince Hall Masons. “

 

“We began our own research program. A National Parks Executive and friend, Bernadette Williams, aided us. She knew a Historian and fellow Cantabridgeon, Dr. Marty Blatt that had been on a team of researchers funded by the Massachusetts Historical Society. They studied why men who were Prince Hall Masons were the principal leaders in the civil rights movement from the beginning of our recorded history to the present day.”

 

“It was discovered that no one group was more influential in effecting social change than men who were known as Prince Hall Masons. When they looked at the Founding Period of our nation, the number one “Organizer “and the most influential Black man of that time, especially in Massachusetts and New England, was Prince Hall. When we began to compare what the Vision of America was destined to be, and those who best exemplifiedthose virtues, Prince Hall stood out like a beacon. We realized that we did not just have a Black representative to symbolize the Black experience, but a true Patriot and every thing you wished in a Founding Father.”

 

“Prince Hall Quote, (Menotomy) Cambridge, June 24, 1797, “Give the right hand of affection and fellowship to whom it justly belongs; let their colour and complexion be what it will, let their nation be what it may, for they are your brethren, and it is your indispensable duty so to do”. Did Prince Hall envision a colorblind nation?”( Speech by E. Denise Simmons, Mayor, City of Cambridge Massachusetts February 18, 2009 Before The Cambridge Historical Society 159 Brattle St., Cambridge, Massachusetts.)

 

Prince Hall was a Civil Rights advocate, perhaps this country’s first such person, long before such a movement was given its present day name. He worked tirelessly for better education for African American youth and the abolition of slavery.  But one thing you might not know about the man is that he advocated the use of African Americans in the Continental Army.

Prince Hall: - a great Freemason, a great Civil Rights Advocate and a great American Patriot.

 

 

         

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