The exact date of the first Prince Hall Day celebration referred to in this program from the collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library is difficult to pinpoint. An uncorroborated article in the Los Angeles Sentinel provides the date 1808, while a gap in the primary source material until 1927 suggests the origin of this African American celebration may have taken place well after the death of Hall in 1808. The journey to discover the true meaning of this document and day underscores Prince Hall Freemasonry's commitment to being a unifying force in American society.
"As the Christian has a revival, the Moslem [sic] has a pilgrimage to Mecca, so do Prince Hall Masons have revivals, and they are called Prince Hall Americanism Day, celebrated on or as close to September 12th each year. It is a time for the Prince Hall Mason to take stock of his life, renew his faith in God, Country and Fraternity, which will include his neighbor. It is a time to renew his faith in God, his patriotism to his country and his duty to mankind. It is in the truest sense a Masonic Revival." – The Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Arkansas, 2021.
During the 1950s, the theme of “Americanism” was expanded upon by the Grand Masters Conference of Prince Hall Masons in response to the Red Scare of the '50s. The Grand Masters, who also served as leaders within the African American Community, understood the disenfranchisement of African Americans within American society, and saw this moment in history as an opportunity to bring people together in a common cause. "Masonry and Americanism," they stated, "will embrace, substantially, those spiritual drives of our Reverend Brother Prince Hall, who along with his contemporaries [Washington and the Founding Fathers]. served as a founding father of our American Idealism."
It was in this spirit, in the spirit of Prince Hall Freemasonry and of unity, that on Wednesday, September 7, 2022, the two Sovereign Grand Commanders of the Supreme Councils (white) and the two Sovereign Grand Commanders of the United Supreme Councils (black) of the United States met at Washington, D.C., in the House of the Temple to sign a statement of unity. This document recognized the other bodies as the “sole and legitimate conservators” of Scottish Rite Freemasonry in the United States and pledged to “support one another in the cause of Scottish Rite Freemasonry” and to serve as example of unity to the world-at-large.
Do you have any information regarding the origins or history of Prince Hall Day? Please free to contact us or to comment about this topic in the comments section below.
Prince Hall Americanism Day proclamation and program, 1964. Peter B. C. Brown, Jr., Prince Hall Masonic collection, 1964-1989. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, MA 210.001.
Statement of Unity proclamation, September 7, 2022. Records and Correspondence of the Supreme Council, NMJ. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, SC 300.002.
Arizona Sun. “Masons to Observe Prince Hall Day.” September 16, 1955: 7. Accessed: 9 September 2022. <Chronicling America>
Boston Globe. “Auxiliary is Formed : Colored Women Organize to Assist Prince Hall Grand Lodge Centennial Committee.” September 26, 1907: 10. Accessed: 9 September 2022. <ProQuest>
Bridgeport Post. “Prince Hall Lodges of Masons to Hail Founder with State Celebration by 1,000 Members here Sept. 10.” August 23, 1961: 20. Accessed: 9 September 2022. <Newspapers.com>
Evening Review. “Prince Hall Day Program.” September 11, 1929: 14. Accessed: 9 September 2022. <Chronicling America>
Freemasons. Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Arkansas. “Why Masons Celebrate Prince Hall Day,” 2021, Accessed: 9 September 2022. https://www.mwphglar.com/list-item-title
Freemasons. Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia. n.d. Protocol Manual. Accessed: 9 September 2022. https://cdn.website-editor.net/13c5a24262424017aa80012c701f5962/files/uploaded/ProtocolManual%2520%25281%2529.pdf
Hartford Courant. “1,000 Masons to Note Prince Hall Day Sunday.” September 4, 1962; 33. Accessed: 9 September 2022. <Newspapers.com>
Herbert, Archille W. “Prince Hall Day Address.” Prince Hall Masonic Digest 7, no. 1 (1958) : 3-6. Accessed: 9 September 2022. https://oakland.access.preservica.com/?s=Prince+Hall+Masonic+Digest
Jackson Advocate. “Prince Hall Masons of Louisiana Hold 94th Annual Session.” June 29, 1957: 6. Accessed: 9 September 2022. <Chronicling America>
Jackson Advocate. “Prince Hall Message Made Part of Congressional Record.” September 19, 1959: 4. Accessed: 9 September 2022. <Chronicling America>
Los Angeles Sentinel. “City Proclaims Prince Hall Day.” September 22, 1966, C2.
News-Herald. “A.M.E. Zion.” September 29, 1928. Accessed: 9 September 2022. <Chronicling America>
Parmer, Burrell D. “In Remembrance of Prince Hall on the Eve of Prince Hall Americanism Day.” The Texas Prince Hall Freemason II, no. 5 (Winter 2011): 54. Accessed: 9 September 2022. https://www.mwphglotx.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/TPHFM-Volume-2-Issue-5-Winter-2011.pdf
Pittsburgh Courier. “Attention Fraters.” March 12, 1927: 9. Accessed: 9 September 2022. <Newspapers.com>
“Prince Hall Americanism Day Across Illinois: In Salute of the Father of African American Freemasonry in America and Beyond.” Prince Hall Masonic Journal. Fall 2013-Winter 2014. 9. Accessed: 9 September 2022. https://mwphglil.com/2013-14Winter.pdf
Shreveport Journal. “Negro Masons Will Observe Prince Hall Day.” September 14, 1951: 24. Accessed: 9 September 2022. <Chronicling America>
Weekly Town Talk. “Prince Hall Day Set.” September 13, 1952: 5. Accessed: 9 September 2022. <Chronicling America>
Wesley, Charles H. History of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the State of Ohio, 1849-1960: An Epoch in American Fraternalism. Wilberforce, Ohio: Central State College Press, 1961.
Wesley, Charles H. Prince Hall: Life and Legacy. Washington, D.C.: United Supreme Council Southern Jurisdiction, Prince Hall Affiliation, 1977.