A Grand Session in Prince Hall is a very special, interesting and motivating experience especially when the female Orders meet at the same time. Texas is no exception where Eastern Star and the Heroines of Jericho meet simultaneously separately but attend the luncheons, social events, banquets and prayerful times with the Master Masons. It is rightfully billed a Prince Hall family event.
I don’t know how the women run their sessions but on the men’s side, often tedious and boring business is mixed well with awards and celebrations. We have annual awards for the Master Mason of the year, the District of the year, the District Deputy of the year and a special meritorious service of the year award. We have an awards luncheon with the whole Prince Hall family and a family night dinner open to the spouses and friends of members. The highlight of the awards luncheon was the presentation of scholarship awards from each House. And family night, as always, carried with it a prominent guest speaker who always delivers us an inspiring message.
This year’s guest speaker was Dr. Bro. Osiefield Anderson, a PHD in mathematics and a college professor. His theme was it is time to get up off our butts and do something about society that is crumbling and decaying all around us. A master of inspiring poetry he motivated us all to action. His motto is, “It is not how long a man lives that matters, but how well he lives.”
Out of Session any member of the Prince Hall family could participate in a gospel festival, a church service, a dance-social party and a Lodge of Sorrow for those who have traveled to the Celestial Lodge above.
And if that was all there was we would all go home happy, well fed and fired up. But when you throw in an extra special event in the middle of all this you fashion a Grand Session that will go down in history. Such was the June 2011 four day Grand Session of Prince Hall, Texas.
That history making event was the opening of the Wilbert M. Curtis Texas Prince Hall Library Museum. After more than a year in the making, the Library Museum was opened with a special ribbon cutting ceremony that included representatives from six jurisdictions, mostly Grand Masters, civic leaders and the head of the Fort Worth Black Historical & Genealogical Society. The Deputy Grand Master and Wardens consecrated the occasion with corn, wine and oil. Speeches were made and prayers raised up, the ribbon cut and finally it was time to go inside and see what treasures were in store for us.
And we were not disappointed. There were pictures, plaques, paintings and actual early uniforms, dress and jewels. There were also rare books and the records and minutes of Texas Prince Hall Grand Lodge dating back to the 1870’s. Copies of early Grand Lodge publications were in abundance. At one end of the Library Museum you opened a door into a well furnished Lodge Room. Before your eyes was a beautiful hand crafted wooden altar and stations made by a Brother who received one of this year’s Grand Lodge awards.
The Heroines of Jericho and Eastern Star are well represented in the Library Museum with early dress, pictures and presentations. One thing that distinguishes Prince Hall Masonry is how closely the men’s and women’s Orders work together. It is truly one big family.
There is much more to come. Contributions to the Library Museum are still coming in and in the years that follow much will be added. The Library Museum welcomes gifts of books, papers, manuscripts, photographs, artwork, records, audio tapes, video tapes, maps, pamphlets, scrapbooks, oral history, memorabilia and other archival records of historical value which will enhance the teaching, learning, research and service of the members affiliated with the MWPHGLTX and or is interested in the advancement of knowledge related to Free Masonry.
Now the Prince Hall family of Texas has a place to deposit its archives and to tell its own story, a story it will continuously share with others.