Brother Red Mitchell of Norton Massachusetts was a prime mover on the committee to erect the monument to Prince Hall on the Cambridge common. His hard work and perseverance to see the project completed was noticed by the Sun Chronicle who wrote this article titled, “Rediscovering A Hero”, about him and that auspicious occasion.
Norton man’s efforts help honor Prince Hall
Prince Hall was an American patriot, entrepreneur and civil rights activist whose name is considerably less well known than his contemporaries John Hancock and George Washington.
But thanks in part to the efforts of a Norton resident, the life and deeds of the African-American Masonic and educational leader may one day be recounted with the same reverence as those of Martin Luther King and Booker T. Washington.
Cambridge officials unveiled a monument to Hall Saturday on the city common, the same spot where George Washington took command of the Continental Army in 1775.
Red T. Mitchell, a Mason and Norton resident, helped promote the idea of a memorial to a man he calls one of America’s civil rights leaders.
A series of five granite slabs quarried in Africa that form the monument are inscribed with some of Hall’s writings and the biography of the man who agitated against slavery and created the first school for black children in Boston. Mitchell says Hall is also symbolic of African Americans’ role in American independence, which has long been shrouded in history.
Read the entire article at the Sun Chronicle.
Many who have recently delved deeply into the history of Prince Hall, the man, see this African American, not only as the leader of Colonial Black Freemasonry in America but also as A FOUNDING FATHER OF THIS NATION.
Recently Brother Mitchell penned an essay further exemplifying his thoughts on the impact of Prince Hall.
Reflections after watching a Documentary about Jackie Robinson
Red Mitchell July 9, 2010 Norton MA.
Great men and moments in history are not always immediately recognized. Such is the story of Jackie Robinson. Upon reflection of his first game as a major league Baseball player, the tremendous impact it had on race relations led to the comment that, “he is second only to Martin Luther King, Jr. in being the most important black man to have lived in America”. This may be true in the memory of those who are alive at this time. The personal attacks which each endured were sacrificial as if paying the price for a greater opportunity for their people.
I beg you to consider these quotes. “Your Honors need not to be informed that a Life of Slavery, like that of your petitioners, deprived of every social privilege, of every thing requisite to render Life even tolerable, is far worse than non-existence”. And then this, “Patience, I say, for were we not possess’d of a great measure of it you could not bear up under the daily insults you meet with in the streets of Boston”.
These quotes are on the Memorial honoring the Black Patriots of the revolutionary period of our nation erected on the Cambridge Common. They are the words of Prince Hall, the principal character of the monument, representing all those unknown and forgotten African-Americans who participated and contributed to the founding of our nation.
Emancipation, or the abolition of slavery in America, is often associated with Abraham Lincoln and the Civil war. We must know that prior to the Revolutionary war, each of the original thirteen colonies had legal slavery. During the eight-year period of the Revolutionary war, slavery as a legal entity in the northern colonies was essentially abolished.
This first “emancipation” was greatly influenced by the many Americans of African ancestry participating in the war, (July 1781 at White Plains NY, twenty-five percent of the American Army were Negroes.) Prince Hall, called the “First black organizer in American History” and “Boston’s most prominent black in the era of the Revolution” was described in this way. ”Prince Hall, an African, and a person of great influence upon his Colour in Boston, being the Master of the African Lodge, and a person to whom they refer with confidence their principal affairs”.
PS: Didn’t Boston have the “first shot” in acquiring Jackie Robinson as a baseball player?
Forgotten Patriots African Americans and American Indian Patriots in the Revolutionary War. Daughters of the American Revolution
The Black Presence in the Era of the American Revolution 1770-1800, Sidney Kaplan
Prince Hall Life and Legacy, Charles H. Wesley