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My Lodge Has Fellowship, Family & Fun Also

Pride of Mt Pisgah #135 takes its Masonry seriously.  We spend considerable time on Masonic education. We provide excellent mentoring and first class intensive instruction of candidates.  We give back to the community personally, we don’t just send a check.

And we have some good times with family, some fun and fellowship.  Take a look!

Prince Hall Americanism Day

The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Arkansas explains what this day is all about:

“As the Christian has a revival, the Moslem 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.”

September 12th is chosen because it is alleged that Prince Hall was born on September 12, 1735

Many Prince Hall Jurisdictions , like Texas, celebrate over two or three days, most often a weekend. This year , as in most, Texas scheduled a dance Friday night 9/11, a picnic 0n Saturday 9/12 and a church service on Sunday 9/13.  The picnic got rained out this year as we had two solid days of rain and flooding here and there. I didn’t make the dance but I did participate in the church service.

Prince Hall Masons worship often together and they bring the whole Prince Hall Family.  Individual Lodges will schedule a church service at least once per year whereby all members of the Lodge, their families, and Sisters in the Prince Hall Family attend.  Not only will Blue Lodges do this but also York and Scottish Rite Bodies will do the same. Districts will also call for a church service at least once per year. And OES and the Heroines will also do likewise and invite the Brothers.  Unlike Mainstream Masonry, Prince Hall Masons will openly celebrate their Christianity together.  Some outside PHA then form the mistaken impression that Prince Hall only accepts Christians.  That is not true.  It accepts men of every Faith.  In my Lodge we raised two Muslims last year. But when 99% are one religion it is not unnatural for there to be fellowship along religious lines within the fraternity.

This year Prince Hall in my area combined the celebration by uniting Districts 10, 11 and 20 within the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  And that was also Districts 10, 11 and 20 from  the Heroines of Jericho and OES.  There were as many Sisters present as Brothers.

Grand Lodge representatives led us in most phases of the worship held at Central Pointe’ Church of Christ in Dallas, all phases except for the sermon.  This message was delivered by Pastor James M. Hutchins of the New Life Community Church of Frisco, Texas and a rousing message it was. Pastor Hutchins used the Scripture of Exodus 3: 1-14, the story of Moses and the burning bush, to bring us the theme of Being Prepared and Being Ready. He told us that Moses was once a powerful man in Egypt, the #2 man behind the Pharoah.  But then he killed a man when he was 40 and fled.  Now at 80 he just wished to live out his life in quiet obscurity.  When called on by God his attitude was who me?  I’m 80 years old what can I do?  Give me something to make my mission believable to those whom you want me to lead, Moses ended up requesting.  Who shall I say is sending me? Pastor Hutchins then , poised for the dramatic moment,  proclaimed, – Tell them “I Am That I Am” sent you.  And then the Pastor reminded us the difference between I Am That I Am and I AM What I Am.

I loved it when Pastor Hutchins said God could have sent a 45 foot tall Angel with a booming voice and scared the Egyptians half to death or gone Himself.  Instead he chose 80 year old Moses.  Which goes to show you that one needs to be prepared and be ready.

The Pastor’s message concluded with his reminding us that God sees us, hears us and knows all about us and still loves us unconditionally.  “You mean God knows that I lie awake worry about how I am going to pay my bills,” exhorts Pastor Hutchins.  His message brought to us the reality that God is always with us and always loving even when we are not.

Many times Brothers and Sisters  stood up and applauded during the sermon.  It was a great message  for the Prince Hall Family for a great man of history who in the sands of time has made an important and lasting impact on the African American community.

Afterward we gathered in the dining room for some soul food and some great fellowship.  I had  some good conversations with Brothers and Sisters I do not get a regular opportunity to mingle with.

As I left the church and drove out of the parking lot I thought about what I had just experienced – the warmth of “comrades in arms,” the ringing words of Pastor Hutchins and the great stature and example of Prince Hall who was supposed to have his monument on the Cambridge, Massachusetts Common dedicated today but as its fund raising and construction is running behind there was a service of dedication instead. But all these components running through my mind had me thinking – Well done good and faithful servants.

Tribute to a Masonic Icon

The Prince Hall Memorial will not bear its namesake’s image when it is erected on Cambridge Common this November. No pictures of the indentured servant-turned-abolitionist can be found, nor much description on which to base an artist’s depiction.

And while Prince Hall’s contributions to American history and the antislavery movement are familiar to historians and members of the Masonic lodge he created, he is not a well-known figure.

Read the entire store from The Boston Globe

Building bridges in North Carolina

Br. Chris Hodapp posted this story up today, which is a great one to see in the press.

Take the time to watch the video from the News Carolina 14 broadcast (coming out of [tags]Charlotte, North Carolina[/tags]), to see first hand the example of fraternal brotherhood between the Grand Lodge of North Carolina A.F.& A.M. and the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand of North Carolina who met together under official recognition.

As said by Worshipful Brother James Elliot in the video, it truly is “breaking down the color barriers and cultural barriers as Masonry is for the universality of all men”.

Well done brothers.

Losing the Battle After the First Volley

pha, Prince Hall, black Freemasonry

The first volley of a battle can tell you a lot, especially when your troops are gun shy, frightened by the noise, and abandon the front lines.

When we discuss the events taking place in the Grand Lodge of Georgia, it is easy to say “let the Grand Lodge take care of it and let’s see what happens.” This is easy, because it is the same thing that we’ve done with Prince Hall recognition, West Virginia, the Jesters, and an array of other serious issues affecting the craft. The truth is that the Grand Lodge of Georgia will almost certainly do something that gets this issue out of the limelight. They may sweep it under the rug or find that it is in fact perfectly legal for a non-white man to be made a Mason. They may grant the men that brought the charges against the Worshipful Master of Gate City lodge a pass or they may be brought to trial for their racist beliefs. Regardless, we will have lost our chance to rid Masonry of racism and move into the 21st century (or even the 20th for that matter).

The problem is that once the issue has run its course and the Grand Lodge has taken some sort of action, we will forget about it, ignore that it ever happened, and go back to business as usual. We will wait until the next piece of explosive and surprising news that shows that Freemasonry is not quite the best of all possible worlds that we thought it was and we will repeat the process again.

This issue isn’t about how the Grand Lodge of Georgia handles the matter, it is about eradicating racism, bigotry, prejudice, segregation, and hate from Freemasonry.

This is why Grand Lodges should at least issue a statement calling for Georgia to abide by the Masonic principles of equality and tolerance. This is why Georgia must have a clear understanding that if this is not handled properly, recognition will be removed. This is why every Mason should go to his next lodge meeting and explain this issue and explicitly state that he supports equality and will not tolerate racial prejudice in his lodge or grand lodge. We need to come together, we need to put our foot down, we need to take a hard line stance.

But we won’t.

Unfortunately, the sky won’t fall for Masonry and this will too pass. The reason is that I do not believe that the mainstream media will pay much attention to this story. Why would they? I’m sure that any journalist that found these charges on his desk would say, “Oh surprise, surprise, some organization of old guys in Georgia doesn’t like black people. I didn’t even know that Masonry still existed.” We have turned the other cheek to this behavior for so long that nobody cares about us anymore. We are irrelevant. We are not needed by society. We are too far behind civilization.

Really, we all know this to be true, because we’ve experienced racism in Freemasonry. I have had a South Carolinian brother proudly tell me that “We don’t have no n***** Masons in this state” when I asked him if they recognized Prince Hall lodges. I have watched traveling Brothers bothered by the color of skin of some of the men in my lodge and become truly disturbed by the sight of the Koran on my lodge’s altar. I have had a man who nearly joined a Masonic lodge ask me if “Masons in South Dakota wear their white hoods to lodge like the guys in Alabama?” (he never joined by the way). And no, I’m not criticizing the south. I’m criticizing men that have been allowed into our fraternity that maintain their bigoted views of the world.

Nevertheless, we will ignore this problem. We missed the point. We were so eager to disagree with those “Quasi-Masons” and the more rebellious Brothers out there that we were only concerned with defending our Grand Lodges and ignored the fact that there is irrefutable evidence of racism in the fraternity. Something tells me that Georgia is not the only place that it exists.

I am sticking with this cause. If we won’t take this opportunity to rid Masonry of racism and bigotry then we are nothing but hypocrites. It was a whole lot easier to be in the back of a Civil Rights march in the 60’s than be Martin Luther King and it was a whole lot easier to support segregationist governments than be in the back of a march.

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Georgia on my Mind: Masonry’s Chance to Become Relevent


This week, I was lucky enough to attend the South Dakota Grand Lodge session in Sioux Falls. I say that I was lucky because I got to see a lot of fantastic Brothers that I had not seen in a while and meet Brother Chris Hodapp, the author of Freemasons for Dummies.

Nothing terribly exciting happened during the course of the weekend. The items that we voted on were extremely mundane, but the recurring theme of the weekend seemed to be: How do we make Freemasonry the prominent and relevant organization it once was?

I watched Brothers laugh at the idea that Freemasonry was irrelevant. I watched some agree with my comments during conversations that we are in fact unimportant in society. I also watched Brother Hodapp give an excellent oration urging Freemasons to “think big.” However, this subject was never really tackled throughout the weekend. Perhaps the task of making Masonry relevant and exciting is too daunting or perhaps we are afraid to look at our reflections in the mirror. Little did I realize what was on the immediate horizon for Masonry.

Brother Hodapp made it a point to tell me that he found it humorous when my petition for membership in the South Dakota lodge of research was met with a loud clap of thunder—I found it rather funny myself. But it appears that the clap of thunder that was heard was not just a summer storm in eastern South Dakota. It appears that it was the initial rumblings of a bigger storm brewing in Freemasonry. A storm building up over the state of Georgia.

By now, you have probably read about the events occurring in the Peach State. If not, you can read them here. It was interesting to me that the issue that can make Masonry relevant was conveniently waiting for me in my email inbox when I got home. Freemasonry can become the prestigious organization that it once was by taking a stand on this issue. Every Grand Lodge should immediately remove recognition from Georgia and begin a crusade against all forms of bigotry and racism in Freemasonry. Any Grand Lodge or lodge that would not accept a non-white man or a non-Christian because of the color of the skin or the name of the God they worship must be removed from the fraternity. Prince Hall recognition must be made universal. This is every Mason’s cross to bear.

If we turn a blind eye to this issue, then we can no longer claim that we believe in tolerance or equality, we can no longer claim that we labor for the betterment of man, we can no longer claim that we are a beacon of morality in an immoral world. If we ignore these charges that clearly and specifically state that there are racists in Freemasonry and they are operating the fraternity as a segregated institution in the year 2009, then we are nothing but hypocrites.

There is one right side to this issue. There is no argument about what should happen in this situation. The Grand Lodge of Georgia must throw the charges out immediately. For those of you who say “They have to follow protocol” then they should be filing charges of unMasonic conduct against the Brothers that are calling for a Masonic trial. The doors need to be thrown open. Those that don’t believe men of a different skin color can be made Masons and those that prefer to refer to black men in lodge as n*****s must be thrown out. Its time to clean house, it is time to stand up for what is right. This shouldn’t just happen in Georgia either. It should happen from the east to the west, from the north to the south. Let us make our terms clear and write them in big, clear letters on a white sign: RACISTS AND BIGOTS OUT OF MASONRY.

Forget the loopholes, throw out what any fabricated lists of Landmarks say about interfering in other Grand Lodges, ignore any stupid codes or regulations. Do what is ethical, labor for what is just, fight for what is right.

This is our fight. This is our time. This is our chance to make Masonry relevant.


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The William Upton Story & Phoenixmasonry’s Prince Hall Section

The William Upton story is one that is not well known and screams to be told.  He was the first Grand Master to recognize Prince Hall Masonry in 1898.  And when it didn’t stick but was reversed by his successor, he wrote in his will that no marker of any kind was to be put on his grave until such time as white and black Masonry would recognize each other in Washington State.

It took until 1990, a century later, for recognition to return and stay.  And that was an occasion, soon after, to finally provide William Upton with an appropriate gravestone.  The ceremony in 1991 was jointly performed by Mainstream and Prince Hall Masonry.

Now I had in my possession for a limited time, lent to me by my Grandmaster, A DVD of this special ceremony. But being a computer challenged product of the 50s, I had no idea how to get it into something like You Tube so I could share it with everybody.

To the rescue came Bro. Shane Stevens of this site who edited and converted this DVD ,which was burned from an old tape, into a 6 part You Tube video.

Now I had the making of a great story which could be told to millions. I created a special Prince Hall Recognition site at Phoenixmasonry – www.phoenixmasonry.org – and President David Lettelier implemented it.

This new section at Phoenixmasonry not only has all 6 parts of the video of which just one is posted here, but also the paper “Light On A Dark Subject” by William Upton and “William Upton” and “Prince Hall Memorial” by yours truly.

It’s a start on a special Prince Hall section that will further educate and inform all who so desire. We at Phoenixmasonry hope it will grow with the rest of the site and continue our mission to help provide Masonic education material free of charge.

Phoenixmasonry is a member of the Masonic Library and Museum Association at:  http://www.masoniclibraries.org

Prince Hall Memorial

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.

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 British army 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.

Masonic Central Podcast

Masonic Central at the Movies


Join Greg and Dean in this episode recorded on September 14, 2008, as the show wanders into the film cinema sphere to talk about three of the most iconic masonic films: The Man Who Would be King, Rosewood and National Treasure. This episode has a few “surprise” guests that jump on the air and build on the conversation. Plus we go deep on Sean Connery and his possible connection to Freemasonry (and his hairy chest).

Its something that all Freemasons like to talk about in lodges, during meetings, and on the web, so lets take a minute and look at three films that have Freemasonry at their core, but in three very unique ways.

The movies on the table for the talk are:

The Man Who Would be King

An adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling story of the same name. This is one of those films that Freemasons love–not just for the masonic connection but for the depth of the story around it. The Man Who Would Be King is almost a perfect film, with or without the masonic connection.

National Treasure

Set in a fictional universe, the film’s over the top plot and heroic depiction of the fraternity as the keepers of the Templar Treasure. This film was more valuable than any marketing or advertising the fraternity could have purchased generating years of interest and resulting in a decade of interest in the “secrets” that Freemasonry holds, for better or worse.


The film is not Masonic, per-se, but Freemasonry is an underlying central theme to the story. Prince Hall and Grand Lodge Masonry as they twist together resulting in the destruction of the Black community of the films namesake. This film, while dramatic, is the telling of a real story about the destruction of the Florida community in 1923.

The Man Who Would Be King Freemasonry connection.
National Treasure and its connection to Freemasonry.
the film Rosewood and its connection to Freemasonry.

If you’ve been a mason for any length of time, you’re probably had the chance to watch one or two of these films already. I guarantee it will make for a fun conversation delving into one or all of them.

More Masonic Films.