Prince Hall Freemasonry

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Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge

Virgin Islands, F. &A.M., Inc.

MOST WORSHIPFUL A.K. WILKINS

GRAND MASTER

RESOLUTION

ON RECOGNITION AND FRATERNAL RELATIONS

TO ALL FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS ON THE FACE OF THE

GLOBE, GREETINGS!

 

Whereas it has been said that, the organization known as the Premier Grand

Lodge of England was founded on June 24, 1717 as the 'Grand Lodge of London

and Westminster'. Originally concerned with the practice of Freemasonry in

London and Westminster, it soon became known as the Grand Lodge of England;

and,

 

Whereas the Masonic fraternity was attractive to some free blacks like Prince

Hall, an abolitionist because Freemasonry was founded upon ideals of liberty,

equality and peace; and,

 

Whereas when the subject of the first blacks in Freemasonry in the United

States is discussed, most Masonic scholars and avid readers start with the legend

that Prince Hall, a free man of color living in Boston, Massachusetts, along with

other free men of color, wanted to become members of the Order and form their

own Masonic lodge after being turned away from existing lodges in Boston; and,

 

Whereas the records of African Lodge No. 1 dated 1778-1784, 1784-1827 and

minutes of African Grand Lodge dated 1827-1846 were maintained and archived

with African Grand Lodge renamed Prince Hall Grand Lodge; and,

 

Whereas the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Free and Accepted

Masons, Jurisdiction Of Massachusetts turned over the official records of

African Lodge and African Grand Lodge to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts for

preservation in 1950; and,

 

Whereas delving more deeply into the records of African Lodge No. 1 again,

supplementary investigation revealed, and further discovery showed that Prince

Hall and other free men of color received their degrees in the month of March

1778 by Sergeant John Batt a member of Irish Military Lodge No. 441, under the

Irish Constitution, attached to the 38th Regiment of Foot, British Army; and,

 

Whereas the records shows Prince Hall received a permit from John Rowe, the

Provincial Grand Master of St. John Provincial Grand Lodge; under dispensation

from the Grand Lodge of England; and,

 

Whereas on March 2, 1784, Prince Hall wrote a letter to William Moody,

Worshipful Master of Brotherly Love Lodge No. 55 in London, England,

requesting assistance in attainment of a warrant or charter from the Grand Lodge

of England to organize a regular masonic lodge, with all the rights and privileges

thereunto prescribed. Prince Hall mentioned in the letter that African Lodge had

been in operation for almost eight years and they had only “a Permit to walk on

St. John’s Day and to bury their dead in manner; and,

 

Whereas on September 20, 1784, the original Charter of African Lodge No. 459,

was issued, signed by Deputy Grand Master Roland Holt and witnessed by Grand

Secretary William White, constituted African Lodge with Prince Hall being its

first Worshipful Master and the charter was received on April 29th 1787; and,

 

Whereas in 1797 at the request of Reverend Absalom Jones a lodge was

organized in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Providence, Rhode Island, both

under the same charter and name, African Lodge No. 459, although Providence

Lodge was later renamed Hiram Lodge No. 3; and,

 

Whereas after many years of service, Prince Hall died on December 7, 1807;

and,

 

Whereas on June 24, 1808 pursuant to a call from Nero Prince, the Deputy

Grand Master, representatives of the three then exiting lodges met in Boston, the

name “African Grand Lodge” was changed to “Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Free and

Accepted Masons of Massachusetts”; and,

 

Whereas in 1827, John T. Hilton became Grand Master and recommended a

Declaration of Independence from the English Grand Lodge and the

assumption of powers and prerogatives as an independent Grand Lodge; and,

 

Whereas in 1869 a fire destroyed Massachusetts’ Grand Lodge headquarters

and a number of its priceless records. African Lodge No. 459’s charter in its metal

tube was in the Grand Lodge chest. The tube saved the charter from the flames,

but the intense heat charred the paper; and,

 

Whereas Freemasonry among men of color in the United States spread from

Massachusetts, through New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Rhode

Island, Connecticut, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Ohio, Virginia and across the

United States; and,

 

Whereas regularity of origin: i.e., each Grand Lodge shall have been

established lawfully by a duly recognized Grand Lodge or by three or more

regularly constituted lodges; and,

 

Whereas Freemasonry is built upon three basic tenets – Brotherly Love, Relief

and Truth. Truth is honesty, fair play, and adherence to the cardinal virtues of

Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice: and,

 

Whereas Paradise Lodge No. 170, and St. Croix Cornerstone Lodge No. 176 were

issued charters from the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Oklahoma, F. &A.M. and

Sunlight Lodge No. 191, and Seven Stars Lodge No. 197 of St. Croix were issued

charters by the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge Free & Accepted

Masons, Louisiana; and,

 

Whereas on August 2, 2015, representatives of Paradise Lodge No. 170, St.

Croix Cornerstone Lodge No. 176, Sunlight Lodge No. 191, and Seven Stars Lodge

No. 197 of St. Croix, USVI met, organized and established the Virgin Islands

Masonic Research Association (VIMRA) for the purpose of providing

Masonic education and leadership training to Prince Hall Affiliated members in

the U.S. Virgin Islands; and,

 

Whereas on November 13, 2015 acting in accordance with Basic Principles for

Grand Lodge Recognition Masonic customs and Masonic Laws representatives of

Paradise Lodge No. 170, St. Croix Cornerstone Lodge No. 176, Sunlight Lodge No.

191, and Seven Stars Lodge No. 197 met in a duly Masonic Convention at the

Innovative Telecommunications Activities located in Christiansted, U.S. Virgin

Islands; and,

 

Whereas the representatives of the four lodges discussed and unanimously

voted to adopt a special resolution to organize a Prince Hall Grand Lodge in

the Territory of United States Virgin Islands, and by the adopted resolution, the

Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the Virgin Islands, F. &A.M. was

established lawfully and constituted; and,

 

Whereas the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the Virgin Islands, F. &A.M., Inc. was

incorporated in the Territory of United States Virgin Islands; and,

 

Whereas the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the Virgin Islands, F.

&A.M. is a Sovereign and Independent body practicing Freemasonry only

within the three degrees and only within the limits defined in its constitution. It

does not recognize or admit the existence of any superior Masonic authority,

however styled.

 

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED it is the policy of the MOST

WORSHIPFUL PRINCE HALL GRAND LODGE OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS, F.

&A.M., INC., to extend “mutual” recognition and fraternal relations with ALL

Prince Hall Affiliated Grand Lodges, Adopted, Concordant and

Affiliated bodies that can trace their Masonic lineage back to African

Lodge No. 459 of Boston, Massachusetts.

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Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the Virgin Islands and Its Jurisdiction, Free & Accepted Masons, covers all the Virgin Islands.

 

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