In early March 1775, an Irish soldier initiated a dozen or more black Bostonian men into a lodge of Freemasons, making them probably the first people of African descent formally admitted into Freemasonry in the Atlantic world. Prince Hall, a freedman, would emerge as the leader of this group as they worked together to establish a tradition of African American Freemasonry that has persisted ever since-a tradition that still carries his name.
All Men Free and Brethren is the first in-depth historical consideration of Prince Hall freemasonry from the Revolutionary era to the early decades of the twentieth century. Through a growing network of lodges, African American Masons together promoted fellowship, Christianity, and social respectability, while standing against slavery and white supremacy. The contributors to this book examine key aspects in the history of the Prince Hall Masons, from accounts of specific lodges and leaders to broader themes in African American history: abolitionist activism, the limits of freedom during Reconstruction, political oration, the role of women in the black community, and relationships between Masonry and African American churches. Also included are several appendixes containing key texts from Prince Hall Masonry, a glossary of Masonic terms, and lists of archival repositories and contact information for present-day lodges. Edited by Peter P. Hinks and Stephen Kantrowitz, All Men Free and Brethren is a major contribution of the history of Freemasonry, African American history, and the broader history of race, citizenship, and community in the United States.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 280
Weight: 28 g
Dimensions: 235 x 155 x 25 mm
"This book will be of most interest to scholars of Freemasonry in the United States. It certainly provides new and important information about various Masonic communities and deepens our understanding African American Masons' relationships to broader communities."-- Monica C. Reed * Nova Religio *
""The book successfully serves two masters by showcasing new directions in the scholarship while also including a detailed chronology, definition of Masonic terms, and extensive endnotes.... Essay collections are inherently difficult. This one manages to provide both a useful primer on African Masonry while also showcasing excellent recent scholarship.... That the book also highlights new scholarly directions in religion, gender, and racial identity only adds to its merits" -Matthew Hetrick, American Studies"
"[T]his is an impressive volume that resourcefully draws much useful and persuasive interpretation from scant sources. In many ways, black Masonry is indeed an excellent metaphor for the history of African American activism."-- Bruce Dain * Journal of American History *
"This is a very welcome edited collection that taps into the current thirst for serious histories of American freemasonry. It represents a real boon to further scholarship, urging us to think in new ways about freedom and social agency for African Americans within the Masonic context from the revolutionary era up until the late 1920s. Especially useful are the four appendixes containing three key Prince Hall or African American Masonic texts, an explanatory glossary of Masonic terms, a list of contact details for Masonic repositories, and a further list of Prince Hall Grand Lodge information. Anyone interested in how African American freemasonry links to the main narratives on abolition, emancipation, and Reconstruction will find much of tangible use here."-- Joy Porter * American Historical Review *
"This remarkably useful book explores an aspect of US history long-overlooked by historians of both historical freemasonry and the African American experience. Summing Up: highly recommended."* Choice *