History of F. & A.A. York RiteNational Grand Lodge
The National Grand Lodge was authentically established, and started out on her mission of beneficent uplift work among our people of color on June 24, 1847 in Boston, Massachusetts.
By the power and authority of the National Grand Lodge invested, grand lodges and subordinate lodges were constituted by warrant in the following States: Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, Grand Lodge of New York, Grand Lodge of New Jersey, Grand Lodge of Maryland, Grand Lodge of Ohio, Grand Lodge of Indiana, Grand Lodge of Michigan, Grand Lodge of Illinois, Grand Lodge of Kentucky, Grand Lodge of Nebraska, Grand Lodge of Colorado and Wyoming, Territory Grand Lodge of California, Grand Lodge of Arkansas, Grand Lodge of Virginia, Grand Lodge of Tennessee, Grand Lodge of Mississippi, Grand Lodge of Texas, Grand Lodge of Georgia, Grand Lodge of Louisiana, Grand Lodge of North Carolina, Grand Lodge of South Carolina, Grand Lodge of Florida.
LEGITIMATE AND LEGAL NEGRO MASONS: From African Lodge #459, Boston, Massachusetts other Lodges were formed until there were enough Lodges to form a Grand Lodge in this State. Pennsylvania and New York also set up Lodges in their states. In 1847 the various grand lodges elected delegates and sent them to Boston for the purpose of organizing a National Grand Lodge under a National Compact and an Agreement of Sentiments. The National Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Ancient York Masons (Colored) for the United States of America was constituted. All of the Lodges surrendered their warrants and were IN FACT re-warranted by the National Grand Lodge under the first National Grand Master, John T. Hilton. A National Constitution and by-laws were drawn up to govern this body of colored York Rite Masons. Thus, to be a LEGITIMATE and LEGALLY constituted body of Colored Masons, the Masonic Body must be FREE AND ACCEPTED ANCIENT YORK RITE, PRINCE HALL ORIGIN NATIONAL COMPACT.
PRINCE HALL ORIGIN: The name Prince Hall being associated with a Grand Lodge resulted from a Grand Warrant issued by the National Masons (Colored), to the Prince Hall Grand Lodge in Boston, Mass. in 1848; one year after the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Ancient York Masons (Colored), to the Prince Hall Grand Lodge in Boston, Mass. It was on April 28, 1848 that the National Grand Lodge presented the Old African Grand Lodge of Boston a new State warrant under the name Prince Hall Grand Lodge. In most of the early States the warrants and charters for constituting a Grand Lodge were granted by the National Grand Lodge. From 1848 to 1888 the National Grand Lodge issued nearly all of the Warrants and Charters for Grand Lodges. Around 1863 there came dissension and disagreement among the members of the National Grand Lodge and some of the delegates walked out. From the group that left the National Grand Lodge, charters were secured by them to practice masonry under the sanction of the State. This group later took the name Prince Hall Masons, who are often referred to as “State Rite” Masons.
COLORED YORK RITE: The word “York” used in connection with Colored Masonry frequently raises a question in the minds of some and is challenged by others. Ancient York Masonry is the oldest and the mother of all Masonry. Its origin dates back 4000 years before Christ to the rime of Noah and the Flood. York Masonry was the mother of all National Grand Lodges. If the Grand Lodge of England could organize a constitutional body then the organization of a National Grand Lodge under Grand Master John T. Hilton was no new innovation; nor did it violate any of the Ancient Land Marks of Freemasonry.
NATIONAL COMPACT: Some critics of Colored York Masonry attack the word “Compact” used in connection with our title. They say the word compact has no relation whatsoever with Masonry. To those who make such a charge, let it be made clear that “Compact” in our Masonic title stands in same relation as the word “Affiliation” or “Auxiliary” in others. God the Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost formed a Compact in the creation of the world. Throughout the Biblical Scripture references are made to Men dwelling in UNITY and joined together in a Compact Body that they might do the work of their Father in Heaven. In the true tradition of York Masons, the only Christian route of masonry, following the Principles and Practices of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, a “COMPACT” of AGREEMENTS and SENTIMENTS.