Tarah S. Cherry
I became fascinated with the reasons for Prince Hall becoming a Freemason. Why would a black man, in an era when slavery was the only social condition thought to be relevant to his existence, have the courage to embrace an organization associated with kings, noblemen and George Washington, etc., etc., and be of the opinion that the philosophy of such an ancient order of men be kindred to him and other men of similar circumstances?
Immediately, one can associate the plight of today’s black people and the same struggle which existed over two hundred years ago as an ongoing situation. Black people in 1991, as a majority, are faced with the same degrading conditions as slaves in Prince Hall’s time. Although education is available to everyone in the United States, it is the minority population which faces so many problems in obtaining an education. People of color throughout the world still suffer from hunger, do the most menial work for the lowest pay, live in the worst substandard conditions on earth, are suffering from the most deadly diseases. These conditions are no different than were had by slaves who died from smallpox, measles, etc. Minorities have been forced through generations of sub-human treatment to choose to kill one another either by guns or drugs, as though reading the subconscious exploits of a country and the world since their arrival to America. Challenging death seems to have far better chances than remaining on this earth as just a person . . . a black person.
Since the societal circumstances of the black man are so similar, I thought it time to re-examine the strengths that Prince Hall must have seen in this establishment that might have answers to the possibility of solving some of our present problems.
I have extracted some of the principles of Freemasonry, and please remember that I am a lay person who has no affiliation with this organization, in order that those of us who are trying to guide, counsel and teach today’s youth can find some additional resources by which we could all come up with some answers to the many perplexing problems facing our adult human and our children’s existence.
The principal purpose of the freemasons is to strive for producing the finest type of character and culture through fellowship and mutual helpfulness.
Understanding that life as it exists has its roots in the past must be examined; so that one does not become trapped in what has already failed man.
Those seeking admittance into the order wish to elevate themselves socially.
Masonry serves to improve private conduct, and relationships through fellowship and discipline.
All ritualism is primarily to increase the importance of the message conveyed.
Masonry should inspire and stimulate many interests because variety is wholesome and beneficial.
Ethics is the primary teaching of all Masonic work:
1. To produce a finer grade of men.
2. Its many lessons are intended to make domestic relations cleaner and more binding.
3. To nurture the spirit of charity through tolerance and helpfulness.
4. To be concerned with the human behavior and the possibility for its improvement.
To seek the meaning of the Universe, its structure, workings and purpose, but most of all the place of man in the scheme of things. In other words, to seek the SUPREME ARCHITECT.
Every creation testifies to a creator.
Prince Hall seemed to recognize that the social attitudes which exist do not determine the legitimacy for one’s existence. And although pigment can separate, it most assuredly cannot impugn the existing rights in order to deny the owner the protection of their rights.
The following pages are set up for students, teachers, etc. to discuss the above philosophies in relationship to our society as it exists today.