Scholars have only recently begun to look past the seemingly opaque and exclusive origins of African American Freemasonry to recognize its historical and contemporary importance.
Prince Hall, a former slave, organized African Lodge No. 459, the first recognized black lodge in the world, and he led black abolitionist petitioners in Massachusetts during the American colonial rebellion.
Moreover, the African Lodge initiated the radical southerner, David Walker, and helped to facilitate the 1829 publication of his famous and controversial Walker’s Appeal, in Four Articles; Together with a Preamble, to the Coloured Citizens of the World, but in Particular, and Very Expressly, to Those of the United States of America.
Not only do the origins of black Freemasonry reveal the complex fashioning of African American leadership, identity and community, but its beginnings also reflect the problems and possibility of democracy in America.
Prof. Chernoh M. Sesay, Jr. is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois.
IMAGE CREDIT: Sankey Lectures
Chernoh M. Sesay, Jr. is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois.
An Americanist historian, he has authored chapters or articles in All Men Free and Brethren, eds. Stephen Kantrowitz and Peter Hinks (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2013);
Black Knowledges/Black Struggles: Essays in Critical Epistemology, eds. Jason R. Ambroise and Sabine Broeck (Liverpool, UK: University of Liverpool Press, 2015);
The Journal of African American Studies and The New England Quarterly.
He is currently completing a book manuscript entitled Black Boston and the Making of African-American Freemasonry: Leadership, Religion, and Community In Early America.
He is also a member of the editorial board for Black Perspectives, the blog of the African American Intellectual History Society.
Article by: Sankey Lecture / Prof. Chernoh Sesay Jr.
Sankey Lecture Website: http://sankeylectures.ca
Recent Articles: Sankey Lectures series
Sankey Lectures 2012
The Heart of Masonry: Upstate New York and the New Nation, 1776-1826.
Sankey Lectures 2014
Brothers in Arms: Freemasons and the War of 1812
Sankey Lectures 2011
Global Fraternalism: Canadian Freemasons, the British Empire, and the World
Sankey Lectures 2010
Perceptions of Freemasonry from the 18th Century to the Internet
Sankey Lectures 2015
The Masonic Empire of Thomas Dunckerley: England to Quebec and the Broad Oceans In-between
Sankey Lectures 2019
Democracy, Freedom and the beginnings of Black Freemasonry
Sankey Lectures 2017
The Badge of a Freemason: New Stories from Old Aprons
Sankey Lectures 2016
Searching for the Apple Tree: What Happened in 1716?
making good men better
share the square with two brothers
click image to open email app on mobile device