Governor Charlie Baker proclaimed June 24, 2021 Prince Hall Day, honoring one of Massachusetts’ most prominent Black abolitionists.
Hall, born in 1738, spent the first 32 years of his life enslaved, where he taught himself to read and write before he was freed in 1770.
Best known as the founder of the Prince Hall Freemasons, the nation’s oldest continuous fraternal order, Hall spent the rest of his life working to improve the lives of Black Americans and Bostonians, according to Manny Pires, a Freemason who has studied Hall’s life.
On Friday, freemasons gathered at the Prince Hall Lodge in Dorchester to celebrate the governor’s declaration.
“Our organization is about brotherly love and brotherhood and loving one another,” Grand Master Timothy R. Downes said. “So what it means for me personally is not an object. It is indeed a pleasure for me to be [in] the right mindset at the time, but I share this with all my brothers.”
Downes proudly showed the governor’s proclamation to community members gathered in the lodge’s basement. Pires recalled the remarkable events of Hall’s life.
“Prince Hall is indeed a founding father of this nation, and Prince Hall Freemasonry is one of the most enduring tributes to his legacy, but not the only tribute to his legacy. His intellectual capacity was equal to his humanity and his compassion,” Pires said.
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SOURCE: Boston Globe, Diana Bravo