Prince Hall Origin

Prince Hall Origin

Article 7: The Prince Hall Myth

All Grand Lodges with lineage to the Old African Lodge No. 459, MUST trace their lineage through the Most Worshipful National Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Ancient York Masons Prince Hall Origin – National Compact USA. This position has been the premise of debate amongst many African American Masonic scholars in print and social media. The opponents of this position have “revised” history to justify the opposite of this position. This post is a brief examination of the “myth” perpetuated by modern PHA Scholars as an attempt to distance themselves from their Prince Hall Origin “roots”.

What is the Article 7 “Myth”???

The “Myth” is a rhetorical strategy to align Prince Hall Affiliated Grand Lodges that were established by the MW National Grand Lodge with “lofty” modern United Grand Lodge of England standards that state Grand Lodges must be established by three independent Lodges. PHA scholars cite that these Grand Lodges were “allowed”, by the National Grand Lodge Constitution, to form Grand Lodges independent of the National Grand Lodge  then those Grand Lodges applied for a National Grand Lodge Warrant later. They cite the Article of Union of the Grand Lodges that were at the meeting which established the National Grand Lodge. It reads as follows:

“Art. 7. The National Grand Lodge shall grant warrants to all State Grand Lodges applying, if worthy which said Lodge shall be constituted agreeably to ancient rules and regulations.” [1]

The PHA scholars must paint the above as part of the National Grand Lodge Constitution. Those supportive of the “Article 7 Myth” must use this myth to also paint the fantasy portrait that PHA Grand Lodges were “sovereign” Grand Lodges before being NGL subordinates. This gives the illusion that when those Grand Lodges left the National Grand Lodge in the early to mid 1870s, they were simply “re-claiming” their sovereignty when they were never established as such.

Constitution?? What Constitution???

The passage where the PHA scholars cite the Article 7 myth is titled “Articles of Union between the Three Grand Lodges of Free Masons of Colour , in America” The “three Grand Lodges” to which the articles applied were African Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, First Independent African Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and Hiram Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. The disposition of these Grand Lodges will be discussed later in this post but the following clearly shows that the Articles of Union were not the Constitution which governed the National Grand Lodge. According to the printing of the Declaration of Sentiments of the National Grand Lodge in the Proceedings of 1856, the Constitution of the NGL was the Ahiman Rezon [2]

.Ahiman Rezon

The above picture is clear evidence that the “Article 7 Myth” is clearly that;  a myth. The literature on the subject does not support the position that Article 7 was part of the National Grand Lodge Constitution.

Could the Original Three Grand Lodges of the National Grand Lodge “re-claim” Sovereignty???

NO! Absolutely not!!! The three Grand Lodges which formed the National Grand Lodge were re-organized and the original Grand Lodges ceased to exist after the establishment of the National Grand Lodge. After John T. Hilton was elected the first National Grand Master and the Grand Lodges which were part of the Convention were designated to be restructured by National Grand Master Hilton. The African Grand Lodge was restructured and renamed the Right Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts by virtue of warrant from the National Grand Lodge.[3] The First Independent African Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and Hiram Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania merged and formed the Right Worshipful Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. [4] The following from the “The National Masonic Union” clearly shows the submittment of Union to the National Grand Lodge.



This article is an example of the need and purpose of this site. The “Article 7 Myth” is a clear example of the history many have been made to believe over decades. The light of factual history and the supporting literature should prompt PHA State Grand Lodge Historians and other historians to re-evaluate.



[1] Woodlin, Rev. Joshua (1855). 1855 The Masonic National Union: A History of the Origin of Ancient Freemasonry Among the Colored Citizens of the United States of America. Burlington, New Jersey.

[2] Proceedings of the M. W. National Grand Lodge, 1856, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

[3] Coleman, Raymond T. Prince Hall Education Class 2007, Boston, MA

[4] Woodlin




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