DARC Ethiophile Chronicles
On this day
July 3, 1775 The Black Mason was established in Boston.
On July 3, 1775, the black Masons organized African Lodge No. 1 under a qualified permit, naming Hall as Grand Master. The lodge met at "the sine of the Golden Fleece," from which Hall conducted his catering and leather dressing business.
In 1787, two decades before African colonization by American-born blacks became a national debate, Boston's Black Masons put forward a plan to return themselves and their families to Africa. In 1787, a committee of twelve of the African Lodge, headed by Grand Master Prince Hall, drafted a petition to the General Court (state legislature) of Massachusetts.
The document was signed by seventy-three "African Blacks" who proposed a detailed plan "to return to Africa, our native country...where we shall live among our equals, and be more comfortable and happy, than we can be in our present situation."
The Boston Plan was, in fact, a network of plans, a prototype for similar undertakings in other parts of the country. As Mason Samuel Stevens, the first to sign the petition, wrote to Anthony Tyler in Newport: "We hartly agree with you in sending surcular Letters to our free Black to all States, as it will Strengthen our Number."
Years of abuse had led the Boston petitioners to believe that despite the relief "in some measure delivered by the new constitution which has been adopted by this state" (under which Elizabeth Freeman, Quock Walker and others had gained their freedom), that their "very disagreeable and disadvantageous circumstances" would likely continue "so long as we and our children live in America."
They proposed that the General Court provide money to "procure lands to settle upon; and to obtain a passage for us and our families; and to furnish us with the necessary provisions and the utensils and articles." The House accepted the petition, but despite early optimism, it remained buried in committee.
In 1787, two decades before African colonization by American-born blacks became a national debate, Boston's Black Masons put forward a plan to return themselves and their families to Africa.