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African Lodge #459

Freemasonry as a social fraternity, practicing speculative Masonry, began in England in 1717. This is when the “Premier Grand Lodge” was formed. Grand Lodges that can trace their origins to The Grand Lodge of England (or of Ireland, Scotland or African Lodge #459) we call Regular Grand Lodges.

Regularity of origin, together with conforming to certain rules, customs and usages, is essential for membership in this organization. A charter was issued to Prince Hall and other men of color in Boston, Massachusetts by the Grand Lodge of England, September 29th, 1784. This charter, designated African Lodge 459, constituted the said brethren into a “Regular Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons”. This lodge became The Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.

The Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts is the Mother Grand Lodge of all Prince Hall Affiliated Grand Lodges in North and South America and Military lodges elsewhere. All Prince Hall Grand Lodges in America trace their origins to African Lodge #459.

They are regular by virtue of their relationship to African Lodge #459. This is the cement that binds Prince Hall Masons together. In December 1994 a changing social climate and the Masonic obligation to remove the stigma of racial bigotry from Freemasonry, motivated a recognition agreement between the United Grand Lodge of England and The Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. Recognition means that mutually, one Regular Grand Lodge agrees to have Masonic communications and visitations with another Regular Grand Lodge. Only Regular Grand Lodges recognize each other, and then, only if they wish to. The bond is so strong among Prince Hall Grand Lodges no written agreement is necessary. Recognition is implied.

There are some Grand lodges in the world we do not deem Regular. In most cases it is their origin, or how they were formed, that is questioned. To recognize one of these Grand Lodges would violate our constitution and imperil the legacy of regularity given us by Prince Hall. There is no fraternal communication or visitation between Regular and Non-Regular Grand Lodges. It would transgress Masonic obligations.