TIPHC Bookshelf

Published scholarship on black history in Texas is growing and we’d like to share with you some suggested readings, both current and past, from some of the preeminent history scholars in Texas and beyond. Each week, we will offer a featured selection. Check back regularly as our list grows. We welcome suggestions and reviews.

Dec. 8-14, 2019

Prince Hall Freemasonry in the Lone Star State

By Robert L. Uzzel

Prince Hall Freemasonry

Freemasonry is one of the world s oldest fraternal organizations. It is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Members are taught its precepts by a series of ritual dramas that follow ancient forms and employ the symbolism of stonemasonry. Assuming its present form in England during the 18th century, Freemasonry came to America with the colonists, and Freemasons have played many roles in American history.

When the author first inquired about the admission of African Americans to Masonic lodges, he was told: They have their own lodges. He later learned that white Masons viewed black Masons not as separate but equal but as irregular and clandestine. Nevertheless, he also learned that members of the predominantly black Prince Hall Masonic Grand Lodges have held their heads high and practiced the ancient mysteries for over two hundred years.

There is now light at the end of the tunnel. Since 1989, thirty-seven mainstream (white) Grand Lodges have extended fraternal recognition to their Prince Hall counterparts. It is our hope that we will eventually see the end of the contradiction of a color line in an organization dedicated to the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man.

About the author

Dr. Robert L. Uzzel is a native of Waco, Texas. He received an Associate in Arts degree from McLennan Community College in 1971, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Baylor University in 1973, a Master of Arts degree from Baylor in 1976, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Baylor in 1995. He has been a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church since 1975. He became a Freemason in 1972. In 1987 he was appointed Grand Historian for the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas.

TIPHC List of Suggested Reading